In a recent interview with Jonathan Cormack, Global Director Organisation Capability at Imperial Tobacco, we found out more about their approach to talent management and retention, the challenges of working in a regulated environment, their employee value proposition of 'Bring it On' and why hiring squirrels is so much better than hiring rabbits. 
About Jonathan
Jonathan joined Imperial Tobacco in December 2013 after 8 years with Standard Chartered Bank, including a stint in Korea to lead a large change management project. His remit at Imperial Tobacco is to look after global resourcing and L&D, leadership development, succession planning, performance and talent management, which I'm sure is no small task.
How does Imperial Tobacco attract, retain and stretch talent?
We were particularly interested in the challenges he faces working in a regulated environment and how he goes about attracting the right talent. Their employee proposition of 'Bring it on' and their values of We Can, I Own, I Am, We Surprise, I Engage, We Enjoy, are designed to encapsulate the spirit of the business creating a real can-do, positive and inclusive culture. With what he calls 'relentless communication' by the senior management team and CEO, he says consistency of message and approach is the key to their success in attracting and retaining the top talent their business needs. 
What are the challenges for aligning HR with the long term strategic requirements of the business?
The main challenge Imperial Tobacco is facing right now is business transformation. As the company has largely grown through acquisition, there are plenty of challenges in integrating systems and processes – but doing so whilst managing the business as usual requirement of delivering results each month. As Jonathan says it can be a bit like changing a tyre on a car while its still moving (at speed), but this is where he feels HR has such a pivotal role to play in helping that transition to be as smooth as possible. 
And the reason they try to hire squirrels rather than rabbits? Because although you can train a rabbit to climb a tree and get a nut, its just much easier to hire a squirrel in the first place!  And that comes from Harvard psychologist David McClelland's work on motivation theories.
Read the entire two part interview here on Sift Talent.