Instead of competing for talent, companies need to collaborate for talent. That was the number one argument made by talent acquisition leaders participating in Recruitment Interactive 2015 in Singapore today.

John Nolan, senior vice president of HR at Unilever, opened proceedings with a keynote on winning the war for talent.

He affirmed: “All of us need to come together to engage in an ecosystem, not to compete for talent, but to raise the quality and size of the available talent pool, to engage the capacity of people we have in our organisations.”

“You can’t get married unless somebody wants to marry you. So is the case for your company – why would anyone be attracted to work for your company? How do you differentiate your proposition to attract them?”

To answer that question, he took a page (or nine) from Unilever’s employer brand, sharing nine tips on building a strong employer brand to attract, and retain, the best talent.

Tip 1: Identify what your employer brand is. What differentiates it from the rest?

Tip 2: Get them young. “We go out into the universities and build a sustainable pipeline directly from there,” said Nolan.

Tip 3: Build careers.

Tip 4: Reward for performance.

Tip 5: “All the young talent joining our business today wants to be global – whether that means overseas assignments, being part of global projects, or short-term secondments,” he pointed out.

Tip 6: People are not longer prepared to wait for career progression, he noted. “The next generation is not like my generation. They want instant gratification.”

However, the issue is that most organisations today, he shared, are rooted in the old-fashioned notion of how long it takes to get to a certain job level.

ALSO READ: Building your employer brand with the Millennials

Tip 7: Diversity – a culture that embraces diversity in all its forms, including leadership styles.

Tip 8: Embrace social responsibility. In Nolan’s view, “You should be able to articiulate what it is you do that goes beyond, to improve the quality of life in society.”

It may be reducing waste in the supply chain or teaching in school, but companies need to be able to articulate that, so that when employees go to work they find a meaning in what they do, he affirmed.

Tip 9: A sense of values. Are the values that you install in your organisation keeping with the values of the generations of recruits you want in your organisation, he questioned the captive audience.

For Unilever, that one overarching value is “sustainability,” given that it was the basic premise behind setting up the organisation.

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