Throughout history access to certain resources resulted in particular people, groups or organisations being more empowered than others. During feudal times, it was access to land that gave people status and power. During the industrial revolution, having access to machinery ensured an entrepreneur’s success and competitive advantage. With the victory of capitalism, access to capital has given certain companies or organizations superiority and, in more recent times, access to technology has led to the success of some to the expense of others.
Today, however, we are moving into a new era, a knowledge economy, where access to the best knowledge will be the defining factor in whether businesses are successful or not. In a knowledge economy, it is people and access to the finest people that will give certain companies or organisations a competitive advantage over others. The ability to attract and retain top talent has been identified as a key strategic priority by some of the most successful organisations in the world.
Google is known for only recruiting the brightest and most innovative talent out there. According to Mark Weinberger, the global CEO of EY, “Many companies say that people are their greatest asset. But at EY, our people are our only asset.” His statement confirms the importance of attracting the right talent.
In the South African context of a massive skills shortage as well as an outflow of talent in the form of a brain drain, being able to attract and retain top talent will, in the short term, be a key determining factor in whether a business is successful or not.
With the accelerated pace of change, resulting from the information age, major shifts in the preferences and expectations of talent occur much faster. People have access to such a wealth of information and data about companies and what they offer as employers that career seekers are making highly informed decisions about where they would like to work.
Companies, therefore, can only really future-proof their businesses by making data driven decisions about what and where to communicate their employer offering to potential future talent. With the shift from a culture centric approach to a values-driven one, the ability to formulate and communicate a company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) will impact how much the talent market knows about an organisation and whether they find the organisation attractive enough to want to work there.
As we move into a more knowledge-based economy in South Africa, organisations that identify people as their most important asset and work strategically to attract and retain the best people will move ahead of the curve. Companies that fail to adopt the same approach, however, will start to lag further and further behind.
Which route is your organization taking? Is it leading the way to a bright and prosperous future? Or is it on the verge of vanishing?