85% of your organization's employees would leave tomorrow for a better opportunity.
My name is Victoria Evans and I am the Managing Executive at Argyll Scott, a boutique specialist headhunter here in Hong Kong. I am a professionally qualified member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and an Associate Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
I’m Mani and I manage our Human Resources and Accounting & Finance practice areas. With over 9 years recruitment experience, I have recruited over 200 professionals for a number of the largest blue-chip multinational organisations in the London, Beijing and Hong Kong markets to include BP, GE, Walmart, L’Oreal and Coca Cola. I specialise in supporting talent pipelining and bench strength projects as well as critical and strategic hiring.
Mani and I are headhunters. It is our job to actively pursue professionals in the market who are happy in their jobs, well paid, have satisfying roles and the opportunity to progress their careers internally. They are almost certainly not looking to move.
So how are we able to secure these top professionals for our clients?Whilst I would like to take all of the credit for this, unfortunately for me it is my clients who are able to offer opportunities that are attractive enough to tempt even the most steadfast, loyal employees!
We are here today to give you examples of what your competitors are doing to attract 85% of your staff…. and to offer you insight into what you can do to secure top talent for your organizations.
We are here today to give you examples of what your competitors are doing to attract 85% of your staff…. , and to offer you insight into what you can do to secure top talent for your organizations.
In a room filled with experienced HR professionals, we are not here to talk about the many factors that influence the workforce strategy, succession planning, retention etc. We will leave that to you and the other expert speakers here today.
What we can offer you is our experience and observations in the following areas.
What are the trends that we see in terms of candidates’ expectations, wants and needs when it comes to moving companies? Which companies are doing well at attracting top talent, and what are they doing differently? And finally, what could you do in your organization which would put you ahead of the curve in the war on talent?
So, what consistent messages are coming from the market today in relation to moving jobs?
A quick reference to the 85% I mentioned earlier. This is 2014 data from a global LinkedIn survey which studied, in part, both passive and active candidates.
12% of people were actively looking and 13% of people were casually looking (personally, a few times a week seems pretty active to me!) This is our active market.
Our passive market includes 15% reaching out to their personal network and a huge 45% being open to talking to a recruiter; that’s us – and with the increasing need for top talent, you can be sure we are presenting some pretty good options!
Firstly, let us define the three areas we will focus on today… Process, Influencers and Solutions
Firstly, let us define the three areas we will focus on today… Process, Influencers and Solutions
As we all know, to meet company objectives, organizations must source, attract, retain and develop the right people at the right time. We could talk about the myriad of variables affecting this but it would take weeks, and we only have 25 minutes!
Today, we are going to focus on attraction. What do top professionals look for from a potential new employer?
We can go back to our studies and discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and include safety and security etc. However, for the sake of this presentation and because the experiences and observations we will relate to are in the mid-senior management space, we will assume that by top talent we are referring to experienced hires with successful track records in their chosen field.
In our office, we speak to well over 300 people every day. For our candidates, a key question in our interview process is ‘what is the most important thing to you when considering a new opportunity? Clearly depending on the person’s family and financial situation, age, internal prospects, location etc, this will vary. Nevertheless there are key factors which consistently feature in their answers
Fixed Salary – not much need for explanation here, but please note this refers to the fixed portion of the salary, not a flexible remuneration package Brand Reputation – is the brand prestigious enough? Do they want your name on their CV? Will they be proud to say they work for you? Products & Projects – this related to the daily tasks – the role and project itself or the product they will be representing Training & Development – what direction will the individual be headed in their career if they join you? Benefits / Work Life balance – these are the ‘perks’ of the role and company. The nice to haves that make the difference Management / People – who will they report to? Who will report to them? Do they like the team? Are the management supportive? Does your CEO have a good reputation? Core Values / Culture – do you promote having an enjoyable work environment? Do people want to spend 50% of their waking working week in your company?
How will we prepare for these demands as the need for top talent increases?
Now, I’m not one for relying on just one source of data, so I’d like to refer to a recent presentation by Rainer Stack, the MD of Boston Consulting Group and a recognized global thought leader in HR.
