Human resource research and practice have a growing array of promising approaches that may enable it to more effectively match talent acquisition and retention strategies with the unrelenting new workforce realities. Human resource departments are changing their existing approaches to talent acquisition and retention based on the new strategic realities. The talent strategies are aimed at attracting and retaining the best innovators. There are several new approaches that companies may employ to compete for the best talent in a changing world of work. Human Resources professionals need to be prepared for more powerful talent-centric approaches as a part of emergent business strategies and to become very familiar with the attributes of workplace culture that appeal to those professionals (many of whom are Millennials) who can strengthen the innovative core of businesses. Recent big data studies (“big data” being a collection of large and complex data sets) in the human resources domain show that the individuals under the age of 30 (Millennials) are rejecting the prevailing definitions of “professional careers,” “work” and “peer-like collaborative communities.”
It is of paramount importance that, HR professionals will need to understand how to query talent analytics tools and use the available human capital data to predict the next generation of people strategies. Talent retention strategies serve two main basic functions:
- to attract, process, educate, empower, engage and retain valued employees,
- to enable optimal team performance.
Talent acquisition and retention at Google
Talent acquisition and retention at Google are considered strategic and mission-critical; the organizational culture that enhances the Google brand is based on design principles increasingly being recognized as enablers of employee innovation (Kelley & Kelley, 2013). In support of this line of thought Lev-Ram (2014), stated that CEOs who can come up with their twist on ‘Googleyness’– whether through internships, training programs, flexible hiring processes or transparency with employees – will probably have an easier time attracting rock stars.” The new collaborative design environment that seems to work well with Google’s strategic trajectory in attracting and retaining talent was described by Steiber (2011):
- An innovative and flexible culture and management system that replaces rules with guidelines, and commands with peer-oriented negotiating among associates across pay levels.
- A company strategy that values employees and customers equally and demonstrates this belief by selecting the best and treating those employees as main contributors by providing proper career opportunities and rewards, and trusting them with inside information.
- Encouraging and training managers at all levels to work with individuals inappropriate ways by tailoring mentoring and coaching activities and clearing away impediments.
- Balancing the emphasis on innovation and operational excellence by fostering the development of subcultures that are equally valued.
- Designing collaborative communities of professional peers learning from each other.
- The overall emphasis on having fun while serving the greater good.
- Extending strategic networks for externally developed technical innovations, forming cooperative alliances with leading universities/researchers, and investing in new technologies and ventures.
According to (Grace & Graen, 2014), the concept of collaborative design culture and its increasing importance to the global business may be unfamiliar to you; however, the popularity of design as an innovation method is driving change in organizations and therefore deserves the attention of Human Resources Practitioners.
Human resource executives are increasingly focused on technology enablers such as advanced analytics (the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in research data to enable critical decision-making), and, as a result, significant challenges exist for HR professionals in getting up-to-speed with these new tools and with regards to acquiring and retaining the talent needed for this dynamic new workspace. Therefore talent strategies require a multilevel approach with collaborative organizational design at the strategic and operational levels. So teams of professional managers and designers are needed to collaborate to identify what works, what to build and what to live with.
The advent of big data analytical techniques has made it possible to consolidate data pools across various data streams not previously accessible to many organizations. This disruptive technology now allows employees to create new intelligence for decision making, so what is assumed to be the fact in one company can be benchmarked against others with similar business models or industry reference. Many of the most critical questions that companies are beginning to ask about their talent strategies can't be fully answered without external perspectives. External talent data benchmarking lends context to internal talent data and provides insight into how talent strategies must evolve to support an organization’s strategic agenda.
Turnover research was advanced significantly by the development of the “unfolding model” (Allen, 2010). Unfolding assumes four different paths to quitting a job:
- better alternatives
- following a plan
- having no plan
It is a comprehensive approach that offers ways to detect which paths are pertinent for your unique workplace situation and recommends attraction and retention strategies that suit your organisation. Unfolding theory suggests ways HR professionals can redesign retention strategies to address this disconnect and enable young employees to see an attractive path in their future with their current employers. For instance, human resources practitioners should begin to assess the particular career paths available in their company for these target groups and systemically communicate these paths.
The innovative team approach is another strategy that can be used to attract and retain talented employees. Innovation teams are expected to encourage the individual expression of both intellect and personality in a Millennial-friendly culture of collaborating peers on a common mission (Graen & Schiemann, 2013). The innovation team culture is designed to become a haven to try new ideas and have fun in the process of experiential learning and helping the team succeed. Teams may achieve their full potential by engaging each other in \"leadership sharing.\" However, a transformation of teams into cultures attractive to Millennials may not happen without the proper intervention of HR professionals (Kaiser, Hogan & Craig, 2008). Teams may be taught by an HR instructor with a respected executive to clarify and validate the company’s expectations of leadership sharing.
In a nutshell, the building of a comprehensive set of innovation teams with complete sharing of leadership may be useful in transforming companies to become more likely to attract and retain the best. Finally, a more long-term program of successive, more inclusive innovation teams may be tailored for career growth and continued retention of the best talent. Any progressive organisation needs to design and make its organisation an innovative and employee retaining organisation.
Bock, L. (2011). Passion, not perks. Think-Insights-Google. Think Quarterly: The People Issue. Google Incorporated.
Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.