Corporate Alumni Employee Engagement Offboarding Strategy

How do you attract and retain talent in a hyper-competitive work landscape? We spoke with keynote speaker, lecturer and executive coach, Fiona Buckley, to find out about the top trends shaping and disrupting the world of HR.

1 – Top talent is hard to find 

It’s no secret  – it’s no longer easy to find, attract and retain talent. “The talent shortage has been in the pipeline for years, but companies who haven’t done anything yet are really starting to suffer,” Fiona says.

“Some companies have been ahead of the curve though. They’re asking: What are we doing to promote internal talent and mobility to make sure they’re staying?”

Your top talent may already be in your organisation and ready for a change. Why not see if a current employee has the potential and passion to fill a role that’s challenging to find talent for? 

2 – It’s all about retention

The world of work is changing, with workers becoming increasingly interested in more challenges at a faster pace.

“Following on from the talent shortage, the second biggest trend, I believe, is how to attract and retain talent,” Fiona says.

How can you ensure your people want to stay with you? Keeping your millennial talent engaged is becoming increasingly difficult, with three-quarters of millennials in Ireland saying they’d like to move on from their company within five years.

“People will stay if they have an opportunity to progress within an organisation, if they’re given significant challenge and if their careers are taken seriously.”

This may be a move to another country, a lateral move internally or a stretch assignment or project that can accelerate career growth and provide challenge.

3 – Great expectations just got greater

People simply aren’t putting up with the things they used to put up with years ago. They’re handing in their notice now no problem,” Fiona says.

She highlights that organisations have done great work on employee engagement, but that HR needs to own a practical retention strategy.

“We need to revive the exit interview. The data captured from here is gold dust to an organisation,” she says. “It can’t be just a tick-the-box exercise. We need to ask the right questions, digging in deeper into the real reasons why people are leaving.”

Fiona advises that third-party exit interviews are invaluable because people are more likely to be honest when leaving your company. “It’s much more effective because it’s not your boss, it’s not HR and you don’t have to sugar coat anything.”

4 – Talking about my generation 

There can be up to five different generations working within your organisation. Each generation might want something different in their working environment. Are you meeting their needs?

“Newer generations aren’t willing to work until midnight and they’re right,” Fiona advises. “Work-life balance used to mean people balancing both family and work”.

There’s a new concept now called self balance. It’s about the balance in your own head, that you’re living a healthy lifestyle and working appropriate work hours. It’s also about giving people the opportunity to  work from home and be mobile.”

Generation Z, who are tipped to be more entrepreneurial in work ethic, may end up moving away from the permanent job type roles into contract and project work.

“It’ll be important to create a culture where organisations are more lean. There’ll be less managers because we won’t need as many layers – Gen Z doesn’t need it as they’ll be self-managing.”

Check out these 5 Tips to Integrate the Different Generations

5 – Are you a top manager? 

While there may be less people managers in future organisations, they’ll need to be stellar at what they do. “A trend I’m now seeing is the pressure for managers to be excellent,” Fiona says. “If they’re not, people won’t be willing to put up with it.”

1 in 2 employees are still leaving organisations because of their managers so managers play a key role in engaging employees and making sure they’re happy (Gallup, 2015).

Fiona identified that a key trend around promotions is that they may be based on innovation and creativity in the future rather than seniority. Managers need to keep an eye on who their innovators are and reward them for it in line with a growth mindset.

6 –  Performance management needs to change

“Performance management and succession systems are still becoming increasingly outdated,” Fiona highlights. Some companies have even abandoned the traditional annual review and performance ratings.

If you have a formal process and procedure in place, you’re “missing out on some of the really creative individuals in the organisation for succession planning.” It’s useful to look at a different type of talent system to make sure that top talent and innovative individuals have an opportunity to show what they can achieve.

If you encourage people in your organisation to have a growth mindset and to be promoted based on their great new ideas and opportunities, they will flourish – and you can attract and retain talent.

Fiona is a corporate trainer, executive coach and event speaker in the area of work behaviour.  She has over 15 years corporate experience in a variety of roles in the fields of HR, Sales and Professional Services.


Laura Belyea