Rainer and his team found that out of a list of 26 topics, fixed salary was only no. 8 in the rankings. And the top 4 topics were all around culture
These results are from a BCG survey of over 200,000 job seekers in 189 countries. Again, not wanting to put all of my faith in one source, we had a quick look on Glassdoor last week.
For those of you who don’t know, Glassdoor is an interactive, user populated website which collates reviews of employees and ex-employees’ organsiations, and rates them using a 5 star system. Think of it like open rice, but for employees not foodies!
We searched the top ten highest ranked places to work in Hong Kong, and these are the results…
In the top ten ranked employers; four universities featured, two banks, two technology companies, a consulting firm and an FS media provider.
So what are these companies doing differently?
These quotes are taken directly from Glassdoor and relate to the companies in the top ten, as well as other organization’s positive points. We picked the first quote on the first page of each of the top companies on the list – so these are effectively random quotes. As you can see, culture features heavily in these themes.
We asked some of our current candidates to expand on this. How would you rate your present organization, and / or how would you judge a potential new employer on culture? Surely you would need to be ‘living the life’ before you could tell if a firm had the right cultural fit?
XX, working for a developer in China told me – “remuneration is important obviously, I want to be paid what I am worth. But I can always move for more money, especially in China. However I want to be happy, I spend more time at work than I do at home. This is worth more to me than a few thousand extra dollars per month”
XX, at a service provider in Hong Kong said – “I am older now and want to spend more time with my wife, who has been unwell. My next employer must have a good work life balance and an understanding that I may need to be flexible with my hours at times, to assist my wife. I will still work hard, but need to be appreciated for that and rewarded by offering flexibility and trust that I will get the work done no matter what”
XX, working for an recruitment company in Hong Kong said – “I joined my current company because I felt that they offered something different, that at the time my other offers didn’t match – a better attitude towards the health and wellbeing of its employees. They covered my gym costs and allowed an extra 15 minutes for lunch on days that you were attending a health or wellbeing class. They also provide free fruit to the office and supported an extra 2 days of leave if participating in a charity event. They even gave free in-office massages once a month. I actually turned down a better salary to come here; not because these items added up to more for my package, but because it bred a culture of sharing and a relaxed working environment that meant people were more productive and friendly on a day to day basis”
XX, who has been offered a role in a sales organization in Hong Kong reported – ‘ I’m interested in the offer because of the manager. We’ve been getting on so well from day one and at no point did I feel that I was being grilled for the position. He was selling me the job! It made me feel special and unique and that I would be appreciated if I join them. None of the other companies I have interviewed with have done this”
With these themes in mind, we chose just four aspects that top candidates consider when moving to a new company, and in the next couple of slides we will show you what our clients do to address these points and stay ahead of the game.
Remuneration / Package
Work Life Balance
Training & Development
When I ask my candidates “if you could work for any company in the world, who would it be?,” one brand in particular is repeatedly shown as an employer of choice.
However, when I ask them why they would like to work for Google, the answer I receive is ‘because everyone knows it’s a great place to work’. Now, it seems that Google is a great place to work… with Glassdoor globally reporting that 93% of people would recommend working there to a friend… pretty impressive! However, do you actually know what Google does to attract these people?
I’ll tell you…
Google offers free food onsite three times a day. They have mini kitchens, and readily available snacks and drinks at all times. They also have free self service laundry and washer driers. A bowling alley. A volleyball pit. A custom built employee-use-only sports park (MTV campus), free health and fitness assessments. Employees report comfortable working spaces, breakout and ‘focus’ areas to collaborate with colleagues. They have flexible working hours for engineers. They rave about the amazing holiday parties at the Waldorf Astoria, overnight ski trips to Vermont, picnics in Chelsea. The company is doing well and rewards its employees with bonuses and equity grants. Google is open and flexible and the culture is innovative, forward thinking, creative and fun. They are even DOG FRIENDLY!
In practice, Google has done a pretty good job at keeping their employees on site for the maximum amount of time… a voluntary prison sentence almost! But from this they have cultivated a brand that is now synonymous with being a fantastic place to work. . That is some serious marketing power!
