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A battleplan can capture skilled staff

A battleplan can capture skilled staff

by Jennifer Lima

Vice President, Talent Solutions & Innovation, Americas 11th Jun 2015

The war for talent is a very different conflict today, and unsurprisingly demands a tactical shift. Until now, for many, gender diversity has been the foremost concern, but progressive organisations competing for top talent in an increasingly talent-short and age-diverse market are refining their attraction and retention strategies to this competitive reality.

Multi-generational diversity is another lens to apply to today’s workforce, and finding strategies that work across as much of the diverse talent spectrumas possible really defines competitive advantage.

The way in which people engage with the world of work has changed, with the 
most palpable shift around demands for agility and flexibility. In short, flexible working cuts across diverse talent and all generations.

The UK employment rate is 73.3%, the highest rate of people in work since the Office for National Statistics 
began keeping records in 1971. The shift away from recession has resulted in a more candidate-driven market – there is more choice and opportunity, especially for those with niche skill sets. 

Despite the prosperity this suggests, it can be tough for employers if you have critical positions to fill and not enough time 
to grow your own. In fact, 60% of all new jobs in the 21st century will require skills possessed by only 20% of the current workforce. Supporting a growing enterprise is more challenging than ever in the midst of what experts have dubbed a labour shortage crisis.

Savvy employers engage the full talent spectrum – and flexible working is key. Employers are fast learning that the ability to attract, engage and retain diverse talent across generations will support hiring needs in a talent-short workforce. 

For example, millennials are becoming the largest cohort in the workforce, but tapping into this group also creates opportunities for older staff whose relevance in your organisation might otherwise be dwindling: we need to retain these experienced people to help millennials develop. We are seeing reciprocal mentor programmes being implemented for this very reason. It is a smart tactic.

Your ability to offer flexible environments that appeal to a multigenerational workforce will make a huge difference in securing talent in this landscape. We know efforts to implement flexible, part-time work and/or jobsharing will pay off, yet many struggle to embed 
commercially viable practices. Flexible working adoption and the ability to make the policy a cultural reality requires changes in processes, capabilities and behaviours. It needs commitment.

With such a mix of ages in the workforce, we have seen organisations neglecting clash points, causing talented people to jump ship for those available opportunities – especially as remnants 
of economic decline have eroded loyalty – but this could be avoided: give millennials intrinsically meaningful work; don’t over-coach baby boomers; allow generation X-ers portable careers and the freedom they need.

When our clients adapt their approach, especially through operationalizing flexible working, the results are fruitful.



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