Future-Proofing the Talent Experience

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Jennifer Gregory

Today’s shifting talent landscape is creating a new set of requirements. Here’s how your agency can foster a culture of diversity and flexibility in the workplace.

Do you know if your employees were excited to show up to work today? Research has shown that employees who enjoy their work and are engaged in the overall experience are most likely to be your top performers, ultimately leading to happier clients.    

That’s why, according to Marie-Claire Barker, Chief Talent Officer at MEC Global, focusing on the employee experience could help your bottom line. “Competition is tough for the best talent, and the power has now shifted into their hands. Creating an experience for them that makes them want to be there rather than have to be there is one of the biggest challenges facing leaders today.”    

To create an engaging employee experience, a company must truly embrace the individual needs and differences each employee brings with them, and actually seek them out for the value they bring. And it goes beyond racial, gender, or cultural differences—it includes diversity of thought, work style, education, and experience. “We no longer have a homogeneous workforce. We have a multigenerational, multicultural, diverse collection of people looking to have purpose in the roles they carry out, and each with a unique set of expectations,” explains Barker.

Here are a few things to consider as you begin to design an engaging employee experience that attracts the right people to deliver for your business: 

See your people for the talent they bring—not just the job they do.

It’s a value exchange that, Barker says, is relatively similar to the customer experience. “The idea is, we are benefiting from your unique skills and perspectives. In return, we are going to invest in you and ensure you have a more enriching experience with us than elsewhere.”  

The experience must begin at the first touchpoint.

The engagement journey starts with the person’s first interaction with your brand as a potential employer. At the recent SXSW conference, instead of simply making attendees aware of MEC’s job openings, recruiters gave them a 3-D virtual reality experience, immersing them in the culture and allowing them to visualize themselves within the agency’s walls.

Provide a culture of flexibility for all employees.

Flexibility is not only for working moms and it doesn’t just mean where and when you work—it can mean changing role definitions, job sharing, and work styles. “It's about how people get things done as well as how people learn and develop,” explains Barker. Flexibility should be used as the currency to attract the talent you need, and leaders must lift the guilt from people who have other priorities outside of work. “We have to fully embrace the concept that one size does not fit all,” says Barker.

Look for talent in unexpected places to find the difference your company needs.

Rather than replicate the traditional campus-recruiting methods, MEC in the UK developed its Apprenticeship program for people who had not attended college—and ended up discovering some exceptional talent.

“If we keep using the conventional methods of recruitment and development, we'll miss out on some real gems,” notes Barker. “Instead, agencies need to create a relationship with talent. It’s time to make a change.”

To explore this conversation further, attend the Talent Track at #AWNewYork.

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