The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone but what does it mean when it comes to where and how people choose to work? We’re regularly being asked whether companies will be able to attract great talent without automatically getting into a wage war… We have already witnessed people leaving our industry around the world because of the pandemic. The cost-of-living crisis is the next great concern as the world heads into uncertain economic times where talent is at a premium.
I believe there will be upward pressures on salaries, that is inevitable, but this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a wage war.
This is because successful recruitment and retention of the very best talent has never been solely about financial remuneration, and it never will be.
While financial reward is key, our experience of placing leadership talent worldwide regularly demonstrates other factors are equally as important in influencing decisions about which job people will take.
Building trust, understanding, and mutual agreement from the very first interaction is crucial. That meeting with a potential employer gives the candidate a view as to whether they have shared values, whether the business treats employees with respect, and whether ambitions are aligned. By failing to understand the multifaceted nature of humans and treating candidates as purely economically driven entities instead – as commodities – organisations can fall short. Money isn’t everything.
Senior, experienced candidates care enormously, and they take time to make considered, good decisions about which organisations they join. They want to believe the organisation will put time and effort into developing them. They want to feel they are joining a team to excel and succeed, both for the organisation and for themselves, as opposed to simply ‘doing a job’. Quite simply, the arrangement between talent and employer needs to be mutually beneficial.
Meanwhile, the retention of leaders is also not just about financial remuneration, although this does need to be fair and benchmarked again the industry. It is about people feeling invested in, feeling valued, and feeling they are being rewarded for their loyalty. Long-term incentive schemes have become much more of a priority for individuals. This is about a combination of financial reward, additional holiday period, training, and learning opportunities. It is about an organisation demonstrating commitment to the individual by offering them a career ladder and giving them benefits which recognise the priorities an individual has in their life. Again, this is not just about the money.
I’ve been involved first-hand in many placements in many companies, and I know that people join cultures. They want to feel the ethos of the company is about an open, learning culture, one which encourages healthy debate and gets involved in constructive conflict. Our world is changing so quickly so this type of environment is important to enable any team to make the best decisions. A culture that encourages open and frequent communication, flexibility, that has a listening mindset and celebrates the lessons learned during the pandemic, and as we emerge once more, will find they gain the respect of their staff.
A career is no longer a linear process. People are looking to future proof their careers and develop a broader range of skills of transferable skills. It is not just technical skills they are looking to develop but leadership, communication, innovation, and stress management. These development opportunities rise to the top when candidates are deciding about their careers and, right now, they have never been more important.
While the cost-of-living crisis will continue to dominate headlines in the coming months, the best employers will make sure it does not dominate their recruitment strategies. Clever employers will prioritise the many reasons people choose roles beyond salary and, by doing so, win the talent war.
By Juliet Timms, Co-Founder Grace Blue Partnership