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Every business is vulnerable on the talent frontline

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality

No business can afford to rest on its laurels when it comes to attracting the best talent today. We all face vulnerabilities and growing obstacles that threaten to challenge the entire talent landscape and many of these show no signs of slowing. Talent today finds itself in a powerful position, while employers are firmly on the frontline, no longer measured simply on giving positive feedback, clear career direction, surveys on job satisfaction and monetary reward, today’s candidates are looking for something much deeper from their employers, in their quest to secure the best positions available.

In line with this, leadership faces its own challenges in meeting the demands of future talent. Good words are no longer enough; businesses must now take physical action to provide the evidence that they are working to make a tangible difference both in society and in their own communities. It’s not a question of ‘going the extra mile’ either, because establishing eco-friendly strategies, ensuring you are sustainable and can showcase your robust workplace culture, which is built on mutual trust and respect, has become the expected, not the wish list.

Attracting talent is only half the battle

Most businesses have adjusted to the culture shift of the traditional interview process and will expect a 50/50 two-way assessment to take place, based on mutual grounds between the interviewer and the candidate; businesses are subsequently, having to fight for the best talent. Yet attracting talent is only half the battle, because you then need to retain it and that will only happen through listening, being more open to learning and creating new solutions that are fit for the modern world.

As employers, we face an unsettling time of turbulence, which makes us all the more vulnerable when it comes to attracting talent. Cases of people suffering with anxiety, stress and mental illness continue to grow, those opting for self-employment as opposed to accepting the rigidity of the nine to five corporate environment, the decline in team cultures and lack of trust in leadership teams all make for a troubling and difficult platform upon which to recruit. As a result, it’s becoming even more crucial for employers to adopt the right processes to inspire new talent and to prove they care and are making a genuine difference to their employees, not just from a personal perspective but socially for the bigger picture too.

Believe in something bigger

Whether that involves appointing specialist councillors for staff that are struggling or creating facilities and surroundings that promote health and wellbeing, or indeed working with your external community on special initiatives that give something back to those who need it most, or even working collaboratively with other businesses, we have to think way outside of the box we were once in. This may also mean that companies need to look outside of their own industries and comfort zones, to unite with others and share knowledge and experience which may translate across multiple sectors.  If we genuinely want to make the changes necessary, no door should be closed because we won’t find the answers within our own four walls.

Many companies are beginning to step up to the challenge of seeking out and retaining the best talent and are pioneering big changes from widespread global initiatives that make a real difference to people’s lives, to participating in localised support for campaigns that matter to their neighbourhoods.  Attracting talent today is about building character, about inspiring people to believe in some bigger than themselves, it’s about doing ‘something for nothing’, choosing to take the most ethical path to success and standing by your beliefs. Companies have to start showing a real commitment to why they exist and what they stand for, for those who don’t, risk falling at the talent frontline. 

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