Impressing Talent Essential in Times of High Employment

Niall O’Callaghan, business and relationship development manager, IDA; Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber and Jenny Smyth, talents and rewards lead with Willis Tower Watson at the Shannon Chamber workshop. Photo: Eamon Ward

Increasing employment levels in Ireland is putting pressure on companies to put their best foot forward when seeking to attract talent to their organisations and forcing them to concentrate on and improve their employee value proposition (EVP).

That was the clear message emanating from a recent workshop organised by Shannon Chamber in conjunction with Willis Towers Watson, who conducted a global talent management and rewards survey in 29 markets, involving 21 million employees and 2,004 employers, the results of which were presented at the event.

A notable outcome from the survey, which focused on talent attraction and retention, talent mobility and the challenges facing human resources departments, was that many CEOs are not very clear about their EVP and need to understand that employees today need more than basic pay and conditions; they want engaging work and a degree of autonomy.

Talents and rewards lead with Willis Tower Watson, Jenny Smyth, addressing the event said: “Today’s employees expect more than pay, bonuses and benefits; they buy into a company’s culture, leadership and management style and the level of energy in the organisation and, millennials like everything personalised to them. They want communication and interpersonal engagement and this includes digital engagement. Job security in the new world of work is about giving employees a skill set and helping them to get career security,” she stated.

Talking about employee retention Ms Smyth said that while most organisations understand the importance of competitive base pay and career advancement opportunities, they do not recognise the importance of the physical work environment, job security and trust and confidence in senior leadership. They must realise that job security means different things to different people and organise themselves to take account of that.

“Employees with alternative and flexible work arrangements are more engaged and less likely to be retention risks,” she said advising companies throughout the region to develop an employee value proposition that’s real and relates to their value as an organisation.

“Don’t develop an EVP that’s nice to have,” she urged.

IDA Ireland’s business and relationship development manager, Mid-West, presenting at the workshop said that while currently on track to deliver its regional targets the Mid-West must continue to develop a pipeline of talent.

“To stand out as an employment option, companies need to differentiate themselves from the competition; they need to tell their story about their brand but be careful not to create a mismatch between their employee value proposition’s promise and the expectation,” he advised.

Commenting on the value of a workshop of this nature, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes said; “We have such great employers in the Mid-West who make a valuable contribution to the region and it is essential that we, as a Chamber, keep them up to date with the expectations of an increasingly discerning workforce. We were delighted to be able to work with Willis Towers Watson to present the findings of the 2016 Global Talent Management and Rewards and Global Workforce surveys. They offer great insights for companies in how to position themselves as employers of choice.”