As any successful organisation knows, you’re only as good as your people. But in today’s global, hyper competitive workforce the challenge of attracting and retaining the best staff is harder than it’s ever been.

So what can companies do about it?

The first thing to understand today is that talent acquisition and retention needs to be approached from a business and marketing perspective.

Specifically, companies need to think about recruitment as a ‘branding’ exercise whereby different candidates and staff have different motivators and expectations that need to be factored into your attraction strategies and help form all communications with them.

It’s a competitive market

The subject of money is always interesting in the recruitment space. There have been countless studies published in the past few years suggesting, for instance, that salary is less important to millennials, than say baby boomers and Gen X workers.

But if you’re trying to compete with a rival offering millennial recruits $10k or $20k more than you’re putting on the table, you need to fully understand what it is they see as more important and clearly communicate how working for you will give it to them.

How accommodating is your organisation to different groups of workers? Millennials, Gen X or Baby Boomers? What about mothers, fathers and other groups of people that have specific challenges and responsibilities they need to manage?

Sound familiar?

Recruits as customers

It’s a fundamental aspect of business planning and development to know why you exist in the market and who should care. The same thinking should be applied to recruitment.

Why should someone work for you and why should they stay? Business success is all about acquisition and loyalty.

Are there opportunities to acquire and refine specific skills that align with a potential recruit’s career objectives. What about the flexibility to work from wherever they want and via whatever device? Are there opportunities to adjust work schedules around family, study or other commitments?

This will make it easier for potential recruits to judge whether the career benefits of working for you compensate for less salary.

Just as digital technologies are forcing companies to rethink how they connect and engage with customers, so too they need to rethink how they establish and maintain relationships with new recruits and staff more generally.

Organisations need strategies in place to understand different groups of recruits and how to cater to them.

This means building repositories of clear, quality content that communicates what the company does in a manner, tone of voice and via platforms that match different people and speak to their needs and wants.

Younger workers find this increasingly important, especially as they have their whole careers – and lives – ahead of them, meaning every decision they make now has potentially big implications for their future.

If it’s important enough to your organisation to hire a certain sort of talent, then make it easier for them to choose you. The tools for doing so are already there.

Millennials love watching video via mobile devices over Instagram and Youtube, while Baby Boomers and Gen X might be more likely to use one of the social media platforms like LinkedIn via their laptop.

But acquiring great staff is just the beginning.

Organisations need to remain attentive to what staff are feeling and thinking once they come on board to have the best chance of retaining them.

Create and encourage use of company Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram accounts. Make use of mobile devices, platforms and apps to help with this and other activities such as company surveys that staff can view and complete at times that suit them.

The visa challenge

In today’s highly globalised business environment, you need to have your eye on international markets too. Employers in fields like IT, engineering and mining know this all too well.

They also know that hiring staff from overseas has become increasingly complex over the past several years.

For example, changes to Australia’s 457 Visa program last year have established new conditions that make it harder to sponsor someone who comes into the country.

All skilled worker classes have now been changed, including requirements that employers have allocated enough money to training of staff and proving that a current staff member cannot be easily upskilled to complete the same duties.

All up, increased bureaucratic processes can mean it takes up to three months before a foreign worker can actually commence working.

And of course you need to attract them in the first place.


By Adam Croft, Head of Talent Acquisition and Engagement at Brennan IT