According to the report Talent Shortage Survey 2015 by Manpower, 32% of companies in the EMEA region report having difficulty finding talent in 2015. This is the highest figure since the start of the economic crisis in 2008.
In Spain, this percentage is 14%. Despite being a smaller number, it is amazing to think that there are still unfilled jobs in our country, given the high unemployment rates that have occurred in recent years1. The explanation for this phenomenon is that the skills of many young unemployed professionals does not fit the profiles that companies need to cover.
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Given this context, companies have no choice but to openly compete with each other to attract, seduce and more than ever, retain the best qualified professionals. In this post we would like to highlight 6 best practices that every company should include in its strategy for attracting and retaining top talent in the long run.
Attracting the best talent
People are the main asset of any company, and to hire the best professionals will certainly impact on any company’s ability to generate business value. HR departments have a key role in attracting and convincing the best. How can you do it?
1. Define the job position's characteristics in detail.
On your website and on any platform you choose to announce a job position, be transparent: define and establish as much as possible the tasks, be explicit about the tools the professional will work with, detail the career plan as much as you can, explain the team, enumerate the social benefits, define a salary range, etc.
The job description will be the first source of information for candidates, and the more detailed, the more interest it will awaken among them. It is also important for them to have an accurate guess about their possibilities to be a good match for the position. If the information is insufficient or unclear, it is likely that they will feel disappointed or be frustrated when they start the job.
2. Use recruiting techniques and strategies that differentiate your company.
The wording of the job description, the social channels you use to communicate the job offer, the tools you use to carry out the selection process, the way you treat candidates in the interview, etc., all of this reveals how a company behaves internally. And these behaviors show if the company unabashedly embraces changes and quickly incorporates new technologies into their processes, or whether on the contrary it is a company that remains stuck in the past and operates the old way.
It is important to have in mind that the bulk of the current workforce is made up of Generation Y, popularly known as Millennials2. Millennials are technological professionals, who do not value the stability or pay compensation as much as previous generations, but they will especially appreciate if the company uses technology in all of its processes, if it gives them the possibility to learn and grow professionally, and if the work environment is friendly enough.
3. Create a good onboarding program.
When finally the best candidate has been selected, it is important that his or her arrival into the company occurs easily and naturally. Although ideally the new employee will already have met the team, as part of the selection process, it is recommended to notify everyone of his or her incorporation date, to send an email to the whole office to officially welcome him or her, and to present him or her to the rest of the company.
As part of the onboarding program, it is important that the new employee has been able to sign the employment contract prior to the first day of work. This is a process that is often complicated for several reasons, but it is very important to carry it out, as it conveys security and gives confidence to the new worker. Signaturit is the perfect tool to solve this kind of formality: it is not necessary for the newly hired employee to be registered on our platform in order to sign the contract, and he or she can do it from a computer or from any mobile device, easily and quickly.
Retaining the best professionals
The cost of replacing a top skilled employee is very high, and it often involves huge additional stress on the rest of the team, if the HR department fails to hire a new professional on time. Good practices to retain talent must be carried out by managers and team leaders, although the HR team gives support, monitors the results and acts as an intermediary in cases of misunderstanding.
1. Give them autonomy to conduct their work.
As mentioned above, Millennials are leading the workforce nowadays, and one of the defining characteristics of this generation as professionals is that they don’t work at ease under rigid corporate structures and they don’t accept bosses to tell them what to do all the time. For Millennials to feel comfortable in the office, they should have autonomy to carry out their work, and they have to feel their bosses’ confidence in them. In a more flexible and relaxed atmosphere, these professionals feel that they are real owners of their responsibilities and thus become more committed with the company’s goals. Under these conditions, they will not hesitate to give the best of themselves, working overtime if necessary, for performing their job as best as possible.
2. Keep them motivated and communicate with them very often
Giving and getting feedback is one of the most important practices that every company should implement to retain the best professionals. Millennials need constant feedback to stay motivated: they need to know how well they are doing their job and what they could improve. This information is vital for them, as they need to see that they are learning on the one hand, and on the other hand that their work is really helping to achieve the company’s objectives.
And asking for feedback (honestly) is equally important. Not only feedback related to a particular project’s development - which will make them feel truly part of it and will help them become more involved - but also feedback related to the problems they face every day to do their job. The latter is invaluable information on how to improve the working conditions for these professionals, information that can be used by the HR department to attract potential new employees.
3. Provide them the tools they need to achieve their goals
For millennials it is also vital to have good tools to achieve their objectives. Because they have grown up with technology and they use it intensely, they will surely detect processes in the company that will seem to them as inefficient and unproductive ways of doing things.
Two clear examples of unproductive processes are having to sign or submit to signing documents on paper - a task that comes together with other inefficient tasks like scanning, sending via email and archiving paper documents - or not being able to share files online with other teammates, so that those files are searchable and editable by several of them simultaneously.
Companies that are successfully attracting and, especially, retaining the best skilled millennials are undoubtedly implementing these recommendations, leaving behind the outdated bureaucracy and hierarchical formalities that have always characterized big corporations. Whatever the size or sector of activity, any company may be appealing to these professionals if they are given responsibility, autonomy and a work environment that fosters above all professional and personal growth of its employees.
This post is also available in Spanish.
1. In 2014 unemployment in Spain among those under 25 years amounted to 53.2%, the highest figure in the EU. (Eurostat, 2014).
2. In the report “Millenials at Work. Reshaping the workplace” by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, millennials are estimated to represent 50% of the workforce in 2020.