Strategies for recruitment and talent retention in times of volatility.

As a CEO and a woman, I consider myself sensitive to the importance of building high-performing teams that can thrive in times of massive changes. Let me therefore share some insights and strategies that I find particularly effective for recruiting top talent and retaining them amidst changing market dynamics. So what are the strategies that we can deploy to have a resilient and agile workforce on board that drives sustainable success?
Businesses make all kinds of mistakes when it comes to recruiting, hiring, benefits, and job design. The most common mistake comes from a belief that candidates with extensive experience in a given field will bring additional benefits when compared to those with no or little experience.

While relevant experience may be an asset in certain circumstances, it is worth considering hiring a candidate with a more diverse professional background. Sometimes hiring an experienced worker can even bring the opposite effect. The strategy to opt for an extensive experience is 100% accurate when it comes to some specific laws & regulations driving the market. Previous experience results in fluency and efficiency right from the start.

A 100% NO when candidates possess necessary competences and relevant experience, however, they fail to align within organizational culture. The example could be corporate & family businesses or local & international working environments.

It is far easier to teach skills than change attitudes. The opposite effect may appear when employees, mainly from sales departments, build relations and trust with customers based on an egocentric approach focused on them solely rather than on company values`and USPs. Customer trust will be compromised in the long – term at the end, no doubt about that.

We all want fast accommodation driving fast results but do you agree that everything that comes too fast has little lasting value?

Organisations don’t invest in training and tightly limit head count even when understaffed. This is because financial reporting standards treat employees and such investments as expenses or liabilities, which make companies look less valuable and have a direct impact on reduced profitability. Therefore, cost optimization is so typical in all organisations, ongoing, continuous improvement projects all over the world. Please show me where this is not the case? I will apply for a job there immediately!

I would suggest a different idea. What if we treated people and all investments in employees as key success factors for revenue growth? Can you notice how much this changes the perspective and willingness to invest? 180 degrees, would you agree?

Let’s elaborate on the subject of people for a little while. What is becoming increasingly important for employees (especially newcomers to the job market) are career paths that allow them to visualise long-term opportunities within the organisation from the onboarding on. Clear job descriptions, clearly set goals, defined and announced promotion opportunities both internal within a department or shifts to different departments, including international exchanges. All these above need to be supported by regular annual and mid-year reviews to monitor progress. Companies need to walk their talk. Promises need to be kept. Creating SUCH A FRAMEWORK / BLUEPRINT is a huge effort and is time and energy – consuming, not only for the HR department but for all managers involved. The good thing is that you do it once and then benefit from it for a long time.

The reason why this is so crucial is because it builds a sense of purpose and a vision of development for all employees within an organisation. Particularly, for those talented and ambitious.

In addition, businesses often think that the key to attracting and retaining talents is simply to ask people what they want and then give it to them. Such questions frequently lead to employees addressing only the material aspects of jobs, so called: evergreens such as pay rise or more work flexibility. Highly important, however, in my opinion they belong to hygienic factors which are a “must”. This approach has at least two gaps: The first is that there will always be somebody that can pay more and the second one is that it may build satisfaction but not real engagement. Companies, instead, should focus on what workers need to thrive over the long term, balancing material offerings with opportunities to grow, connection and community, as well as meaning and purpose. It is said that pay motivates us once a month, while work culture motivates us every day. Would you agree? If yes, then why do companies still devote so little time and resources to cultivate passion and dedication in their staff?

Organisational culture is like E.T. – everyone talks about it while nobody has seen it. I was lucky to come across an organisation where, since my first day as CEO, ‘bringing the company closer to the Group’ and building the group organizational culture have been among my main goals. Four years on, the culture topic is still in my loop. Actually, it never stops. It shouldn’t.

As a CEO strongly committed to building high-performing teams that are happy in the place they are, I believe the strategy to attract talent takes the basics such as good pay, but to retain it, you need to go an extra mile and help people grow and give them the sense of belonging and ownership.

P.S I could almost write a book about the complexity, multidisciplinarity and all the flavours in the subject of organisational culture. Maybe one day I will think about it. 😊

“You are never too small to make a difference.”

– Greta Thunberg
(Environmental Activist)