Ending the rat race

Philippe Riboton

REMEMBER THE NINETIES? It may seem like yesterday, but in fact it’s already ancient history. Back then, human resource managers had an easy sale to make. Showing a business card with the logo of a powerful international organization, promising the thrill of working for a reputable brand name, offering good salaries and nice company cars. That was more or less enough to attract job applicants by the score, as many were eager to work for global companies and practice languages. However, the task of those HR professionals started to become more complicated when they saw those new recruits leaving, in the best case, some two years after they were hired. This was the time there was always a new player setting up shop, boasting a nice corporate identity too, but offering better pay and a better car. At the end of the day, it wasn’t unusual for a company to face yearly personnel turnover in the dozens of percents range, while a lot of young professionals created a curriculum vitae for themselves that now look like Swiss cheese: full of holes. Times have changed. Most markets are nearly saturated with competition – there are fewer new kids on the block since the entry ticket has become quite expensive. Trainings are a matter of course, benefit packages are the norm, postings abroad have become easier – at least within the EU. At the same time, job applicants have gained in maturity; they no longer ask right away about the size of the paycheck and the make of the company car. What most of them are now looking for is stability on one side and personal development on the other. The result is that most companies have gained in sophistication and long-term vision; instead of wasting resources hiring staff just to lose them shortly after, they are doing their best to retain talent and to continue developing their key people. Those portrayed in our cover story this month are just a few examples of great employers who are working harder than ever for their employees.






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