A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jan 26, 2017

Why Technology Is Not How You Will Recruit and Retain Your Staff

Technology is merely the ante - the initial investment - to get an enterprise competitive and keep it so. It is not a sustainable advantage because everyone else is doing the same thing.

It is the intangibles like leadership, opportunity, training, a collaborative and interesting environment that differentiate the survivors from those who fall by the wayside. JL

Paul Armstrong comments in Forbes:

30%  of all workers in Europe and the US are freelancers or their own bosses. Six out of 10 people entering the world of work by 2025 will work in professions that do not yet exist. The amount to replace an employee is around $20,000 (some say closer to $40,000). The ability of companies to recognise, recruit and retain the talent needed in the future could be the defining challenge. Technology won't save your company if the people don't want to come to work.
Adecco's Global Talent Competitiveness Index (AGTCI) may not be everyone's bedtime reading but it does make for an interesting read.  Measuring the movements of talent as the labour workforce is disrupted by machines, Millennials and other factors should be on any executives mind.  Why?  The amount of money to replace an employee (while amounts vary per research) is around $20,000 (some say closer to $40,000).  Understanding why talent comes and goes could save billions if more companies fixed the issues the most recent AGTCI outlines.
John Marshall, CEO of Adecco Group UK & Ireland, said: “Technology will affect the way talent is recruited and retained as it affects all industries. With recent studies suggesting that six out of 10 people entering the world of work by 2025 will work in professions that do not yet exist, the ability of companies to be able to recognise, recruit and retain the talent and skills that will be needed in the future, could be the defining challenge of industry in the coming decades.”
Location always features heavily in the data - and rightly so - it is an important factor.  This year Switzerland remains the best place to work retaining the number one slot from 2016 rankings (as did Singapore for 2nd place).  The UK surprisingly climbed up four places to hit the number 3 spot with the US staying firm in fourth place - for the full results (including the best city to work in) go to the end of the post.
Location isn't the only focus of the research though, how to attract people to your business is also heavily looked at.  Considering (per Adecco) around 30%  of all workers in Europe and the US are "to a greater or lesser degree" freelancers or their own bosses - how do companies attract the right talent when the recruits are technologically more advanced than your company is?
SHOW THEM OUTPUTS VERSUS INPUTS: A clear focus on what people deliver versus how they deliver it was a big theme in the report.  Companies that talk less about technology and simply let it power them (rather than be the company), per Adecco, will see the highest retention potential.   With connectivity, less authority and fluid management all being assumed.  For the new wave of potential employees at least. the 20th-century model is a negative - so stop focusing on it. SO I SHOULD?: Talk about the outcomes and the effects your business has on people or wants to have in the future.  Use words like achieve,.
FOCUS ON DEMONSTRATING ENABLING WORKERS MORE THAN TECHNOLOGY & TRAINING: A key finding from the research showed that employers need to show new recruits that their workforce is made up of self-starters and demonstrate how workers helped themselves.  Not simply autonomy but an awareness of the group.
SO I SHOULD?  Write a list of all the ways workers can help themselves whether it is access to things, courses, external opportunities and be ready to show examples.  Perhaps rethink your corporate page?
HIGHLIGHT THE SOCIAL ASPECTS OF WORK: With technology and automation looming, employment is becoming "polarised" per Adecco.  While there are more jobs for highly-skilled and lowly-skilled workers, the middle is looking bleak.  As a result, the new talent profile du jour appears to be a higher weighted mix or combination that focuses on the social abilities more than the technical.  As leaps forward and innovation comes increasingly from collaboration and co-creation, workers will need social skills that go beyond the "s/he's nice" to effectively influence and conflict resolution.  World Economic Forum core skills needed in 2020 data also supports this.
SO I SHOULD? Review your current hiring and testing practices to see if you are adequately identifying these abilities in new (and existing) recruits.  Consider using external help to create a programme to increase these skills.
With a hard Brexit looming and a Trump in the White House, emotions will continue to run high about jobs but the data gives a somewhat positive look and outlook.  Robots aren't about to take all jobs but they will certainly change the world of work.  What is clear from the report and research is that technology won't save your company if the people don't want to come to work.


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