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As a veteran search professional, I’ve seen the highs and lows of the labour market: from record unemployment to talent shortages and everything in between. Yet as we find ourselves in a unique global talent situation fueled by both the pandemic as well as social, political and economic shifts, this time things are different. Over the years, a solid compensation package has always been necessary to entice a candidate to move. A good base salary, bonuses, stocks and financial incentives such as pensions and RRSPs as well as solid health benefits were common and essential. But more and more we are seeing candidates with different motivating factors. While total compensation is still an important factor, we are seeing a significant shift in which candidates are seeking more of a total value proposition. So, what exactly does that mean?
The pandemic has shaken our foundations, pushing individuals at all stages of their career to reflect on what’s important to them in both life and work. We are seeing more and more candidates who are seeking greater connection and purpose in their roles — including those in the c-suite. Organizations that are actively recruiting should carefully consider how they present their vision, mission and values during the hiring process and look for innovative ways to promote who they are as an organization, what they stand for and why they do what they do. Important areas to highlight include corporate social responsibility efforts, brand reputation, workplace culture, commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as well as internal policies and initiatives that showcase your values in practice.
Flexibility is no longer a practice but a mindset. We are beyond simply discussing flexibility in terms of where you work. While we know that many candidates will be looking for an organization that offers some flexibility in terms of remote versus in office work, the equation goes further. Candidates are seeking flexibility in leadership style, in their role and responsibility, and in their benefits and compensation. We live in a world where employees are always connected to their jobs via a smart device in their pocket. Candidates are more interested in pursuing roles with organizations that embrace a flexible mindset, put career flexibility into practice through career management programs, and most importantly, trust them to perform and be productive in this new model.
Individuals want to work for an organization where they see themselves growing professionally, where they can foresee different options within their career path and opportunities for support and learning through executive coaching and leadership development. In addition, many executive candidates are looking for the opportunity to broaden the scope of their experience during their time with an organization and are attracted to roles that offer international exposure combined with global responsibility. Many Canadians want to work on the world stage and will factor that into their decision-making process. When meeting a new client to assess their recruitment needs, I always probe on their internal efforts to promote future career moves and leadership development options and help them weave that into their attraction strategy.
Open, frequent and transparent communication on both micro and macro levels is of the utmost importance to potential candidates. This expectation begins during the hiring process and should continue throughout the employee experience. Whether it is one-on-one performance discussions or firm-wide emails, people have come to expect a certain standard and rigor in the communication process. This goes for all forms of communication including verbal, written, and non-verbal as well as during online/video calls and meetings. Not only that, but candidates are also increasingly interested in being part of the conversation, having their voice and ideas heard and reflected in internal communications. Organizations with a robust internal communications plan with a variety of touchpoints and practices will be more appealing to candidates contemplating a new position.
While top talent wants to be rewarded and compensated for their skills, experience, and performance, they are increasingly searching for more when it comes to a job offer. In today’s competitive market, organizations must think critically about their attraction strategies and how to best position themselves to offer more through a well thought out, comprehensive package that goes beyond their financial needs and speaks to what a candidate truly values.