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EX Post-Covid workplace Recruitment Talent management

Achieving Sustainable Growth By Attracting Young Talent

Worldwide retention of top talent has been an organisational issue for some time now. The recent ‘turnover tsunami’ headlines show us the problem isn’t getting better. Here’s how NTT DATA Business Solutions Turkey, Middle East and North Africa have managed to retain 97% of new employees in the last five years.

01 September 2021 • 4 min read

Sustainability means different things to different people, but most business leaders would agree that employees are a precious resource and increasing headcount always needs to be managed with the long term in mind. For me, attracting and retaining talent is the central element in the Sustainability Transformation.

Over the last five years, I’ve witnessed how, by placing skills growth and career development at the centre of our recruitment, onboarding and training. Because of this, the company has grown year on year and created new opportunities for both personal and community advancement.

In Turkey, we have been running the One Talent recruitment programme since 2016, hiring the country’s best young professionals and encouraging their stay within the NTT DATA family. The figures speak for themselves: 97% of the recruits who stepped through our company doors between 2016 and 2020 are still with us (and many have progressed to more senior roles). With terms like ‘turnover tsunami’ grabbing headlines, we’re proud to be able to keep our workforce fulfilled.

Hosting each phase [of recruitment] within one digital platform helps us find talent extremely efficiently, minimising time and resources looking for data or establishing the next steps.

Below are five key talent management areas which will help companies achieve their sustainability ambitions – for profit, people and planet.

Attraction: be where the talent is

We want to be in all of the places that students visit when planning their careers. So via the One Talent programme, we collaborate with universities directly, often speaking at recruitment summits and events, proactively engage with students using social media and using Turkey’s Toptalent online careers platform (home to 500,000 jobseekers).

Here, the help of marketing teams proves invaluable. The involvement of our specialist colleagues means any campaigns are created quickly and effectively with the right messaging. Recognising the value of specialist capabilities from elsewhere in the business is, of course, a key tip for any recruitment strategy.

Application: make it as easy as possible

We run a range of application processes in parallel, giving applicants a choice of routes into the business. They can apply for roles through LinkedIn, local recruitment site Kariyer.net, the Toptalent platform or, as you might expect, they can email us directly through our dedicated careers email.

Covering all these channels means we make our application process both easily accessible and straightforward for candidates.

Selection and recruitment: centralise and consolidate

Applications are managed through a structured programme using a local in-house digital platform.  Firstly, as a global business, we assess foreign language skills in both English and German. If applicants are successful, we set various competency-based tasks, group interviews and group exercises. The latter includes a ‘hackathon’, collaborative programming challenges that assess potential.

Onboarding during the Covid pandemic made us particularly grateful we had robust processes in place within an established digital platform.

Any one-to-one interviews, again often managed online, are also delivered through the platform, as are job offer and acceptance processes. Hosting each phase within one digital platform helps us find talent extremely efficiently, minimising time and resources looking for data or establishing the next steps.

Orientation and ongoing development tasks are also managed through this single platform. This gives us continuity for the first twelve months of a recruit’s career.

Onboarding: celebrate your culture 

One Talent includes a two week orientation period that immerses recruits in our company and culture. Although led by the Human Resources team, Senior Management from across the business is also engaged. For example, young recruits are always formally welcomed by the CEO, Managing Directors or People & Culture Directors. We then provide introductory soft skills and technical training, arrange one-to-one mentoring, induct them into our QA procedures and provide department-specific briefings. Recruits are then given consultancy skills training in a two-day online programme and specific team projects to undertake. The results of the latter are presented to top management and marked in a formal certification ceremony. This marks a valuable early opportunity to celebrate our young talent’s achievements.

We know as we grow that engagement must be deliberately cultivated.

Onboarding during the Covid pandemic made us particularly grateful we had robust processes in place within an established digital platform. It made the transition to working online relatively straightforward.

Ongoing development: structure, collaborate and play 

After orientation, each recruit starts a year-long development journey. Additional soft skills and technical training modules are closely monitored through a series of quizzes and exams, and roleplay studies and project simulations play their part as recruits continue to develop their skills. Specific project issues are covered through lessons-learned documents, and everyone has a named ‘buddy’ within their field to ask questions. We also establish cross-team mentoring to help embed recruits further into our company culture as the year goes by.

You can see proof that One Talent works in our headcount figures. Our year-on-year growth rate has been 30% throughout the programme’s first five years. While this is a success in itself,  it is important to say we are not driven by growth in isolation.

Expanding quickly comes with risks to the business, after all. To mitigate these, we continue to prioritise service quality and gain customer feedback on all our people, continually refining our processes and approach. Moreover, we know as we grow that engagement must be deliberately cultivated. Employee satisfaction is supported through a range of social clubs (sports, health and wellbeing, entertainment, etc.) running alongside One Talent. The Covid-19 pandemic forced all these things online, so we developed a new private social media platform, One Social. Its development took just two months and had a significant positive impact on our teams.

Central as it is, attracting and retaining talent is just one part of the company’s commitment to sustainability. Last year we planted more than 1,000 trees in İzmir, on Turkey’s Aegean Coast. We look forward to seeing our NTT DATA forest grow, alongside our business, for many years to come.

EX Post-Covid workplace Recruitment Talent management

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