The War for Talent

Whilst looking around the internet jobs sites, the 1000 plus Adviser and Paraplanner job adverts on the premium jobs sites evidences the pressure to fill vacancies.   So how do you attract and retain talent in a highly competitive industry?

How to Attract Talent

Present your business at its best, have a clear and informative job advert, provide company information on your web site for candidates who may be interested in working for you, case studies from current staff and a social media presence can also help to give candidates a flavour of your business. 

Give prospective employees a realistic job preview at the recruitment stage, with a clear job description, don’t oversell the job or minimise aspects of the role.  Remember the most cited reasons for people leaving a job is due to ‘their boss’ so let them meet their prospective new Manager.  Be flexible wherever possible, consider home working arrangements and accommodate individual preferences on working hours and times.  

Engaging Talent

Employers want engaged employees because, as well as being happier, healthier and more fulfilled, they are more motivated, productive and deliver improved business performance.  This in turn can impact revenue, profit, customer satisfaction and innovation. 

There is a risk that dis-engaged employees may result in talent leaving the business if they feel de-motivated.

So what is ‘engagement’?  In the broadest terms, employee engagement brings together a range of established concepts, including job satisfaction, motivation, work effort, organisational commitment, shared purpose, energy and ‘flow’.  It describes an internal state of being – both physical, mental and emotional – but can also include behaviour, such as commitment and ‘going the extra mile’.

Do you measure engagement? It’s important that employees have a 'voice'.  This could be through a staff forum, one to ones, regular appraisals or attitude surveys.  Where there is no opportunity to voice dissatisfaction and influence outcomes, staff may feel their opinion doesn’t count and they are unable to be heard.  

Retaining Talent

Once you have invested in staff through induction, training and examinations, it’s essential to maximise opportunities for employees to develop skills and careers, this will ensure growth and stability.  On top of a fair remuneration package, top talent will be looking for career conversations to set out a clear career path.  Don’t be afraid to have discussions about what’s the next step, where are they going and what’s expected of them.  This will help manage people’s career expectations and support succession planning across the business.

Where promotions are not feasible, look for sideways moves that vary experience and make the work more challenging and interesting.  Don’t assume everyone wants to move into a more senior role, this isn’t always the case.

A successful mentor relationship could help support staff by offering advice, encouraging reflection and developing knowledge and skills for future success.  

Treat people fairly, a perception of unfairness, whatever the management view of the issue, is a major cause of voluntary resignations.  Ensure your Line Managers are developed as people managers, remember that those technically astute may not be the best leaders in your business.  Help them to manage successfully through focused Management Development. 

Pay attention to employee well-being, avoid a culture of 'presenteeism' where people feel obliged to work longer hours than are necessary or work during annual leave to impress and provide an understanding and support for medical conditions.  

If you do end up losing staff, an exit interview could help you to understand the reasons behind a departure, using someone independent here may help gain a more accurate and honest picture.  

Sometimes it’s the attraction of a new job that 'pulls' them, on other occasions they are 'pushed' as a result of dissatisfaction in their present jobs to seek alternative employment.  By understanding these ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, it can enable you to make any necessary changes.

The People Department can provide support to your business in attracting, retaining and developing your people.  This could range from help with recruitment, independent exit interviews, employee attitude survey and formal management development.  Want to discuss further?  Get in touch – [email protected].


Kate Sparkes

16 May 2019