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How to Boost Your Ability to Attract Top Talent in 2018

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Beyond the core processes of talent acquisition, the success of a recruiting organization also depends on its ability to understand and embrace the trends shaping tomorrow’s world of talent and business. For example, an evolving view on diversity and inclusion (D&I) is helping companies reach great talent, improve productivity, and compete in a world of changing demographics. Plus, the rise of the Millennial generation opens up a universe of talent with skills that did not even exist just two decades ago, and companies are scrambling to adapt.

How well are organizations aligning with the changing world of talent? The answers vary, and once again, they separate the talent leaders from the rest of the field. But in all cases, the dynamics of these trends are evolving quickly, as found in our recent Talent Advisory Survey of more than 7,000 global employers and job seekers. The lagging organization that commits to improvement can achieve compelling results, and the leader that rests on its laurels can quickly fall behind.

Diversity & Inclusion: An Opportunity to Lead

Organizations have always viewed efforts at increasing diversity in the workforce and creating more inclusive cultures as “the right thing to do.” Today, many also recognize the business urgency for D&I. Demand is outstripping the supply of talent with critical skills. Demographic shifts are making the supply of available talent more diverse than ever before. Attracting diverse workers is essential to filling many critical roles, and keeping them onboard, engaged, and advancing their careers is the key to gaining the most value.

Raising the Level of Priority

Among survey respondents, D&I is reported as a significant area of interest, but there is room for improvement. Slightly less than half of the employers report D&I as a top priority for the business (44 percent). High-performing organizations – classified as those employers who strongly agree that their recruitment process enables them to fill open positions quickly, attract top-quality talent, and optimize costs – outrank their peers in identifying D&I as a top business priority – but only by 16 percent. And, while about one-third (34 percent) of employers say they are making significant progress, only 27 percent say they have a well-researched and understood strategy in place. Seventeen percent go on to say success is undefined, and 11 percent report that D&I is not even on their radar at this time. Notwithstanding, about 50 percent of employers cite very effective D&I efforts pertaining to a multitude of diverse groups, suggesting a potential gap between perception and reality.

Actions for Improvement

What does it take to affect change in D&I? According to the survey, high-performing organizations and the rest of employers are in alignment regarding the most effective tactics, although high-performing organizations rate each tactic slightly higher in effectiveness than the status quo. According to respondents from high-performing organizations, leadership commitment is the highest-rated factor in improving D&I (88 percent), followed by employee training (56 percent), mentoring programs (38 percent), and internal D&I teams (38 percent). Tactics rated lowest in effectiveness include quotas (nine percent) and external D&I consulting (13 percent).

D&I will continue to offer talent advantages to organizations that commit to improvement. To drive D&I outcomes, organizations seek meaningful strategies that are connected to leadership’s goals, set in the context of their unique businesses, and supported with internal education, teams, and advocates who can drive results.

Millennials: The Workforce of the Present and the Future

Another way talent leaders separate themselves from other employers is in how they approach the Millennial workforce. The Millennial generation now makes up the largest segment of the U.S. population today. In 2018, they are predicted to be the largest voting-eligible group in the U.S. population, and by 2025, they are predicted to make up three-quarters of the global workforce. This generation, therefore, presents opportunities for a talent advantage to organizations that endeavor to best understand them and capitalize on what makes them unique, effective contributors in driving business outcomes.

Weighing the Double-Edged Perceptions of Millennials

As a part of our recent Talent Advisory Survey, survey respondents identify various characteristics of the Millennial generation that organizations should take into account as they develop their talent management strategies. The characteristics mentioned most frequently by employers include:

  • Technically savvy/resourceful (56 percent)
  • Entitled (41 percent)
  • Educated (31 percent)
  • Idealistic (28 percent)

When findings are broken down by generation, Millennials describe their own characteristics slightly differently, with top mentions being:

  • Technically savvy (54 percent)
  • Innovative (39 percent)
  • Educated (35 percent)
  • Hard-working (32 percent)

It should be noted that these findings are a reflection of common perceptions, a subjective measure that is likely to change over time. Along with caution in trusting general perceptions of this group, each cited characteristic has a double edge. A high level of technical proficiency can come at the expense of investing in interpersonal communications. A sense of entitlement can translate into confidence and a convincing executive presence. Idealism can push companies to think bigger and tackle problems that organizations have come to accept over time.

Adapting to the Trends and Perceptions

Smart organizations adapt management philosophies to embrace Millennial trends while also facilitating organizational success. Digitizing the enterprise, questioning the status quo, and establishing strategies for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and career-pathing roles more clearly are all examples of effective adaptation.

While companies recognize they need to improve their ability to engage with Millennials, only a small portion of them have put a meaningful strategy into action:

  • Only 31 percent of organizations report significant progress in their approach to recruiting Millennials.
  • A full 28 percent of organizations claim Millennial recruitment “is not really on our radar at this time,” and 24 percent say, “success is undefined.”
  • Finally, high-performing organizations are more than twice as likely to identify Millennial recruitment as a top priority for business success and 28 percent more likely to have defined success for Millennial recruitment strategies.

Even with the improved outlook of high-performing organizations, more progress can be made. The most competitive organizations will accelerate their focus on this critical workforce segment and undertake organizational changes that attract and engage them while fostering greater business advantages.

Related Articles

Staying in Front: An Inside Look at the Changing Dynamics of Talent Acquisition (white paper)

Diversity & Inclusion (infographic)

The Millennial Workforce (infographic)

Diversity & Inclusion in Tech

What Makes a Strong Female Leader?

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