Grace Blue’s EMEA CEO & Global MD, Sarah Skinner highlights four key factors that should be part of any Board conversation about its talent retention and recruitment strategy in 2024 and beyond.
Picture the scene. A Leadership team is sat at the first Board meeting of the year, wrestling with how to unlock growth, increase market share and maintain profitability. I hope talent is the top point on the agenda, specifically, this question: what do we need to be certain that we have the best talent, and that we will retain that talent, this year and beyond? Every successful business in history is built on the talent of the people running it and delivering that success.
The Employer Brand must be centre stage
The pendulum is swinging from a supply market for talent (2023) to one where the best talent will be in great demand (2024). The single biggest influence on who will succeed in both retaining brilliant talent and attracting new game changers will be the power of the Employer Brand. Every board should ask itself, are we the most attractive company to work for within our competitor set (and perhaps beyond that too). If not, why not? And what are we going to do to be the most attractive place for the best people to want to work? With predictions of a rise in breakaway start-ups at a senior level, and restlessness at the junior level, we say to every Board, ignore your Employer brand at your peril. This is not about benefits, or salary but about humanising corporate brands, carefully considering the acquisition experience, engaging with current staff, and building a culture of learning, inclusion, and development.
Recognise the Geo-Political context
With around 70 elections taking place across the globe this year, 2024 will see the biggest democratic participation in human history. This is both exciting and unsettling, empowering and potentially divisive. Whatever happens at the ballot boxes, there will be more opportunity, activity, and investment because of these political events, so think ahead around your talent pipeline now to take advantage of a unique year.
MENA & the Subcontinent are emerging fast as a key fourth region alongside the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Strong, relevant leadership talent for this region is key for making the most of this commercial opportunity.
Equally, with the Summer Olympics in Europe and ICC World Cup in the USA to name just two events, the Sports industry must continue to transform from ‘Traditional Rights holders’ into ‘Digital Entertainment Providers’ that can engage and monetise a broader fan base. This means looking at different skillsets of their leadership teams from beyond their core competitors. At the same time, any brand looking to leverage fan engagement in their sporting passions should be ready to get involved in this shift.
Embed technology in everything you do, including your talent plan
Technology is enabling everything everywhere, from digital transformation to the data revolution. It’s not a department or a series of vendor relationships; it is the core that runs through every aspect of business. The best leadership teams will understand the technology their business needs to stay ahead of competitors and to bring them closer to their customers. This now includes AI, and how best to deploy it. Nobody knows all the answers yet, but the leadership teams that get there first will be in the strongest position to succeed. This includes how AI is used in your plans to identify and acquire talent – new solutions will disrupt and enhance, and leadership teams that invest in smart solutions will win the war on talent.
Putting the customers first
There is a reason that the role of the CMO is becoming more complex, and in many cases, making the transition to Chief Customer Officer. It is because consumer expectations are rising in line with developments in technology and a wide range of societal issues. Audience insights must inform future business decisions.
This steady and challenging increase in complexity for every business will mean the Board will need help simplifying how their organisation services its customer base. We may, for example, see more consolidation of marketing services companies to help answer this client need.
From a talent perspective this means rapid investment in CX skill sets and a rise of demand for talent who can turn the data into actions that deliver competitive advantage.
None of the above is simple. Finding (and holding onto) the best people in a rapidly changing world is hard. But it is central to the success of any organisation and any Board looking to grow its business this year must start with Talent at the top of their agenda.
So, this is your call to action:
- Schedule a Board session solely on talent strategy
- Conduct an honest audit of your Employer Brand
- Invest in leadership development programs tailored for expansion
- Embrace AI in talent acquisition and retention
- Build a data-driven customer-centric culture
In 2024, the business with the best people will win.