Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

The war for talent rages on – but what really entices employees?

By Business & Finance
07 September 2018
war for talent

In the Employee Experience series, sponsored by Irish Life, we look at the most important initiatives for better employee experience. The War for Talent is a major issue for many companies – how can your company win it?


Today’s employee wants more than a paycheque–how do you make them feel valued?

There are many reasons work is changing – globalisation, technology and the millennial generation among them.  As the workforce grows younger, the millennial generation’s values have impacted greatly on the way work needs to be, the way organisations need to view and treat their employees. Nowadays, a job’s about more than just the pay packet – employees are increasingly after meaning and purpose, autonomy and vocation. They want to feel valued, and cared for by their employers. 

As we reach a state of almost full employment in Ireland, the battle to engage with and attract top talent, especially in tech, and in STEM fields, has become more and more acute. There was a time, in the recession of the eighties, when people were happy just to have a job, any job that paid a wage. Now we boast a highly educated, sophisticated and well-travelled workforce, that want more than just a way to pay the bills. They want meaning, fulfilment, and engagement with their work and with their workplace. The job has to be interesting, challenging, have a career design built in. The workplace has to be high-tech and ergonomic with the option of being remotet while the global executive is on the road. Or maybe it’s full of bean bags, foosball tables and indoor slides. There should be meaningful interactions with colleagues, in cross-collaborative groups, maybe in sports teams and also with the wider community in charitable initiatives. 

There has never been more pressure on the workplace to provide a stimulating environment for the employee, to provide extra benefits to make up a really attractive package. Employees these days are always on, constantly connected, some never taking a break, still checking those emails, even when on holidays. And in return for their unswerving devotion they expect an employer to lure them in with a workplace and package that meets their high standards. Not only that, but the modern workplace needs to step up and be open, welcoming and appreciative to any suitably qualified prospective employee – diversity and inclusion is a matter of utmost importance. 

Extreme perks

With so many multinationals and trendy tech companies present in Ireland, the latest trends in workplaces are all here, and employment perks such as in-house yoga classes and catered food are prevalent in the Irish office. The newly-opened Microsoft campus in Sandyford and LinkedIn’s new EMEA HQ both boast a host of amenities, from music rooms to podcast studios. 

For employees, while an onsite masseur and Italian coffee might ease the pain of long days in the office, it’s important to them in the long-term that these perks don’t come at the expense of more practical benefits, such as pay increases, holiday allowances, health insurance and pension contributions. 

A 2014 study by Mercer found that participants overall see benefits as critically important. In fact, 93% agreed with the statement “my health benefits are as important as my salary.” 

According to Kerry Donoghue, Operations Leader Health and Wealth at Mercer,

Year after year, we find our survey respondents ranking benefits as one of the most important components of their employment value proposition.”

According to CIO magazine, the top six benefits that are attractive in the highly competitive tech hiring industry are mainly to do with flexibility and work-life balance: telecommuting; caregiver leave; adoption leave; onsite gym; performance-based incentives and family leave.

While ‘fun’ perks contribute to a good office atmosphere, and are alluring to young hires, it’s important to build a package that looks after the employees’ real-life needs outside of the office, looking at healthcare and pensions, and allowing people flexibility to balance their work life and personal commitments. 

The Employee Experience Awards, sponsored by Irish Life, will be held 4th October and nominations are closing 14th September. Categories include: Diversity, War for Talent, Agile Working and the overall Employee Experience Award. If you wish to nominate your company please fill in a very short questionnaire here.