Five insights you need in order to find and retain the best digital talent

Five insights you need in order to find and retain the best digital talent

Every day I ask business owners and hiring managers, ‘what is the one thing that keeps you awake at night?’ And almost always, the response is the same: ‘Talent — finding great people, exciting them in our brand story and purpose; and then keeping them engaged with the belief and reality that they can have a fulfilling career with our company’.

You then take the microscope and focus in on the digital talent community and it seems that the battle is even more intense.

You see, the challenge we face today is that every industry and organisation is (or should be) well entrenched in digital transformation. As customers move offline to online, so does the need for highly skilled digital professionals — and the competition for talent is fierce!

Recently we surveyed over 1200 digital creative and marketing employees across Australia, asking specific questions around why people are leaving companies and what is important when looking for new job opportunities. You can take a look at the Firebrand Talent Ignition Report here.

Here are 5 insights from our Talent Ignition Survey that will help you fine-tune your digital talent attraction and retention strategies

1. Companies who hire digital talent need to get better at having ‘Career Conversations’ with their people

Broadly speaking, companies are doing a poor job at fostering career conversations with their people (56% of those surveyed stated that they have not had any long-term career conversations with their manager, up from 50% in our 2016 survey). And considering Career progression opportunities is stated as the most important when digital talent are looking at new job opportunities and the leading employee concern, companies have to get better at these conversations.

Want to find and retain the best digital talent? - Long Term Development Conversations

2. Throwing more money at employees will not result in attracting more or better digital talent

In fact, our survey results confirm that it is 4th on the list in terms of what’s important when looking for a new job — behind career progression, flexible working environment and interesting/varied workload.

People don’t leave companies because of salary.

Out of all respondents surveyed, salary being cited as the reason for leaving was 6th (out of 7) on the list (9% of survey respondents). This begs the question, is it even worth ‘counter offering’ employees with more money when they resign? Our experience and results suggest not.

3. Companies need to get much better in cultivating people leaders

What is concerning is that our Firebrand Talent Ignition Survey this year has seen a drastic lift in the number of people leaving organisations due to poor leadership/management. Last year, 19% of those surveyed indicated that they had left their last role due to poor leadership/ management, however, we have seen a sharp jump in this year’s survey reporting 34% (up 15%) of employees are leaving companies for this reason. Greater emphasis on leadership selection and development need to be seen to improve greater engagement and retention of Talent.

Want to find and retain the best digital talent? - Reasons for leaving last job

4. Digital talent are most definitely ‘on the move’

54% of those surveyed are ‘seriously’ considering leaving their job in the next 6 months — this is alarmingly high. In fact, 30% are actively looking right now. This is potentially good for companies looking to employ digital talent — but the fight will be aggressive as nearly every company and industry is investing in digital in some shape or form.

For those organisations that already employ digital teams, we would be encouraging them to be focusing on retention strategies such as creating career paths and having career conversations to drive greater engagement.  

Want to find and retain the best digital talent? - Seriously considering leaving job

5. The best digital talent to hire, are often the ones that are not actively looking

55% of those surveyed considered themselves passive — i.e. not actively looking but if approached about the right role at the right time, would consider a move. The question I would be positioning to companies wanting to hire the best digital talent, is what strategies do you have in place that are focused on building relationships with these specialists, passive digital talent communities? Employer branding strategies that include case studies overviewing real employee career paths, employee engagement with leadership teams and a taste for the nature of projects worked, are all critically important to place companies at the forefront of talent attraction.

Want to find and retain the best digital talent? - Employee mobility

As I mentioned, the war for digital talent is fierce and it’s only going to get fiercer as companies become more digital savvy and fight to survive in the era of automation. It’s time to change your retention strategies now in order to keep your best digital employees happy, challenged and thriving.


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