CDI Corporation

Attracting and Retaining Talent with the Cool Factor


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Every organization wants to be considered a "Best Place to Work" in order to attract and retain the best permanent and contingency talent, yet there is no cookie cutter formula for achieving this. Many factors go into making your company a great place to work such as company culture, employee benefits, and other perks. One thing that remains constant among the most desirable employers is the ‘cool’ technology factor. As companies increasingly focus on providing more enjoyable work environments and improving employee engagement among both their full-time and contract workers, technology is playing a key role in championing those efforts. This is becoming especially important for attracting top millennial talent, as technology and the flexibility, creativity, and efficiency it can bring is extremely valuable to them.

Deciding when and how much to invest in the latest technology can be an arduous task for many organizations, and will depend greatly on the industry in which the company operates, as technologies can provide a different impact in manufacturing environments, for example, vs. an office setting. Typically the focus is on improving productivity and efficiency, and transitioning people away for doing things the way they always have for years. The process is often not fun and is met with resistance. However, when you consider the ability of technology to enhance the ‘cool’ factor of being a great place to work, it provides added incentive for employers to introduce new equipment and software.

So why is the technology push more important now than ever before? It really is a reflection of the highly digitized, mobile world in which we live, especially as more Millennials are entering the workforce and eventually maturing into greater leadership positions. "In today’s climate, potential candidates – whether they fall into the permanent or contingent segment of your blended workforce – are attracted to companies that incorporate the newest technologies into everyday work functions," says Robert Ziegler, vice president and global head of Technology Solutions for CDI Corporation. "Employers must be able to sell prospective hires on the flexibility, efficiency and fun these technologies will provide."

Ziegler provides the following tips for companies looking to enhance their ‘cool’ factor through technology:

Make it mobile. Today’s professionals value the flexibility to do their job wherever and whenever, and mobile technology makes that possible like never before. Consider laptops or 2-in-1 laptop/tablets over desktops, so your talent don’t feel shackled to their desks. These will provide the flexibility to take work into the conference room, the coffee shop, or home for those late night meeting preparations before an early day. Cloud technologies such as Office 365’s OneDrive and Google’s Drive make any document available on demand, for quick reference and use by backing it up online and making it available to smartphones and tablets. Voice communication tools are additionally available to make phone numbers mobile. A number, and the voicemail accompanying it, can be set up to ring through to more than just one employee’s desk. This further allows employees to have the flexibility to take and make calls from anywhere.

Make it slick. Technology should look modern and cool. For example, while a small light laptop looks very impressive, it can also be made easier to use in the office environment by pairing it with a docking station and a multiple-monitor setup. This enables the laptop to operate as a desktop, in a more ergonomic manner for the office. Done right, a multi-monitor laptop set up can be impressive to see, leaving a good impression on potential talent, and also provide great efficiencies while working in the office.

Make it about communicating. Today’s top talent are very connected, social and are used to getting instant feedback on their performance and in their communications. Consider implementing an instant communication platform such as Skype. This technology allows instant communication in a controlled environment that speeds up results. In fact, younger professionals use email less and less and will prefer more modern options to communicate.

Embrace social media for your company’s communications both internally and externally. Top performers look for companies to be communicating via social media. Consider apps such as Yammer to build an internal social environment for your employees to share ideas and garner feedback. Millennials, in particular, value frequent feedback and evaluation and respond best to visual data. Business intelligence tools that provide visual graphic dashboards are a great way to communicate constant, instant feedback to your teams so they can strive to out-perform themselves.

Ultimately, what makes an organization cool or fun is a combination of many factors. "Companies that are committed to creating an enjoyable, engaging company culture understand that technology is key, not only for retention, but also for demonstrating to current and prospective clients that the company is a contemporary, innovative business," adds Ziegler. “The ‘cool’ technology factor is now being driven by marketing efforts, as well as recruitment and talent management strategies to attract and retain top performers, inducing the best of the contingent supply to choose your company, and provide continued value to clients and investors."

Recent CDI Analysis

“In today’s climate, potential candidates – whether they fall into the permanent or contingent segment of your blended workforce – are attracted to companies that incorporate the newest technologies into everyday work functions.”

Robert Ziegler
Vice President & Global Head of Technology Solutions
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

The September Employment Situation released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was a bit disappointing, with a total of 142,000 new jobs and an unchanged unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. Job growth was much lower than the average monthly gains seen over the last 18 months, and below economists’ expectations for 200,000 new jobs. The civilian labor force participation rate fell slightly, dropping from 62.6 percent to 62.4 percent. The amount of workers taking part-time jobs for economic reasons, also decreased by 447,000.

Business and professional services added 31,000 jobs, with most new positions appearing in the computer systems design and legal services subsectors. Manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, financial activities, transportation and warehousing, and government all showed little or no change throughout September. Employment in the mining industry was once again on the decline, losing 10,000 positions over the course of the month. Average hourly earnings fell by $0.01 to $25.09. This slight decline comes after August’s gain of $0.09.

Despite many economists’ belief that the September job report shows the U.S. economy is weakening, others feel employers are temporarily holding off on hiring as a result of recent turmoil in the financial market. According to Fortune, job growth for all of 2015 is still hovering around 200,000 per month, which is quite strong. However, the source explained that the data should give pause to anyone hoping to claim that the U.S. economy has reached escape velocity. The New York Times added that the uncertainty caused by the July-September job reports will likely give the Federal Reserve the incentive to hold off on increasing interest rates until next year.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

The September Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada advised that 12,000 jobs were created over the month, representing an increase of 0.1 per cent. However, the unemployment rate also jumped from 7.0 per cent to 7.1 per cent, the highest level it has been since February 2014.

Overall, private sector employment remained relatively stable. Public sector employment declined by 29,000 positions, while the number of people who identify as self-employed increased by 31,000.

The industry that experienced the most gains was information, culture and recreation, which increased its workforce by 33,000 jobs. Healthcare and social assistance expanded its payroll by 17,000 jobs, while business, building and other support services grew by 16,000 positions. The education sector decreased its workforce by 51,000, primarily in schools and universities in Quebec and Ontario. The Toronto Star reported that the education sector’s startling decline appears significantly worse on paper than in real life. Because the drop was largely chalked up to restructuring and renegotiating contracts, improvements will be visible in the near future.

TD Bank Economist Diana Petramala told the source the worst of the economic soft patch is now behind Canada but challenges remain. She elaborated by saying, “For one, we continue to expect a modest pace of hiring due to a lagged impact of past weakness in real GDP growth, with the unemployment rate holding steady relatively lofty at around 7.0 per cent through the next year. Second, the oil sector will continue to be a sore spot for the economy with oil prices remaining low.”

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, September 2015

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