'People First' organisations and understanding what employees really want.

As a recruiter I have met and interviewed thousands of people over the course of my career. I have worked with clients inside multinationals, corporates, independents and startups. While each business proclaims to have a different employment strategy, the truth is that many still focus on the bottom line above company purpose, people, culture and value. And that strategy does not attract the right people into your business. Long gone are the days of 'Madmen' where your EVP can be served up as an annual performance review, drinks on a Friday and a day off for your birthday. 

So, what do we need to do to attract talent and what is it that they want?

So, what do we need to do to attract talent and what is it that they want? 

I put that question to some top talent, and here is what they had to say:

I want to know the company’s purpose. Go ahead - give me the elevator pitch, it might convince me that I actually want to work here!

  • What kind of impact are you trying to make? What are you actually trying to do here? Will it have a positive effect and, if so, how? Does this align with my personal goals and aspirations?

  • Will I get an opportunity to do challenging work but to also challenge the status quo?

  • Can I have access to toolkits and methodologies that actively promote innovation/disruption?

  • Diversity vs Fit. If we all look and act the same, how will we progress?

  • What about continuous improvement – the ability to up skill, adapt and learn? You've got a professional development budget right?

Be serious about wellbeing, supporting me, and valuing my input

  •  With access to healthy habits, food, exercise, and robust mental health practices – you’ll get a better me. I can't be productive on stimulants and long work days/nights without sleep.

  • Flexibility. Yes, parents work too!

  • Remote working - at least some of the time. Have you seen the traffic and cost of parking these days?

  • Empathy - not just lip service - genuinely care about who I am.

  • Openness - let me have a voice. Value my critical thinking and questioning mind.

  • Make me feel valued, connected and heard.

  • Collaboration - yup you've all seen the old T.E.A.M motivational poster.

  • How will you measure my successes? And how will I be rewarded? 

  • Leadership - will you provide my managers with training or strategies to help me succeed?

Money isn’t everything – but are you going to compensate me fairly for what you asking me to do?

We all need to be better at supporting employees and really asking and listening to what they need. It isn’t rocket science, we just have to reset, reframe and put people at the top of our organisational priority.