By Emma Heuston, Author of The Tracksuit Economy: How to work productively AND effectively from home

Retaining talent in an organisation is not all about money.  There are a complex web of other factors that influence an employee’s decision to stay with an organisation or move on.


These factors were recently examined in the Manpower Group 2018 Talent Shortage Survey (Survey).  


The Survey analysed the responses of 39,195 employees across 43 countries and also sought views from employers and organisations with regard to talent recruitment.

The key findings in the Survey were that, in the current economic circumstances, the best way forward for organisations is to focus on:


  • cultivating talent outside the organisation including part-time, freelance, contract and temporary workers to complement existing skills;
  • investing in learning and development to retain talent rather than hiring new talent; and
  • creating new roles alongside technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, rather than let tech developments take jobs away.



Talent doesn’t always live around the corner


I am a prime example of the fact that the best talent does not always live locally. I live in far northern New South Wales and work part time for a Sydney based law firm, which is 1,000 kilometres away from my home. 


The organisation I work for is smart enough to know that every talented lawyer doesn’t live within a commutable radius of their office and, that the best way to attract the right person for a job is to recruit for the person and make it work rather than focus the search for talented employees locally.


I am smart enough to know that it means I get to live where I want and work how I want, while enjoying the beach and house prices in regional New South Wales.



It isn’t all about the money


For decades, career success has been analogous to a big pay packet. 


However, attitudes are changing.  In May 2018, Allen & Overy conducted a survey called the “Future of Legal Talent” and found, amongst other things, that many of the lawyers who responded to that survey would be prepared to sacrifice a degree of seniority and income if it meant being able to control their work and career and achieve a work life balance.


Another by product of this changing of the guard is the increasing prevalence of consulting and short-term contracts as opposed to the traditional employer/ employee relationships and reliance on secondment relationships, sharing the in demand talent around.


Agility and innovation is the way of the future


As baby boomers retire and millennials move into the workforce and leadership positions within the workforce, the expectations surrounding workplaces are changing.


Millennials expect work places to be agile and innovative, after all they have grown up with technology and know intrinsically that there is no need for them to be restricted by physical location.  Flexibility is a part of this equation, as is the belief that we work to live, rather than live to work.


But what is flexibility?  It is different for every single one of us. As such, a “one size fits all” flexibility policy does not work.  However, organisations, in considering whether they are open to flexible arrangements, can use the request for flexibility to negotiate on other negotiation points (such as financial compensation and seniority) to attract talent craving a flexible role.  This is a positive development for smaller businesses and startups that may not otherwise be able to compete with the big end of town.


Talented employees can also benefit from the flexibility culture.  If an employee can prove himself or herself in a small business or startup, the prospects for promotion are greatly increased.


The future is exciting and I, for one, cannot wait to see what it holds.  If you have any views on workplace flexibility and future trends, I would love to hear them.  Drop me a line.




Guest Blog by Emma Heuston. Author, Lawyer & Flexible Work Guru. In 2014 the author of The Tracksuit Economy, Emma Heuston began exploring available work outside of the tradition corporate/ legal sphere.


By 2018 Emma had transitioned exclusively to remote work, been nominated as a finalist for the Lawyers Weekly Commercial Partner of the Year awards and written her first book, The Tracksuit Economy.

Instagram @the_tracksuit_economy