There’s a premium on highly skilled professionals –
especially on those capable of innovating change. Even during a pandemic, the
most talented candidates have options, and unless your organization is on the
forefront, those candidates are going to choose another organization.
Dean Daniel Pullin teaches innovation at the TCU Neeley
School of Business, and in the October 2020 EMBA preview webinar, he shared how
to apply innovation principles to the challenge of attracting and retaining
great talent. Check out his top five focus points.
It’s about more than just the bottom line. You need more than a competitive
salary to attract Millennial and Gen Z talent. They are thinking about the
amount of time they are going to invest in their work, on a daily basis as well
throughout their lives, and they want to know they’re doing something that
makes a difference for humanity. Attracting these candidates may mean changing
something about the way you do business (e.g. finding ways to go green) or it
may simply mean reframing the way you talk about your mission, products or
services, focusing more on how you benefit customers and the community.
Look for ways you can allow personalization in the way your employees work.
Even before the pandemic, many leading companies were taking a long look toward
telecommuting, and the pandemic has afforded us all a grand experiment in this
area. It may be time to consider whether you even need the overhead of a
physical building. But be sure to consider ways individual employees can
customize the work environment to their needs. Some people may work better from
home; some may still want an office that allows them to focus on work away from
the distractions of home.
This should be a core competency of your entire organization; not just the IT
department. It should be in HR, the C-suite, marketing and beyond. What new technology
can improve productivity? How can you streamline communication with your team
or reach your customers where they are? Think about it both internally (e.g. project
management software, digital onboarding) and externally (a stronger social
media presence, a chat function on your website).
excellence. Diversity, equity and inclusion are increasingly important,
especially as the country’s demographic changes and the global supply chain is
more and more connected. That doesn’t only mean diversity of ethnicities or
sexes, but also diversity of backgrounds, viewpoints and ideas. The more
viewpoints you include, the better chances you have of finding the right
solution for any given challenge. The more diverse team, the better you will be
able to relate to an increasingly diverse customer base. Any good candidate
will need to be a culturally competent leader, and to attract those candidates,
it will take an organization that embraces inclusion as the path to excellence.
Think about how you represent your company online, on social media, with
influencers and on sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. Know how that message
will be interpreted by Gen Z and Millennials. These generations want the
straight scoop. They value authenticity and the unvarnished truth about your
purpose, about what they are signing up for, about what you value in an
employee and what you don’t. Transparency, even about the parts of the job that
seem less than attractive, will lend you a lot of credibility with this
An important note about Gen Z vs. Millennials
Both Gen Z and Millennials value purpose and are looking for
meaningful work, but Gen Z is a little different. Their lives have been
bookended by two major economic crises, between the 2008-2009 recession and the
2020 pandemic. Many have seen their parents laid off; many have seen some of
their own job opportunities vanish. This makes Gen Z more risk averse than
Millennials. They will be looking for those salary and benefits packages, and
may be willing to adjust to different working circumstances if they feel the
organization offers more certainty for their career. That’s another instance
when transparency can help you.
Long- and short-term priorities
While your short-term priority for the pandemic may be
stabilizing your organization and making some tough decisions to maintain
viability, your next priority should be a strategy for long term success, and
that’s going to include both innovation and great talent; key components
that work hand in hand to carry your
organization well into the future.
Liked this? Attend our next webinar
for more insights from an EMBA faculty member, and a chance to ask questions of
current students and alumni.