Employers having trouble landing top talentNews added by Benefits Pro on July 29, 2014

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By Dan Cook

The ongoing economic recovery has employers staffing up. But they’re having trouble landing the top guns, and future top guns, to spearhead their battle for the gold. Worse, even as they struggle to bring on new talent, many are losing their best performers, often to competitors.

That’s one of the major takeaways from a Towers Watson survey of 32,000 employees, and managers at 1,637 companies, in two separate studies. About a fifth of those surveyed were U.S.-based. TW asked both parties about hiring trends, and found that employers tend to be behind the curve in understanding what talented jobseekers, and current staffers, are looking for in a job these days.

Such findings offer yet more evidence that many companies have yet to come to grips with what it takes to build a talent-heavy organization. An MRINetwork survey strongly indicated that, in today’s talent hunt, talented jobseekers are in the driver’s seat and have high expectations of prospective employers.

“With talent mobility on the rise, employers need to understand what employees value if they are to succeed in attracting and retaining employees. Unfortunately, our surveys reveal a significant disconnect between employers and employees,” said Laura Sejen, managing director at Towers Watson, who led both surveys. “While employers recognize the importance of pay and career advancement as key reasons employees choose to join and stay with a company, they don’t place the same importance on another top attraction and retention driver: job security, or a key retention driver: trust and confidence in senior leadership.”

About half of responding companies said they were hiring at a faster pace than last year, with 15 percent saying the pace was much faster. Meantime, 35 percent said turnover was on the rise.

Against that backdrop, more than two-thirds of respondents said they were having trouble hiring proven top performers and those deemed potential corporate stars. Meantime, more than half said they were losing talented personnel, with many saying they weren’t sure why they couldn’t hang on to these current outperformers.

Maybe they should have asked better questions in the exit interviews.

Employees told Towers Watson that they were blocked in their current jobs and decided the only way up was out. More than four in 10 employees designated as top performers said they knew they’d have to find a new employer in order to advance their careers. Less than half said they worked for a company with effective senior leadership. Meantime, nearly half of employers agreed that their companies aren’t very good at providing advancement opportunities.

“Organizations continue to miss the mark when it comes to career development,” Sejen said. “Given how important career advancement opportunities are to employees, the fact that so many employees, and especially high potentials, feel stuck should serve as a wake-up call to employers to review their career development programs. Employees will have more opportunities to seek employment elsewhere as hiring activity continues to increase, and employers will be on the lookout for high-potential and top-performing employees.”

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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