This was a question posed to a round table of CEOs by Ashridge Business School recently and the CEOs were not backward in coming forward with their views, particularly when it comes to the attraction and retention of talent. In fact understanding new recruitment trends – particularly for engaging with younger generations of talent was identified as one of the key future demands on today’s HR professional.

As baby boomers retire and Generation X-ers get older, a strategy to attract millennials will be crucial. However in order to be successful, you not only need to know where to find them – but also what it is that motivates them.

According to this year’s Universum Attractive Employer Survey, across the G12 markets, the average student uses between seven and eight channels to look for information about prospective employers. While employer websites and social media are the two most commonly used platforms, building an effective social strategy takes a lot of time and active engagement – and HR departments will need to ensure that they have the resources in place to capitalise on these online fact finding missions. Students expect these channels to be used for dialogue with employers – not simply a platform on which to read content. It’s also important to recognise that not all talent hangs out in the same place – if at all. In China for example, where there is relatively low access to the internet, students are likely to use other channels such as employer presentations, job boards, professional networks and careers fairs. 

Of course identification and attraction are nothing without the other crucial part of the recruitment picture – engagement.  And this has to start right at the beginning – even at interview stage.  Applicant feedback tells us that the most overlooked part of any recruitment process is the fact that the employers have to remember that they are selling as well as buying – the candidate experience is crucial.

Once on board, that engagement is key to retention. The Universum report points out that the firms that will attract the best talent in the coming years will be learning organisations where professional development, training and mentoring are completely embedded into the company’s culture.  It’s also important to consider how work gets done and where. Flexible and remote working will be expected and not seen as an added benefit, but rather as a more effective way to increase productivity.

In an increasingly global marketplace, opportunities for international travel – and even temporary relocation are seen as highly desirable and are definitely on the wish list for aspiring managers. The Universum report suggest that companies set up rotations to other offices as part of their training programmes.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace there is clearly no ‘one size fits all’ approach. The game is constantly changing and HR Managers & Heads of Resourcing will need all the resources at their disposal to stay one step ahead.