7 insights from our ERP Live session on talent tech strategies | Unit4
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7 insights from our ERP Live session on talent tech strategies

Without doubt the greatest challenge facing enterprise leaders at the moment, apart from disrupted supply chains and soaring energy costs and rising inflation is the battle for talent. It's an issue that has gradually been accelerating over the last decade, but now it's a boardroom priority for almost every organization.

The pandemic has changed how we work and where we work. Younger generations have a new set of priorities. Companies around the world are dealing with, a generational challenge to identify, hire and retain the talent they need to execute in the digital economy.

And on top of this, the dynamic between employer and employee has fundamentally shifted – creating a transient labor landscape in which skilled people can dictate terms and vote with their feet if their needs aren’t being met.

In a recent ERP live session, our VP of HCM Product Management had a long and involved discussion with Silicon Valley talent leader Steve Cadigan which covered all of these issues, providing insight into what employers can do to improve their talent pipeline, retain key resources, and build a people-first culture that’s attractive and which ultimately boosts performance.

Here’s some of our favorite highlights from the session.

1. Don’t try to “out benefit” your competition

This is especially true of smaller or growing organizations in an especially competitive landscape. Instead, what you can and should focus on is offering people something that costs nothing but which represents a commitment to them. Steve Cadigan, LinkedIn’s first CHRO, cites this as the approach which allowed him to turn a smaller and less attractive company into a powerhouse – making culture a competitive advantage.

But he’s also quick to note that it’s by no means the obvious approach – “This is something we discovered after we tried everything else.”

2. Think hard about what it actually means to be a “great place to work”

While many companies are approaching the new challenges around hiring and retention by trying to make their cultures more attractive, many are struggling both to change, and what to change into.

Creating a culture that not only attracts people but makes them stay around is not necessarily an easy task. And it isn’t really a “task” at all in the sense of a project you can complete and congratulate yourself on. Culture is never static, precisely because people are never static. What’s important to us is changing all the time.

3. Think in terms of goals, not gold standards

Because of this, there is no one “right” culture. Creating a culture that attracts the kind of talent you’ll need for the next stages of your organization’s journey therefore necessitates determining your objectives, figuring out the kind of people you’ll need to help you meet them, and then tailoring your ways of working and environment to them.

4. Aspiration is fine, but don’t let what you want to be get in the way of the goal

The biggest trap for many organizations is often falling into bad patterns out of good intentions. Overprescribing culture can set up leaders and managers to try and achieve standards which aren’t achievable.

The fastest way to destroy a good company culture in the making is to try to force people into a one-size-fits-all model. Organizations must be prepared to offer flexibility not just around working patterns, but how they express and help realize the organization’s core values and mission.

5. Focus on development

HR’s priority shouldn’t just be ensuring people are engaged and productive, but taking an active role in engaging and investing in the employee. Helping the people you have right now to upskill, reskill, and explore new opportunities without having to leave the company to do it.

All of this, of course, as Rachel Jordan (VP of Product Management HCM, Unit4) says, comes down to having a clear idea of the skills, goals, and aspirations your people have right now. The talent system you use can actually be a major part of how your business performs in the battle to hire and retain the best people.

6. Don’t be offended when people leave

The reality of the new labor market is that people are going to leave their jobs – and your organization – eventually. And in a more fluid world of work, you're missing a huge opportunity if you only care about your people while they’re still with you.

Many organizations are leaving a lot of talent “on the table” by failing to nurture their alumni networks. The more alumni you remain in contact with, the more you work to establish a community and develop its members even after they’ve left your organization, the more likely they are to refer others to you, the more likely they are to send deals your way – and the more likely they are to ultimately come back and work with you again in the future.

7. Remember that you probably aren’t beautiful

You’re not going to be a good fit for everyone, and it’s as important to think about who you turn away as who you want to take on.

Lots of companies can fall into the trap of thinking of themselves as “a catch”, and that any potential employee should be grateful for the opportunity to work with them. But with the exceptions of a few very prominent organizations, this simply isn’t true. For the vast majority, thinking hard about who your ideal fit is, the environment you want to optimize for, and how you can bring those people in is a vital part of the talent war.

Want to know more?

Watch the full session recording below for more insight from Steve and Rachel.