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How to Attract and Retain Next Gen Talent

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In our Leaders on Leaders series, Karen Greenbaum explores today's top trends impacting global leadership with leaders from the worlds top executive search and leadership advisory firms.

This episode, Karen speaks with Bruce Raines, President and CEO of Raines International, about next-generation executive level talent. 

Below is a brief excerpt. 

KAREN: Bruce, why don’t we begin with you telling us about Raines International. 

BRUCE: Thank you, Karen. Raines International is an executive search firm with a global presence. Our history spans back about 40+ years and we are organized by both industry and functional specialties. We have about five offices around the US and our percentage of international assignments is about 20% of our overall practice. Our client base is diverse [with] about 50% large multinationals. The rest are private equity and middle market firms, and there are some not-for-profits as well.

In terms of functions, we cover most of them, but we’re most known for finance marketing and human resources as well as the supply chain and what we will call a management consulting-centric practice which is recruiting management consultants that are currently or formerly were with those firms in a corporate position.

KAREN: Tell me a little bit about what you find are some of the leadership attributes of next-generation talent that you bring to today’s organizations, your clients?     

BRUCE: I think there are several positive attributes from these next-geners. We believe they help accelerate the pace of corporate America, and for that matter, our global economy. […] They have can-do outlooks. They’re not afraid to try something new, and in fact, I think they thrive on it. And while technology is both a functional and an industry-specific top dog right now and they get most of the publicity, we’re making great strides also in healthcare and even manufacturing. But overall, these are half-glass-full types of people as opposed to conservative.

Expanding on that theme, I think there’s a major excitement for creativity, and these people are unafraid to put their new ideas and concepts out there to test them. They have more knowledge and they certainly have the ability to acquire it faster through the internet and other channels. They are very adept at disrupting industries and bringing fresh thinking to all the businesses.  

KAREN: They’re top talent. So how do you attract these top talents for your clients? What’s important to them in terms of what they’re looking for? 

BRUCE: I think that no matter what, some of the old things are still part of the equation – a compelling opportunity, strong company leadership. But I think there are three that I would put up ahead of the others. First and foremost, they want to go to a company that’s exciting and growth-oriented. Whether it’s a new wave startup or a more mature company, there has to be that kind of gleam-in-the-eye mentality that says “We’re going to be movers and shakers.”  

Secondly, I think they want to be mentored. They want to feel that they can go to a place that they can learn and that’s part of the overall society of the company they’re going to. They want to be heard [and] they want to have impact. 

Third, I would say they want to go to companies that have state-of-the-art thinking, state-of-the-art methodologies and the best tools for the future. So in that toolbox, we have to always consider digital platforms and I think that’s a big plus.

But outside of that, there’s one other piece, and I think this is very important. There’s a softer side of the lure, and that is the work-life balance. I think many of tomorrow’s star performers will value family as much as work. And a good company, a company that wants to attract these people, will have to have that work-life balance. [...]

I think finally, and certainly not the least, all companies today must embrace diversity. We live in a global economy and not only is it the right thing to do socially, but it’s actually good business. Diverse people are plugged in better all over the world and can be the best representatives for their employers to cultures that they came from, so it’s good business and it’s good socially.

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