In our previous post, my colleague Susan Rice and I gave a high-level overview of the evolution of HR and explained that businesses today are starting to look to HR for leadership and energy in two key areas:

  • Reskilling the workforce to accommodate new technologies and marketplace conditions.
  • Attracting top talent in increasingly competitive industries.

In this post, we will examine what businesses can do to attract top talent.

Why would young people want to work for your business?

Accenture’s study into the workforce genome has found that young professionals with in-demand skills in areas like digital technology and data science don’t rate banks and insurers as employers of choice, because they often fail to:

  • Deliver workplace experiences that engage younger workers,
  • Reskill older workers for the digital age, and
  • Drive productivity and skills retention across the board.

How do you change this perception?

Our “Gen Z Rising” study found that recent graduates are becoming more interested in working for large companies, but they have very specific expectations. Eighty-six percent expect their first employer to provide formal training and recent graduates are more than three times as likely to stay at a company if their skills are being used fully. So, if you want to attract young, tech-savvy talent, you need to show them that you will give them challenging, meaningful work and that learning and development forms part of a well-designed, engaging employee experience.

To attract top talent, we need a complete overhaul of our recruitment practices, starting with finding different ways of reaching people, producing different types of content to attract people and getting to know the people you want to work for you.

Where do you go to look for talent?

Finding new recruits is a bit like dating—you need to be strategic in where you go to spot the best talent. You’re also competing with other employer brands, so you can’t simply target the usual suspects in the usual places, for example LinkedIn. Your ideal candidate might not even share your zip code. With the internet, you can now locate top talent anywhere in the world. In the TED Talk below, HR expert Rainer Strack suggests that to solve the workforce crisis of 2030 (which he describes as a huge labor shortage, skills mismatch and cultural challenge), businesses need to look across borders for mobile and willing job seekers.

Next, you need to be strategic in how you go about looking for the best people to work for you. Create a vision of your ideal candidate, and then find out where they would spend their time—both in person and online. Where would you be able to find someone with the particular skills you are looking for? Where do they go to find work? To achieve this type of hands-on recruitment, you need a more creative, human-centered approach that moves away from the checklist approach to recruitment. But how do you find out where you ideal candidates roam?

By getting to know the people you want to work for you

Once you’ve established what your ideal candidate looks like, dig a bit deeper. What do they read? What are their interests and hobbies? What are their causes and passions? Do they play online games, frequent forums, engage on social media?

If you know, for example, that you want candidates who are passionate about STEM subjects for women, you can start to target forums that speak to these topics and identify your talent pool in that way. Or say you want someone who is vocal about climate change. You could follow related hashtags on Twitter to identify people who participate in these discussions and have novel things to say.

To get to know your potential employees, you also need to learn to read between the lines of a well-crafted résumé. One person might tick all the boxes, while another may have more life experience and resilience. In the TED Talk below, HR executive Regina Hartley explains why the best hire doesn’t always have the best résumé—and why you should “hire the scrapper”.

#WeAreCisco case study: how to use social media to reach employees

Once you’ve decided who you want to work for you and where to find them, you need to devise a strategy to reach them. You could produce different types of content to attract people, for example writing articles, blog posts, making videos or creating engaging social media content, etc.

A very simple yet effective talent strategy is getting people who already work for you to speak on your behalf, like in the case of #WeAreCisco.

In our next post, we’ll discuss how to keep potential employees engaged in the recruitment process once you’ve attracted them. Until then, read our reports on: Cracking the workforce genome and Gen Z Rising.

To find out more about digital HR in financial services or to join us at the Change Directors Forum and People Innovation Forum in London, contact Nicole Knott here or on Twitter @knott_nic. For more on transformative recruitment strategies, contact Susan Rice on LinkedIn.

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