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The talent trends all executives need to know about right now

The talent trends all executives need to know about right now

Okay, you’ve probably heard it a million times, but for good reason.

You might have an award-winning product, a cutting-edge solution, or an office in every major city in the world – but the truth is, your business model will always be at risk if you’re not willing to invest in your people. 

Recent research published by the Economic Research Council revealed a shocking three quarters of the UK workforce are not engaged in their work – with only a mere 8% claiming that they are engaged. And it’s no secret that engaged workers are more productive, passionate and, consequently, more profitable for your business.

Here’s some of the many ways organisations are investing in their talent:

Your people need a purpose. 

Having an organisational purpose – establishing the reason why your organisation exists and embedding it into every aspect of your business – comes with a number of business benefits.

For instance, the authors of Corporate Culture and Performance, John Kotter and James Heskett, analysed stock prices for over a decade and found purpose-driven organisations outperformed their counterparts by a factor of 12.

The majority of business leaders are on board with purpose, too, with 79% agreeing that purpose is central to a business’s success, a study by PwC found.

But one of the biggest benefits purpose has is on your employees’ engagement levels. According to Gallup, 90% of employees in purpose-driven organisations feel more engaged; and the average millennial tenure at a company jumps from two years to five years when there is an alignment with purpose.

Invest in agility and adaptability.

Political, economic and technological developments constantly threaten to disrupt business as usual – that’s why organisations need to be adaptable, agile and fast-paced in their decision-making and able to evolve continually. 

According to Bersin by Deloitte, 94% of organisations believe ‘agility and collaboration’ are critical to their success.

To achieve this, organisations need to do away with outdated corporate hierarchies and, instead, invest in flatter, more agile workplace cultures that encourages collaboration across teams, departments and countries.

Map out your employee experience.

Many organisations take the time to map out their customer experience, but very few bother to accurately assess their overall employee experience.

As with customers, a happy employee might tell a few people about their experience at your organisation, but a disgruntled employee will tell dozens. 

To increase talent attraction, engagement, productivity and retention, a growing number of organisations are mapping out the employee experience, from someone’s first face-to-face interview through to their first few days/months/years. 

By collaborating across different teams and functions within your organisation, it’s possible to get a bigger picture of the areas where you are succeeding, and more importantly, the areas where there is room for improvement.

Forget about skills – hire people for their potential.

Traditionally, most organisations have made hiring decisions based on relevant skills, qualifications and levels of experience, and as a result, the recruitment process has morphed into a box-ticking checklist more than anything else.

We all know that it takes a lot more than looking over someone’s skills and experience to measure their suitability to a role – they need to fit in with your organisation’s culture, and they need to be passionate about your product or business offering (and your purpose). When some jobs or technologies didn’t exist three years’ ago, this becomes even more challenging. 

To measure someone’s true suitability to your organisation and to the role at hand, you need to measure their mindset. Our Pulse tool gives valuable insights of candidate's personality, motivational drivers and working preferences, while our Pulse Mindset tool measures how leaders respond to challenges and change, and how they cope in high-pressure environments – which is particularly relevant now, in the fast-paced digital age we live in. 

Tap into the gig economy.

The number of people opting to work freelance or short-term roles is rising rapidly. According to our Talent Trends research, 67% of 16-34 year olds say they’re likely to freelance in the future. 

While you may have previously only focused on attracting the full-time, permanent talent market, there’s huge value to be unlocked from working with freelancers and contractors.

With technological transformation causing wave after wave of digital disruption, the demand for specific skills and expertise is changing all the time. For instance, the recent GDPR regulations that came into play earlier this year caused a huge demand for fixed-term Data Protection Officers to help organisations comply with the new regulations.

The demand for greater diversity.

In recent years, a growing number of businesses have woken up to the fact that investing in a more diverse workforce is a bigger issue than representation – it’s about creating a fairer, more ethical work environment that rewards people for their ability and contribution rather than their gender or background. 

More diversity also results in a more effective, productive and better performing workforce. In a recent survey from McKinsey, organisations that fit into the most gender diverse quartile are 20% more likely to have above average financial performance than the least diverse quartile. 

But benefitting from a more diverse workforce doesn’t come to fruition after a few quick-fix solutions, such as enforcing D&I quotas or policies – it takes place on a cultural level and comes from embracing diverse thinking, problem-solving and contributions. 

Real-time learning is a must-have.

At a time where YouTube tutorials offer a more informative and useful way to absorb new skills than classroom-based courses, organisations are having to rethink their approach to learning and development.

To provide a workplace environment that encourages learning, organisations are choosing to incorporate real-time learning techniques into their everyday culture. 

For instance, platforms like Lynda offer quick, real-time online courses and training, while tools like Slack and instant messaging apps create the opportunity to share ideas and resources. It’s also worth making use of internal resources, like mentoring programmes or problem-specific coaching, to keep workers at all different stages of their careers engaged. 

For more information on the latest trends impacting the UK talent market, please contact Liz Mayers on

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