Attracting talent

The talent hunt in professional services


by Wouter Bakker

There is a supply-demand problem in the professional services sector when it comes to hiring qualified employees. Employees are in high demand, but the rise of tech companies means that landing the right employee requires taking part in fierce competition, with a heavy emphasis on the increasingly important millennial generation.

This competition revolves around three focal points:

  1. Attracting talent
  2. Engaging talent
  3. Retaining talent

What can you do to to give yourself the advantage when it comes to hiring the most qualified personnel for your organization? And how does strong leadership play in to attracting, engaging, and retaining talent?

Attracting talent

Millennials are the first generation to use the word “fun” when describing an attractive job. That’s a game-changing fact.

The incoming generation of employees no longer dedicates its life to work, even going beyond a “work to live” mentality. Millennials want fun, meaningful work. This demand calls for genuine integrity in organisational goals — that you are doing good for the world, and that you really care about improving society. A Deloitte study shows that 56% of millennials have “ruled out ever working for a particular organization because of its values or standard of conduct.” Additionally, 49% have “chosen not to undertake a task at work because it went against their personal values or ethics.”

In short, millennials want to work for a company that does the right thing — not because of the potential for financial gain, but because what’s right is right. It’s especially easy to get caught up in the “money” aspect of a professional service job, but doing the right thing and financial success aren’t mutually exclusive. Implemented correctly, and with purpose, they are symbiotic, fuelling each other.

Engaging talent

Keeping your employees interested and passionate goes hand-in-hand with getting them on board with your organization. Whatever it was that initially attracted them must not be a shallow endeavor. A KPMG UK study reveals that 63% of millennials expect their employers to contribute to a social cause, while a Deloitte study shows that 87% believe that “the success of a business should be measured in more than just its financial performance.”

Going further, the millennial generation very much wants to contribute to the positive impact their organization has on the world. Allowing them to take part in your efforts will ensure that your employees are successful and engaged.

Retaining talent

Engaged employees are long-term employees. Millennials, in particular, are a tough group to wrangle — 44% expect to leave their particular company within two years. Not only is this bad for your overall culture’s morale, it’s also bad for business.  The good news, though, is that when their needs are met, millennials, can also be very loyal.

What can business leaders do?

It is very interesting to see that the topic of purpose is being fueled by a bottom-up demand of employees (and customers!). There is a big opportunity for business leaders to meet these demands by supporting them from the top.

Purpose works top-down, as well as bottom-up. You want to empower your employees to innovate and find their own purpose, while supporting the organisation with genuinely positive stories about employees’ work experience.

Professional services organizations are in an important, unique position. They are poised to support the global economy on its journey to become more sustainable. Adoption of this new economic order will determine future winners.