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Human Resources

Talent Acquisition and Retention in Volatile Markets

Juan Manuel Alvarez Zabala

Juan Manuel Alvarez Zabala

Chief People Officer at Zurich Santander

Juan Manuel Alvarez Zabala, Chief People Officer at Zurich Santander

Juan Manuel Alvarez Zabala

Businesses across the globe are mired in the great resignation, trying to balance talent acquisition and retention in these volatile markets. Employees are moving jobs at unprecedented rates and, yet to slow down, this is creating huge challenges for organisations as they fret about customer experience and business continuity.  

We spoke to Juan Manuel Alvarez Zabala, Chief People Officer at Zurich Santander, who has given us 3 focus areas that can help you navigate the currently problematic talent market:  

  1. Adapting to ensure continuity 
  2. Understand the cost – it’s not all about money 
  3. Competing with established market leaders

“We’re operating in a time when anyone can work from anywhere so competition for talent is coming from everywhere,” Juan Manuel says, “so the following is incredibly important.”  

1. Talent Acquisition and Retention in Volatile Markets 

Adapting to change is obviously a crucial element of modern business practices. However, it’s equally important to make sure you have “covered all the basics in terms of what someone would want from working at a company – salary, benefits etc. – to a very good level.” But that’s not enough.  

Communication with leaders and within the HR department is fundamental to success: “We worked with teams with high employee turnover what so understand why employees were leaving,” Juan Manuel told me. “We then acted on their insights, thanked them for their openness and got to work.” 

2. Understand the cost – it’s not all about the money 

It’s simple to consider the economic impact of employee churn, but that’s not all it comes down to. “How much time does it take to hire someone, to train them up? You also need to think about how much extra work the team must absorb when someone leaves.”  

Showing your employees, you understand this issue and offering roadmaps to solve it will show your empathy as a leader which could improve the chances of retaining the staff that are still within the business.  

3. Competing with established market leaders 

Whether you’re a start-up finding new talent, a scale-up looking to grow quickly or a corporate expanding into a new market, you will always find yourself competing with better-known businesses. In this instance, Juan Manuel suggests focusing on what makes you great.  

“We wanted to understand both the tangible and intangible benefits of Zurich Santander. Obviously consider the tangible benefits such as salary but something less tangible is the way of working. If you’re a smaller company that can offer more autonomy and less bureaucracy, make sure people know about it!”  

Ultimately there is no single solution that will help you win the war for talent. But if you make sure you’re adaptable, upholding basic principles to a high standard and can communicate your employer value proposition, you’ll be in a great position to start focusing on broader, more innovative solutions.  

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