The Winning Formula

F(h)iring in recession times - Winning the War for Talent (3/3)

April 3, 2021

When I started this article series, we were all experiencing fear and dealing with unprecedented uncertainty, and, to a certain extent, we still do. However, as we transition into a reality that will deal with uncertainty on an ongoing basis, we see that the markets are reacting fuelled by significant economic stimulus and companies are starting to hire again knowing that the cost of waiting is higher than the cost of taking decisions with limited information.

This is where this article comes in, by reading further you will get some insights about what top talent cares the most when looking for their next career step and exclusive access code to Telescope đź”­, our platform for hiring pre-vetted and anonymized passive candidates open for a career change or gig.

What's Top Talent really looking for?

We are living in a reality where 54% of global employers report talent shortage (Source: Manpower Talent Shortage Survey 2019) and 76% of CEOs mention talent availability among their top concerns (Source: 21st CEO Survey The talent challenge: Rebalancing skills for the digital age). It’s no mystery, due to a demographic shift coupled with a rapid change of the most demanded skills, talent supply is shrinking and employers are adapting to a candidates-driven market. The reason why CEOs are so concerned can be well understood by quoting Reed Hastings (Netflix’s CEO) who in his latest book (No Rules Rules: Netflix and the culture of Reinvention) put it very well:

“…even when other team members were exceptionally talented and intelligent, one individual’s bad behavior brought down the effectiveness of the entire team. In dozens of trials, conducted over month-long periods, groups with one underperformer did worse than other teams by a whopping 30 to 40 percent…”

Talent is indeed the most important asset companies have and employing the very best in each role will make the difference between sustained growth or stagnation.

This consideration brings on senior executives’ table some important questions such as: how can I differentiate myself from other employers? What is unique about me that desired talent would value the most? Those questions have no easy answers and they involve understanding your talent audience in-depth and a mix of decisions that ultimately shape the entire company’s identity. However, here I share with you the results from the Nova Talent Report 2020, where we surveyed about 3.500 of our members about their career preferences. I hope this will be triggering some reflections and some conversations within your team, since I’ll be covering just a few highlights you can download the full report here.

What Top Talent values the most when it comes to people and culture?

It’s no surprise that leaders come in the first place. It’s commonly said that “people leave their boss not their employer”. A Gallup poll found out that managers account for “at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.” This means employees’ motivation is often made or broken through their managers. What is clear is that employers of all kinds should invest time and resources in nurturing their leaders so they can both attract and develop the next generations before they run out of time.

In fact, as the baby boomers pass the torch to the millennials, who will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025, the latter declares themselves as lacking enough leadership development in 63% of the cases (Source: The 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey).

So, do you feel your organization has inspiring leaders who can develop others? If the answer is yes, showcase them and put emphasis on leadership because this is a key factor for top talent when choosing their employer.

What Top Talent values the most when it comes to company reputations?

Inspiring here is a key element for top talent when assessing the image of their potential next employer, they want to follow inspiring leaders and stand behind an inspiring purpose. Interestingly, traits such as Prestige, a proactive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, Transparency, and Ethical Standards did not make it to the top as they are, by now, considered hygiene factors and no longer a reason to choose an employer over the other. So keep this in mind when communicating your unique identity as a desirable employer.

Is the purpose of your company inspiring? If so, use that to your advantage, if not, do not make it sound inspiring but rather find something else you can leverage to attract top talent. Unfortunately, many employers after including inspirational words in their EVP and communication did not live up to that promise when new people join the company. In this sense, the most significant reason for top talent to leave a company is related to the disillusion of finding themselves in a company culture where they do not thrive. Sooner or later talent will know what working at your company really looks like, keep that in mind when promoting who you really are because losing an employee just a few months after they joined carries significant costs which can be avoided by being genuine and transparent throughout the selection process.

Where do we go from here?

I hope this short article has made you reflect a bit and perhaps triggered some conversations within your team. Knowledge is indeed power and knowing what top talent cares the most when selecting their employer is not only important but very much needed. I hope you can use some of the report’s insights to fine-tune your EVP and take some inspiration as you go into the talent arena trying to win a war that is now fiercer than ever.

On this note, if you are looking for top talent to join your organization, here I live up to my promise. You can join Telescope using the code TOPTALENT and start applying to top talent who are open to a career change but do not disclose it elsewhere. All the profiles you will find in Telescope are anonymized members from the Nova network who are open to a career change or gig. Therefore you’ll get instant access to a pre-vetted pool of passive candidates willing to listen. I hope this will help you invest your time only in relevant and qualified candidates and avoid going through hundreds of irrelevant applications typical of massive platforms.

Thanks for reading until the end of the series, I leave you here the first two articles in case you missed them 👋 (1- Who has brought you here won’t bring you there, 2- Be an Ant not a Grasshopper)

If you’d like to share your thoughts and want to keep the conversation going just reach out to me on Linkedin.

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