Retailers compete for the best talent by offering packages with the ‘X-factor’

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Retailers compete for the best talent by offering packages with the ‘X-factor’

Challenging market conditions have created a void in the availability of senior level talent, and retailers have to work very hard to attract senior executives into the organisation. Salary is clearly an important factor, but many other factors come into play so smart retailers are offering new hires a very personalised package which we describe as having the ‘X-factor’.

Talent shortages at the top are being created as executives decide to ride out the economic storm by staying put and also day to day job pressures do not allow time for retail professionals to think about career moves. Even executives who have been affected by redundancy are snapped up pretty quickly, especially those with in-demand skills such as e-commerce. This means retailers have to work very hard to attract senior executives into the organisation and whilst salary is clearly an important factor, retailers are putting other elements onto the negotiating table in order to offer the ‘X-factor’ over other employment opportunities the candidate may be considering.

For example many senior executives looking to move recognise how instrumental the CEO will be to their potential working environment and job role so the candidate wants to understand how the CEO operates, including chemistry, management style, access levels and engagement with senior managers. Whilst it’s not always possible for retailers to involve the CEO in the final stage of selection, retailers who can give candidates a good feel for how the CEO operates through current internal communications and employee engagement activity will help candidates get a feel for the job on offer beyond the raw job specification and salary numbers.

Other elements we see come into play during the negotiations can be around other soft benefits such as commitment to mentoring and training, flexible working hours, gym & health benefits, mobile phones and tablets. The economic climate and corporate structure of some of the larger retailers means that they cannot keep pushing the salary boundaries, but by offering a competitive salary together with thinking creatively around a range of soft benefits and career commitments retailers can provide executives looking to move with a compelling offer.