The benefits and care of employees is obviously world class, and compensation is almost unmatchable. But the company attracts some of the best talent and best people to work with in the world, which is the most important bit. Success breeds success.
A frightening fact. Whenever I take a job brief from a client I ask them why a candidate should join them over anyone else. I can honestly tell you that over half of the people I ask, both line managers and HR, do not have a USP or even a differentiating factor around why someone should join them. Some don’t even know why they joined themselves! As a recruiter, this makes it nigh impossible to sell a role to someone!
So what are some of our clients doing, something a bit closer to home that we can all relate to…
So what are some of our clients doing, something a bit closer to home that we can all related to…
Lane Crawford – Firstly I’d like to talk about Lane Crawford, a HK based retailer who now have their Head Office located near Aberdeen. They had to overcome retaining existing staff as well as still be able to attract the best talent, despite being in an undesirable working location, with the MTR not yet open.
As well as offering the shuttle bus which many organizations in similar locations offer, they placed great importance on a range of flexible benefits which placed focus on the wellbeing of their staff. In addition to offering competitive salaries, they developed various social clubs and recreational activities which include massages and a yoga studio on site.
In addition, they place great importance on staff development creating the Lane Crawford Academy proving classroom on and off job training, e-learning and supporting emerging talent through sponsorship at leading fashion and design colleges.
To quote one of their employees, “I joined Lane Crawford because of the wonderful team of experts - I love the endless possibilities at Lane Crawford”
DFS – DFS were awarded the prestigious LinkedIn Award which assessed them on two core elements – Talent Brand reach (in other words, how their brand engaged through employee profile views) and Talen Brand Engagement (meaning the amount of research redirecting to their main site and the number of job application views). They have successfully grown their number of followers from 6,000 in 2013 to more than 25,000 in less than two years.
Whilst I don’t want to mention Social Media too much with the upcoming discussions later today, what this has allowed them to do is raise their company profile in relation to being a positive employer, and attract top talent due to their visibility.
L’Oreal – Another fine example of Social Media use, L’Oreal has given access to a video online to showcase and offer insight to their organisation globally. This allows them to reach diverse talent and show you first hand why it is an inspiring and exciting place to work.
In addition to this, and almost more powerful, was L’Oreal’s approach to working with their recruitment partners. They gave full access to company information, expansion plans, full organisational structure, USPs and values etc, in a group, open forum. This has meant that they receive buy in from their partners and enables recruiters to really sell to potential new hires what the benefits of joining the company would be, as well as receive honest feedback on their desirability to candidates in the market. This level of trust has certainly given them an edge over other recruitment methods.
EC Harris – The Regional Head of Recruitment, XX told me about their new internal employees referral scheme. It’s a monetary scheme that incentivizes referrals for friends and associates into the business. I am sure many of you may have similar schemes. In the three years this has been running, they have increased their employee referrals to in 2014, count for 28% of hires in Asia. It is still an open and transparent recruitment process, but the source is internal. She said this ensures that peers and colleagues have a say into who is joining the business which helps to maintain their company culture. From a new candidate point of view, a recommendation from someone you trust is an extremely attractive proposition because they feel it eliminates some of the risk of whether or not they will ‘fit in’. In addition, EC Harris have a robust Development Programme for identified Top Talent from Day 1 – and they tell candidates about it from the early interview stages to engage them and present the opportunities for career growth beyond the job they are actually applying for. These programmes are internal, but also involve external speakers and help to map an individual's career and ensure they stay top talent in the future.
Moveplan – Moveplan is a small project management led business of less than 20 employees in HK that could find it difficult to attract top talent when competitors are also in the running. Therefore they have viewed Top Talent slightly differently. Recent hires include exceptional performers in other industries who were looking to make a change. They were able to secure these people at a competitive salary due to the sideways step and were appreciated as an employer for taking a chance on someone who had the transferable skills but required the support and training to develop into the specifics of the industry. This has bred loyalty in their employees and a diverse range of working styles which means Moveplan stays at the forefront of innovation with their clients due to a combination of working practices and high achievements blended into one team.
