It is no secret to anyone in business that there isn’t enough talent to go around. Organisations – whether emerging startups or global enterprises – all have to go the extra mile to find and retain talent.
Doing so involves going way beyond the People and Culture (P&C) department and the traditional focus on salary and benefits. The new approach requires a genuine and sustained commitment to people and understanding the changing shift in how people think about their careers and the place they choose to work.
The great resignation
Recent (February 2022) UK research by Ipsos revealed that 47% of British workers have thought about quitting their job, looked for or applied for another job, or spoken to their employer about resigning in the previous three months. The ‘great resignation’ is a similar story in countries all around the world. While there are many factors at play, a key reason for this is that the role of the employer is changing.
Private life and work-life are more interconnected than ever as increasingly, employees work from anywhere, including from their homes or far-flung locations. We have tried to address this, supporting our employees’ causes and doing everything possible to reflect the changing nature of working life.
But we are a startup operating in a sector (e-commerce) that is seen as ‘hot’, so some of the talent challenges are in theory, easier. The same does not apply to other sectors, which increasingly find it hard to gain the attention of young talent especially. But irrespective of sector and company size, the challenges remain. Just because an organisation is in e-commerce, it does not mean it can rest on its laurels.
This is what we have learned about attracting and retaining talent.
- Hybrid working is a red herring
There is so much attention on hybrid working currently, but this feels like a red herring to me. A massive majority of the best global talent does not live anywhere near your office. Asking them to come to that office even once a month will place huge restrictions on your ability to recruit people.
This is why a fully remote workforce is the way forward. Companies must be able to attract talent that is not willing or not able to get into their office. If the perfect candidate lives in New York, they won’t want the hassle of the travel and paperwork needed to get to an all-hands meeting in London. It is preferable for you to get your P&C systems in place for remote hiring and paying salaries internationally.
- Never stop learning
The modern workforce will mostly want to work for companies that utilise modern technologies. Organisations with dated technology that does not encourage collaboration and innovation hold much less appeal. So, investment in new technology also helps to solve the P&C problem. The choice of technology platform goes beyond driving product sales – it is also an investment in attracting the best talent. Ongoing learning is essential to remaining relevant, and any organisation that forgets this will fall behind.
- Establish the employer brand
Brand is important for any organisation, but the employer brand is arguably even more vital than the market brand. The aim is to be an employer brand people are proud to work for and want to talk about. It is not about being the biggest employer or paying the best salary. Employees should want to tell other people to come and work for you. P&C teams must work with marketing teams to make this happen.
- Constantly innovate
Some recruitment processes are overly demanding, so all companies should look to simplify their own processes. Can candidates apply without a CV, for example? Can you use the tools that make the candidate experience smoother?
P&C can learn from innovative marketing departments, marketplace management, or IT departments and apply the thinking and the toolsets available there. Innovation breeds innovation, and it can play an important role in talent acquisition and retention.
- Always measure P&C metrics
Finally, organisations must measure their P&C metrics and do so in real-time where possible. P&C use similar channels as salespeople – LinkedIn, Google ads, Facebook ads, etc – so the same amount of time and innovation in campaigning are now needed. P&C must use and act on the data swiftly, just as salespeople do. What channel is the best performing? Where do we have the best retention? Review metrics on everything P&C and improve them.
About the author
Alexander Graf, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of e-commerce B2B software leader Spryker. Spryker’s work model FLOW (Flexible-Life-Oryx-Work) allows employees to work from anywhere and benefit from unlimited vacation days and fully flexible working hours.