Author: Vincent Belliveau, Chief International Officer, Cornerstone
For a company looking to attract funding, there are many criteria they need to be aiming to hit. Many of these are obvious, and long standing, from strong financial projections to a robust business model and customer base – all quantifiable metrics that investors look out for. But, a surprising KPI has crept onto the investor playbook, and that is talent strategy. This includes elements like a company’s culture, how it develops its employees and investment in its learning and development.
Why has this become a focus for investors? The economic instability of recent years has been a major factor. Investors want businesses that have sustainable strategies that are agile and adaptable in the face of change. And a people strategy is vital here, with a company’s resilient workforce being a key element amid economic uncertainty. Let’s take a closer look at the whys behind this emerging priority area for investors.
There is an incredibly strong link between how a business manages its talent and how that business performs – this is with regards to output, profitability, efficiencies, and more.
A 2022 study by Cornerstone found that high-performing organisations – defined as those that outperform their peer group – placed greater emphasis on people development. While just 76 percent of low-performing, or laggard, organisations prioritised employee training and development, 96 percent of high-performing organisations did so. The significance? A business that prioritises professional development is one that is going to have more highly skilled employees within its workforce. A more skilled workforce is a more capable, efficient and productive workforce. Employees will be better at their jobs and drive greater success for the business as a whole, further attracting investors as a result.
Another major benefit of prioritising development is the boost it can have on employee retention. After all, if employees feel that their organisation is investing in their growth and prioritising their development, they are more likely to stay where they are. With the costs of hiring new employees costing organisations huge sums a year, avoiding these costs could have a big impact on profitability.
The economic slowdown has left its mark on the global job market. Many companies have even enacted hiring freezes, and in the UK MPs have warned that the shrinking workforce is actually limiting the country’s economic growth. These challenges are being reflected globally.
But investors will still want to see evidence of intelligent talent resourcing within a prospective business. This is where a talent mobility strategy is key. Despite the challenging job market and hiring freezes, the last thing organisations should do is freeze the development and mobility of their existing talent. The potential consequences of doing so are clear, with workers who lack visibility into internal career opportunities within their organisations 61 percent more likely to quit. By contrast, 73 percent globally indicate interest in learning about new roles within their organisations. There is a clear appetite for internal mobility, and so the question becomes: How can companies kickstart talent mobility and incorporate it into their culture?
Unearth internal opportunities at scale
When working to make hidden career pathways and opportunities visible, businesses need to strike a balance between the human element and technology. For instance, employees have shown a strong preference for self-service technology to discover internal mobility options, with an 80 percent higher likelihood of choosing this option over manager conversations. And yet, according to learning leaders, the number one way a workforce has visibility into growth opportunities is through manager conversations.
Technology provides a way for businesses to unearth hidden career pathways and create an internal opportunity marketplace. Through this, employees are empowered with greater visibility into opportunities and with greater autonomy over the next step in their careers. Meanwhile, managers can take on mentoring roles, guiding their teams through career decisions via conversations and training. Companies that prioritise talent management and internal mobility, like DPDHL, have already seen success in filling open positions and mobilising the workforce.
The new fuel of the business world is people, and the skills, knowledge and experience that they bring to the fore. Companies that recognise this evolving landscape, and prioritise their talent management strategy in response to these shifts, will be the ones to captivate investors’ attentions.
By harnessing talent mobility, leaders are equipping their businesses with the adaptability necessary to ride out times of turbulence. It is with this strategy that they will attract new investment and funding.