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Attracting and Transforming Talent in an Evolving Market

During a recent digital roundtable hosted by Softtek, leaders from diverse industries including automotive, insurance, human resources and finance all agreed that finding skilled talent is important for any business and it’s not getting any easier. An evolving market puts stress not only on attracting the right talent but also keeping it. Leaders from GM Financial, Korn Ferry, Nissan Mexico and MAPFRE USA  dove into this issue and how their companies are tackling it head on to ensure they have the talent they need to remain successful.


Attracting employees, especially in the IT industry, is becoming increasingly challenging. Employers are having to use different tactics, including sign-on bonuses, social media recruiting and accelerated hiring processes to bring in top talent into their organizations. Thomas Sweet, the VP of Cloud Services at GM Financial, cited getting managers like himself participating in the hiring process and making a personal connection with each applicant has made a positive impact. Working with company recruiters to, “identify what I find as really great talent and to engage with the recruiter on LinkedIn”, benefits both Tom and the recruiter to determine who would be a good fit for the role and team.  Candidates want to know who they will be working with and reporting to. Mangers who take part in this first phase demonstrate a positive company culture that is employee-centric.
Nissan’s recruitment difficulties stem from the specialized talent that their organizations seek. As this automotive giant is advancing, so are their needs. Arturo Brake, CIO of Nissan Mexico, stated they are seeking candidates with higher level certifications especially within the tech industry. The best approach they have found so far for their employee storage is by partnering with recruitment agencies, “we didn’t have the bandwidth internally as an organization and in a way our HR teams were not ready to go out and search for those very specific profiles that we were looking for, so we had to partner with these specialized recruitment agencies.” They are also revamping their organizational culture with the goal of not always pursuing talent, but having talent come to them. 


After hiring qualified candidates many companies may think that the hard part is over, but that is simply not the case; the work has just begun. What is the point of using talent recruitment tactics and going through the hiring process just to have that individual leave less than a year after? Retention is becoming just as important and complex as getting them in [your office] door. Mark Polansky, Sr Partner, Technology Officers Executive Search at Korn Ferry, suggested leaders ask and understand employees’ goals and objectives stating, “The importance of knowing what each individual is looking for guides and informs the development path of each one.” Assuming can lead to misunderstandings and misconceptions of what the employee actually wants, which often results in unneeded friction.
Tom mentioned engaging one-on-one and addressing concerns as soon as they come up is an efficient way to stay on the same page as your employees allowing them to feel heard. Another suggestion that Pepe Velasquez, EVP of Human Resources for MAPFRE USA gave was teams utilizing strategic planning. “We have close to 18 months where we are defining our strategy planning in an agile way. That means we have strategy pillars, we have targets, and all the initiatives are managed in a portfolio base,” says Pepe. He explains that this may consist of adapting to company and employee needs, which can range from creating multidisciplinary teams to further segmenting roles.


Developing your talent is an effective way to keep your people motivated. For IT professionals especially, it is important to provide continuous training. The tech industry is constantly evolving and keeping your employees up to date on the trends and technology is essential for company competitiveness and personal growth. This reduces hand-off delays which allows for higher productivity and performance.
An interesting model that Tom and his team are using to ensure employment development at GM Financial has to do with following ADKAR: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Action and Reinforcement. This change management model allows employees to understand why change is happening especially when companies are undergoing transformation. Desire can’t be forced; an employee has to want it and willingly utilize the tools that the employer is providing to develop themselves and remain relevant within the organization. Arturo added, “today what I see is we just keep raising the bar, we keep asking employees to deliver more with less, we really need to take the time to set expectations on what raising the bar actually means.” This allows employees the opportunity to ask questions and know what to expect and is what Arturo says is helping his team to feel included with these changes.
No matter what process of the employment cycle you and your team are in, it is important to think about the future. What will your organization need from employees in order to evolve? Does that mean hiring new people or transforming the talent you already have? The answers to these questions will vary from team to team. A great leader will listen to their team and make the necessary accommodations to not only develop high-performing teams but also get top talent in the door.
To watch the full recoding and hear for yourself what these business leaders have to say about attracting and retaining talent in today’s evolving market, click here.

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