Attraction and Retention of Talent – ENI Breakfast Meeting.

Letitia Oglesby
April, 2016

Attracting top talent, employee engagement, and retention are key issues for many companies across a wide range of industries. The Breakfast Meeting held by ENI was centred around these topics, with a focus on the Research and Insights industry.
The first to speak was Samantha Bond from Northstar who has researched millennial entrepreneurs. Increasingly, millennials are choosing to start their own businesses and thus changing the landscape of companies the world over.  Samantha has conducted a study to discover what was driving them.

The three points I found most interesting that Samantha made were these:

Companies need to have a mission beyond making money. “While pay is important, it’s clear that millennials won’t stay with companies for money alone,” said David Cruickshank, global chairman of consulting firm Deloitte. There have to be values, and benefits other than money, which is something that these millennial entrepreneurs are offering in their start-ups.

Flexibility is also another factor that Samantha brought up. Increasingly, millennials aren’t differentiating between ‘life’ and ‘work’. Flexible working hours create an attitude where you don’t need to wait until the weekend to ‘live’. According to a study done by PwC, “Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed.” Your standard 9-5 is becoming outdated, and with start-ups run by millennials, people are going for roles that allow them to their working hours.

Finally, millennials need responsibility and to feel as though they are going somewhere. Companies need to engage with employees and provide opportunities for progression. People with an entrepreneurial spirit will constantly be on the lookout for ways they can gain new knowledge and do more.

James Tarbit from HSBC then spoke about employee engagement, and the research they do to monitor this.  James’s job is to help people understand people better. He creates research that seeks to explain what employees, what they know and don’t know and, most importantly, what they feel.  The insight from this research allows Managers to understand the motivations, knowledge, aspirations, concerns and behaviours of the employees who make up HSBC. This enables better decisions, informs future policy and action, and assesses business activity and strategy.

One of the key initiatives is monthly engagement meetings, where employees have the opportunity to meet and discuss anything to do with work. Providing a forum for employees voices to be heard, ensures they feel they have the chance to contribute to the management of the company.  People at all levels are encouraged to consider how the topics can be actioned, encouraging employees to take the initiative.

While Samantha focused on what makes millennials tick, and James employee engagement, Caroline Bates from Chime Insight and Engagement gave an overview of the findings of ‘Researching a career’ – A study Chime and ENI carried out in conjunction with the MRS and ESOMAR, on retaining and engaging employees in market research. The study yielded interesting results concerning people’s perceptions of the industry.

91% of market researchers either like or love their jobs, and used words such as ‘insightful’, ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’ to describe it.  They are however frustrated that the industry is either unknown or poorly regarded by the public.

Relatively unknown amongst undergraduates it’s not surprising only 14% actively choose the profession.  Does this mean we are missing out on potential talent?

The study showed that a lot more needs to be done to raise awareness of the industry.  We can all be involved in this.  MRS have committed to more university visits and would like your help.  ESOMAR’s initiative to engage with young people is called YES (Young ESOMAR Society) and their website contains information about Market Research as a career and aims to showcase the industry in a positive light.

While research has been (and continues to be) done in employee engagement, companies need to actually use this information to change the way they interact with their employees. All three talks raised thought-provoking points. With regards to Market Research and Insight in particular, it is clear that steps need to be taken to attract top talent, and change perceptions of the industry. Better structured career paths, better pay and more training were found to be key in both attracting and retaining top talent and companies need to consider these things moving forward.

We need as many as possible to be involved please share your ideas/comments on the blog or tweet @MRXCareers.  If you would like to work with ESOMAR or the MRS we can forward the relevant details. In addition Amanda would be happy to share the papers.

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