C&W – I asked the Director and Head of Account Management HK, XX at Cushmans what she felt her company USP was. She told me empowerment. Having worked with them for a number of years, I had evidence of this so I asked her what specifically she does to promote this. She said to me “Cushmans doesn’t just sell that we empower people, we actually do it. I am so comfortable that my team lives the same values that the company promotes that when I interview candidates, if they are progressing down the line I offer them the chance to call up any one of our team and ask them what it is like to work here. Potential new employees appreciate the transparency and it also engages them from an early stage, rather than them walking in on day one not knowing anyone. This has been a major factor in securing top talent for us. It’s not just me and HR and senior management ‘selling the dream’ – they can see we actually live it!”
HKUST – After seeing UST at the top of Glassdoor, I could completely see why. Personally, this is my first time working with the organization on a project. However, what I have been most impressed by is that from the very first day I met them – and with it being public sector I have met a LOT of people! – every single person without exception has clearly been on the same page. They breathe the same values. They love their community. They are all aiming to achieve the same goal. This results in a close knit community feel that is supportive and driven rather than stifling.
I asked one of their Senior Managers in HR what she felt made UST a great place to work for her. In addition to the work environment being in a beautiful setting, she said their main selling point is that they want every single one of their employees to be engaged and innovative and driving for the same purpose. They aren’t afraid of challenges and they are prepared to empower their staff to try new things. They allow every one of their employees to vote and participate in the UST culture. She said she loves the people and the supportive senior management.
UST is someone that I as a recruiting partner have bought into from an early stage. This makes it easy to present the opportunity to top talent because I believe in it too! As a University, the goal is to hire the very best Global talent every time. They don’t want second best. They are under pressure to compete not just with HK organizations. Not just Universities in the region; but all high achieving organizations across the world. With that purpose, and with everyone knowing their place in the big scheme of things, they are able to achieve these goals.
These are just a few examples and I am sure there is little that is groundbreaking to you here. But are your organizations living it? Are your employees ambassadors of your brand? Are you shouting about your successes and if not, why not?
We put some thought into how to sum up what makes an Employer of Choice and came up with the following.
Agility – be flexible to suit the top talent that you are hiring for your sector, the working discipline and candidate profile. Who specifically are you targeting? What is attractive to them? What if you cant find the exact candidate match – will you be flexible to accommodate Top Talent from other sectors and train them to be Top Talent in yours? For the first time ever, we will be facing 5 generations in the workplace at the same time from interns and graduates up to contracting retirees. These people are not motivated in the same way .
Advertise – if you’re doing something well – SHOUT ABOUT IT! Tell the world! Do your employees know that you won an Award for excellence? Do they know that Marketing all went on a company paid trip to Macau for completion of an exceptional project? Do all of your employees know that you have the most robust management training in your sector? Do they TELL their friends and associates? Are you using this in your marketing and advertising to attract the best talent?
Adopt – make sure you have your brand ambassadors. These could be recruitment partners, managers, HR, marketing, employees, contractors, service providers, clients. Any stakeholder you do business with or has any connection to you organization should know what you do well.
I’d like to conclude by saying that you cant please all of the people all of the time, but with the changing face of talent availability in the coming years you’ll need to be pleasing the best of them!
Market Trends - What's important to Top Talent in Asia
DATE: 9 January, 2015
Argyll Scott Hong Kong
Mani Rakhra & Victoria Evans
MARKET TRENDS : WHAT’S
IMPORTANT TO TOP TALENT IN ASIA
ARGYLL SCOTT 9-JAN-2015
Core Values / Culture
Management / People
Benefits / Work-Life Balance
Training / Development
Products & Projects
Brand / Reputation
How do we prepare for this?
ARGYLL SCOTT 9-JAN-2015
“Good culture, good
compensation is good”
from a variety of
eagerness to share
“Continuous learning opportunity’’
with a lot of
‘’Engaging and brilliant colleagues..
It's truly one global network with
strong people culture.. ‘’
“Its a great
experience to be
professionals in a
“Good benefit, friendly and supportive
culture, sometimes you feel like being at
• REMUNERATION /
• WORK-LIFE BALANCE
• TRAINING &