The 4 big talent trends set to continue in 2017

Written by Andrew MacAskill on Dec 09, 2016

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2016 has been an exciting year for the talent industry with companies big and small competing for game changing leaders across a global talent marketplace.

Running EO, a disruptive and fast growing executive search business, is a privilege because I get to look “under the bonnet” at how businesses are tackling the challenge of attracting and retaining top leaders and consult with them to ensure they have a competitive advantage.

The changing social demographics, economic climate and wrath of new entrants into most markets make enticing and securing candidates with the right skills and (most importantly) attitudes a key objective for any board in 2017.

As most of us are now planning for 2017, I thought I would share the key insights that our teams are seeing in the talent industry to help shape your own thoughts and talent strategies for the new year.

TREND 1 – Companies upping the ante on retention and succession 

As a leadership team you need to have proactive talent retention strategies in place and have at least 80% internal succession coverage for all business-critical roles as a key 2017 KPI.  Measuring your employee engagement will be vital to your success and businesses will continue to further understand that their team are without doubt their most valuable customers.

Competition is fierce so this trend will also hamper your ability to hire externally as when individuals hand in their notice counter offers from the current employers are now accepted as the new norm.

We predict that there will be more candidates “bought back” and retained through a counter offer by their current employer in 2017 than in any year prior.  

Investment in retention is paramount but you should also build your own counter offer contingency fund into your 2017 budget. This ensures that you are agile and able to react when the business is faced with a damaging resignation surprise.  

TREND 2 – Culture trumping strategy

Top talent always thrives in productive, progressive and value based cultures. In 2017 many more companies will continue their journey to becoming a “Culture Club” (more on how to achieve that in this blog. The trend of investing in cultural initiatives, providing balance, understanding well being and the breaking down of traditional bureaucratic work structures will be constant in the marketplace.

The prevalence of authentic and open communication will continue as businesses try to build cultures of trust and understanding.

TREND 3 – Workforce agility as a competitive advantage

The excellent 2016 Deloitte Human Capital survey discusses the changing shape of organisations in their bid to become more agile. As we enter the new year the market is rife with transformation, as businesses get themselves lean, fit and flat.

We are undertaking extensive partnering in response to client demand for placing Interim Executives, Interim Project Teams and Interim advisors, to allow businesses to flex and react to market conditions and future opportunities. 

TREND 4 – Hiring on more than just CV

We have long championed this approach at EO and expect the focus of selecting candidates based on behavioural and cultural alignment to continue. Subsequently, 2017 will bring more innovative uses of data, testing and assessments to identify not just those candidates that could do the job but those who will do the job.

The trend of moving away from matching CV’s to JD’s and instead matching business people to business problems will accelerate throughout the next 12 months.

So, there are exciting times if you can get it right but you will get left behind quickly if your talent strategy isn’t evolving.  Reach out to discuss further: andrew.macaskill@executivesonline.co.uk

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