Skills gaps are growing, talent pools are increasingly transient, one in eight graduate job offers are turned down or reneged upon, and the average role duration is just 18 months. On average, organisations spend £7k attracting and developing each graduate talent. A third of the workforce are millennials, and 66% of them are said to be engaged in work created by the gig economy. To secure the talent needed to drive organisations ahead, it’s clear that we need to think long and hard about how to attract, retain and develop talent.
Do we need to disrupt the traditional model of ‘hire and grow in the footprints of others’?
According to London Business School, today’s talent is attracted first and foremost to the companies whose values match their own. Purpose also tops their agenda, as they choose to work for organisations that create meaningful, purposeful and inclusive work. As Paul Polman, exiting CEO of Unilever, describes: “You need to have something where you have an impact and that aligns with your values. It will drive your passion. People’s self-worth should not be measured by their net worth.”
This is a generation who have grown up in a society struggling to cope with over consumption, climate crisis, an environment suffocating in plastic and mental health issues at an all-time high. They have watched a wave of organisations struggle in their failure to understand and meet the needs of consumers, and to consider and accommodate the behaviours and belief systems of the next-gen population.
This is a generation that is committed to standing up and standing out
In less than 10 years’ time, we can expect an entirely new era of organisational leadership. Leaders will act with an increasing sense of responsibility and will make decisions with a heightened awareness of their environmental, social and political impact. This new generation of leaders are disputing old norms and transforming society, focused not on money, but on making a difference both in the workplace and the wider world.
Speaking on the future of work, Professor Lynda Gratton reflected on what previously motivated people to work: ‘I work to buy stuff that makes me happy!’ She then compared this to the new motivator, which will increasingly be: ‘I work to make me happy!’ Gratton highlights the importance for organisations to think about work itself as being ‘the thing’ that drives purpose, rather than the money earned from it. However, she admits that currently she doesn’t see many companies grasping quite how profound this change will be.
The younger generation is also putting their money where their mouths are as consumers, choosing to support businesses that have a positive impact on society and the environment, even if it means forking out more for their goods. Educational and business practitioners today will vouch for the fact that this generation does not hesitate to lessen or end a consumer relationship when they disagree with a company’s business practices, values or political leanings.
Organisations can learn a lot from today’s next generation of leaders, with their native digital fluency and knowledge of what success and the future of work will come to look like, as well as what the next generation of consumers want. It is the organisations that are able to engage and provide purposeful work for all generations that will attract and retain the key talent who will become their future leaders and drive the company’s long-term success.
Sam Williams - Consultant and Emerging Talent Lead at Impact