February 1, 2018
When I started working in HR around 18 years ago it was really hard to get your first role. Every company wanted experience as well as qualifications. I was lucky that I met a very forward-thinking HR director who took a chance on me and gave me my first role. I had a degree in Business and HR and my CIPD, which really helped me get a foot in the door.
At that time, the focus was heavily around admin, process and employee relations. Personally, I also carried out lot of recruitment activity, which I loved and set me up very well for the rest of my career. We focused a lot on policies, making sure everything was documented, and less on employee engagement and employer brand.
Today, we work in a very competitive world, particularly when you want great talent working for you. Companies now need progressive ‘People’ teams in order to sell the business well and to attract the candidate (it’s a two-way process, after all) and to differentiate themselves from other companies. Technology is so important, from your company website, intranets and social media to your people, MI and data systems – these are crucial to tracking and measuring performance.
Employer brand is, too; this needs to be carefully thought through and communicated as you want to sell the best parts of your business while being realistic and authentic – it’s so important to be authentic.
At Sage, we regularly review our employee proposition to ensure it remains relevant and attractive to the right colleagues we want working with us and also to ensure we’re retaining the best people. Some of our real strong points at Sage include the work we do via our amazing Sage Foundation. Each colleague can use five volunteer days each year to help in their local community and give back to good causes. We also offer a great range of benefits, exciting roles and flexible working opportunities, as well as newly-refurbished offices across five locations in the UK and Ireland.
Young talent is really important to us at Sage, too. We started our very popular apprentice programme in 2012 and have around 130 incredibly ambitious and talented young people working for our organisation through this, our retention rate for apprentices to stay on board after their programme has ended is impressive too; we always offer permanent roles where we can.
We also have a strong focus on families, diversity and inclusion. It’s important to remember that people want more than just jobs these days, they want careers that are flexible and a culture where everyone can be the best version of themselves.
Technology will continue to change the profession, directly and indirectly. People science is already here; using sophisticated data and analytics to help define what a people strategy should look like will become the norm very soon.
As social media continues to influence, ways of attracting new talent and promoting employer brand will continue to move to digital and automated channels and be more important than ever before.
Flexible working, culture, engagement and inclusion need to be key areas of focus for businesses if they want to attract a strong, diverse talent pool to move them forwards and to remain successful. Also, an open mind around where people live and work – with technology people don’t need to work in the office nine to five. Flexibility and mobile working is here to stay!