As I’m sure you’ll have seen last week, the CIPD has released a report that suggests the job for life ethos is returning. It would appear that growing economic positivity and a changing mindset in the emerging workforce is creating increased loyalty from employees. Great news for HR professionals, right? Not necessarily.

While HR teams are obviously keen to retain top talent, this shift in attitudes will ultimately put pressure on the department to implement competitive talent attraction schemes and ensure the current workforce is engaged. Without the right staff management in place, organisations will find it increasingly difficult to keep and attract this new breed of talent. So what must HR teams do to remain competitive?

Develop your employer brand

It’s true that every business believes they are the best company to work for, after all, they wouldn’t have staff if that wasn’t the case. But taking a more holistic view, ask yourself if the organisation is really known as a great place to work for all the right reasons? Recently the prospect of work / life balance has been an attractive proposition for talent attraction and retention. However if the latest CIPD report is an accurate reflection, positioning your brand based on the flexible working environment on offer is perhaps not the best approach. Consider instead how staff development and career progression can be built into your EVP.

Obviously there will be no one size fits all solution for the wider talent audience, so it’s important to consider the drivers and motivators of the various demographics of your internal and external targets. A successful, flexible employer brand will appeal to this emerging generation seeking longer term prospects, as well as the baby boomer generation who are attracted by a flexible working environment, for example.

Demonstrate the possibilities

Simply ensuring the company’s employer brand is known for the development opportunities available isn’t enough though. It’s vital that your company truly lives this, after all, it would not be long before any new recruit discovers they have been mis-sold the opportunity. Consider reviewing current career progression and how many people have been rising through the organisation. If you have a number of case studies, use them in your talent attraction strategies. If not, I would recommend addressing why people are not progressing in the company.

Again any solution must be tailored to the varying requirements of each target audience, and in this case the diverse communications channels available must be utilised. With emerging talent, social media and video sound bites will bring to life the career progression opportunities available. On the flip side, baby boomers have historically favoured the more personal approach of one-to-one conversations.

Make the most of your current insight

It’s all too easy to overlook the useful insight available internally, but the current workforce can be a valuable feedback tool to help develop a talent management process that really works. Speak to current employees to identify what works well and where improvements can be made. In order to gain a true reflection of the diverse needs it is important to ensure this insight is reflective across the differing demographics internally.

Based on this information, review your current training programmes; are they in line with the needs of employees and the demands of the business? If there is room for improvement in current development schemes, the solution doesn’t have to be costly either. More often than not, organisations will have the skills internally to train the rest of the workforce, so look to your leaders for inspiration.

The talent arena is an ambiguous environment and attraction and retention schemes must be flexible enough to meet the ever-changing demand. Staying ahead of employee needs and adapting strategies suitably is key for organisations to remain competitive. For HR professionals, this altering mind set is just another challenge to overcome in the new VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment, but one that must be addressed sooner rather than later. 

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