By Robin Gadsby, the CEO at Forever Beta Group
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, once said: “The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”
Apple then changed that world. By hiring those people.
The companies that adopt the same mindset will be those who lead us through our current challenges.
Yeah, I know. It’s a little hackneyed to quote Steve Jobs. But that quote is 8 years old. And the ethos that inspired it must be almost forty. And, given the current circumstances, it has never felt so relevant. Life begins, and all that.
We’re all now very aware of the problems 2020 has caused. And we also know businesses and brands have a massive part to play in fixing them. What we don’t seem to have worked out, is how to do it.
But the ones who do work it out will be the ones with the very best talent. So here are some ways to snag those company changing people.
Inspiring creative missions, not lining shareholder pockets
In 2016 a study found that 75% of Millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. While the events of 2020 may have made job security a higher priority, the impact of a global pandemic, Black Lives Matters and climate protests have further raised the importance of social issues in people’s employment choices.
Indeed, the recruiters I speak to regularly report two questions being asked far more frequently now: how is the company making a positive impact on society and how can individual employees make their own social impact at the company?
With a rising generation of socially aware talent working at distributed organisations in the midst of so many acute social crises, the most successful companies will be those who are able to demonstrate they are more than vehicles to drive shareholder returns.
The new work culture – freedom of movement and em empowerment of thought
How we live and work will never be the same again. Millions have discovered that they can work from home, and even when there is no threat from the virus they are likely to want to continue to do so. The rise of the distributed organisation is transforming what we use offices for, and offering opportunities to companies to hire the best talent regardless of where those people are located.
As Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said: “We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive. Moving forward, (our employees) will be able to work from home permanently, even once offices begin to reopen.”
Alongside this freedom of where we work, a new culture of empowerment about who works on what is rising. People are becoming increasingly managed by objectives rather than presence, and organisations are focusing on helping their people to work better together, from anywhere, with tools they can trust. This is a more meritocratic approach to work with ideas considered regardless of where they come from in the org chart.
It’s important to note that this depends heavily on technology, and the businesses leading the way here are investing in tools. Today’s employees have high expectations of the tech they use at work. For them, it should be as intuitive and effective as the tech tools they use outside of work.
It should also be remembered that many businesses now how four generations of of people working for them, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z – all of whom want different things from their employers. There is a war for talent in many industries today. Your employer brand is critical as well as the experience potential recruits have. You need to make the experience easy for them while being efficient for you by improving selectivity and leveraging social media.
Freedom to dream
The final piece of the talent equation is to give people the freedom to think those big ideas. Organisations need to recognise that if their people spend 100% of their time delivering on projects, then they spend 0% of their time on the big ideas that will give the customer what they really need and have a far broader social impact.
And remember, ideas can come from anywhere, independent of title, role and function.
At Forever Beta we unshackle our talent using the 70/20/10 principle on all client briefs. 70% of our people’s time is spent on the ideas are essential to successfully answer the brief and outperform expectations. 20% on the ideas that indirectly answer the brief, and further drive success. It could be uncovering new revenue opportunities, shortening the path to purchase or improving the customer experience. And 10% on ideas that go beyond the brief to imagine what the future of your sector will be. Anything goes – from comms, to product, to business model; these are ideas that have the power to change the world.
They will need to collaborate across businesses and categories to find new solutions that effect genuine change. They will need to not only share information but also explain it. They will need to innovate how they behave, adopt the enabling tech, and reduce consumption. These are major changes, but they are the key to inspiring the top talent.
For many businesses, these are radical, scary steps. Not everyone will be willing to take them. But some will – many are already – and those will be the firms that attract talent, and that devise those big ideas we need so much. Those will be the firms of the future.