Just as every landscape needs a balanced natural ecosystem, every organisation needs a healthy talent ecosystem. You need the right mix of age, skill, experience, gender, culture and neuro-diversity to meet your organisation's needs, and these systems are not static. To maintain your talent ecosystem, you need to manage dynamically and attract, retain and repatriate the best talent you can get.

Uncertainly continues to plague the question of how we best access global talent into the future. Immigration uncertainty, the skills gap and Brexit negotiations all contribute to the angst, but companies can take solace in the fact that there are positive, tangible steps that can be taken to optimise the attractiveness of their company to global talent. The key is in the carrot… a gold standard of support for employees and their families.

 Latest immigration proposals

At the Tory Conference this week, Prime Minister May broadly adopted the recommendations of the recent Migration Advisory Committee Report. For organisations trying to recruit high skilled labour, the salient findings are:

  • High skill immigration has a positive net impact on Government finances, productivity and GDP
  • Recognition that central planning currently does not respond quickly enough to population changes and corresponding strain on local services (probably contributing to a less welcoming climate for incomers)
  • Immigration makes a net contribution to high profile sectors like the NHS where the contribution of labour and taxes outweighs the costs of additional treatment, since those working in this sector tend to be younger and fitter than the average UK citizen.

May has adopted the following recommendations for post-Brexit policy:

  • No future preference for EU/EEA citizens over other nationalities
  • A removal of the cap on high skilled immigrants (currently 20,700 per year)
  • But a retention of salary thresholds at £30,000. This means difficulties in hiring lower skill workers, but also those at early career stages or in other potentially lower paid sectors like scientific research

There has been significant push back to the recommendations, including from the CBI, the UK business organisation, so there is clearly more work to be done. Furthermore, as the MAC report identifies, any changes in this area will be subject to trade negotiations which may bring in additional and more complex rules.

Employers have already complained that the limitations, costs, delays, and burden of administration for immigration are a significant drag on performance. If the new system is closer to current visa processes than the current EU freedom of movement requirements, life is going to become even more complicated for hiring organisations.

Impact for business

It all adds up to more uncertainty and challenges for businesses needing to spread their net globally to attract the skills they need. They already face a number of other challenges:

  • The UK economy is currently growing more slowly than that of many other countries, and currency devaluation depresses apparent salaries.
  • Expats report feeling less welcome and less confident in our economy
  • Current international staff are unsettled, many are leaving

What can be done?

It’s clear that many organisations are going to continue to need to recruit internationally, so how can they attract the brightest and the best?

✅ Make it clear in your job adverts how great your company is and what potential it has

✅ Make sure your job opportunity gives long term scope for professional growth (very important for millennials)

✅ Invest in a good relationship with immigration lawyers, who can smooth the process of securing immigration permissions

✅ Give incoming employees ongoing personal and professional support that lasts beyond the point when the relocation company drops off the furniture

  • Cross-Cultural Training can be invaluable for all nationalities, even those like Americans where we can be deceived into believing that we share language and culture. Let your new hires know you will help them make the transition and become settled and effective quickly
  • Onboarding coaching and ongoing professional development coaching are  great non-salary benefits to make sure that your new hire is feeling valued. It will help them to deliver up to their potential, and it will help to make sure the organisation can truly benefit from the diversity the new hires bring. One-to-one support allows each of the highly individual recruits (after all that’s why you recruited them!) to meet their own unique development needs just-in-time.

Extend your support to families. Unhappy partners and children can quickly derail a relocation. Why not consider:

  • Targeted coaching for partners and children to aid their transition
  • Ongoing community events to create a network of support for incoming families

Even with the current uncertainty, there’s lots to be done to make sure the flow of skills your organisation needs can be maintained. Investing in a gold standard of support for employees and families could be your best talent strategy decision this year.

More questions on global mobility and attracting talent? Get in touch, we’d love to help.