As confidence in the market continues its upward trajectory, attracting and retaining the best talent is at the top of the corporate agenda. With organisations looking to maintain or develop their competitive advantage, there’s a wide recognition that having the best people on board is the way forward. It’s unsurprising, then, that so many brands are re-assessing their employee value proposition (EVP).

However, it would seem there is still a level of disconnect between what an individual wants from an employer, and what a business has to offer. While traditionally salary and promotion prospects have been at the top of the talent attraction agenda, today’s professional wants much more. It’s no secret, for example, that many members of the emerging generation of talent want to work for a business with a strong CSR profile or with great development opportunities and mentoring schemes. The option to work for a company that encourages innovation and drives diversity is also highly appealing.

In my experience, though, there are still too few companies offering a well-rounded employment package that covers these points. That’s not to say that there are no examples of organisations talking about offering more to attract and retain top talent. In fact, you just need to look at some of the common language that is used in job adverts these days to see that many businesses recognise the need to offer more to get an individual to buy in to the business. Phrases such as “a culture of innovation” and “a great opportunity for talented individuals looking to make their mark” are certainly more prevalent in the recruitment world. But, the problem lies in what the real experience is.

I’ve too often seen candidates lured into a role with promises of working at a diverse, innovative company with fantastic development opportunities, only to discover further down the line that this is not necessarily the case. Of course I’m not pointing any fingers, in many instances these offers are made with all the good intentions of making changes to the corporate culture, training scheme or career progression plans. But, as you will be fully aware, change is a long term thing. And for HR professionals the challenge is how to retain the best staff who have perhaps bought into a pipe dream sold to them by the hiring manager.

The solution – albeit a tricky one –perhaps lies in greater collaboration with managers on the front line. Only through really educating those who have a role to play in the attraction and retention of top talent can a strategic EVP be developed that meets the expectations of all parties involved. And by demonstrating – through exit interview feedback or anonymous employee surveys –  the serious impact such a disconnect between what staff want and what the business actually offers can have, HR teams will be in a better place to get back in the driving seat and take control of the process once again.

Steve will be presenting his views on today’s talent management challenges at the Talent Management and Leadership event in London on 23rd October: