The challenges of recruiting and retaining talent

Laure Michel

Laure Michel, Director of Recruitment and HR Leader, looks back at the major challenges facing her function in the context of the new strategic plan.

With Impact, Wavestone has set itself ambitious goals in terms of workforce growth...

The main objective of our Impact strategic plan is to replicate Wavestone’s success in France on an international scale by 2025.

From an HR perspective, this means that we must be equally effective in terms of recruitment and retention in all our geographies. We need to adapt to our local markets, taking into account the specificities that work in the offices, and at the same time take advantage of the HR & recruitment know-how that has been developed in France for a long time, to organize scale-ups, particularly in the UK, the US and Asia.

On the recruitment side, the challenge is to attract more than 1,000 new employees by offering them the best candidate experience, allowing them to make an informed decision while not compromising on the level of requirements expected in terms of development potential and fit with the company culture.

This year, Wavestone has demonstrated its ability to recruit by exceeding its initial target of 900 new hires. However, in a context of strong tension on talent, we must continue to work on our attractiveness and our e-reputation, in particular by capitalizing on our place in the Great Place To Work® ranking to succeed in maintaining this dynamic.

This year, Wavestone is at the top of the Great Place To Work® France ranking, yet the firm's turnover is higher than the usual figures. Is this a structural trend?

Employee retention is our biggest challenge today and will remain so tomorrow. The Covid-19 epidemic has accelerated employees’ questioning of their relationship with work and the meaning of what they do in the company. At the same time, with the recovery, the struggle for talent has become intense again in a very competitive market. Turnover has risen to 18% at the end of March 2022. Our objective in 2022/23 is to gradually return to a level of 15%.

In the short term, the key will be the proximity and quality of management, which is decisive in creating the commitment that pushes each person to develop their full potential. At Wavestone, we are therefore very attentive to the choice of Career Development Managers who are responsible for guiding and helping employees integrate and develop over the long term within the firm. To meet the demands of this role, HR teams must work to provide greater support for managerial action. They must also ensure that they are closer to employees throughout their career, not just during the integration period.

Making Wavestone one of the best training schools for consultants throughout their careers is another way to build loyalty. This is a strong expectation on the part of our employees, and one that our clients also share. In fact, we have made this one of the ambitions of the Impact plan.

Beyond that, the “new ways of working” are key to engaging teams in the long term. As an example, the Smartworking@Wavestone project, launched in September 2021, represents an opportunity for us to redesign our working methods and be more in line with the expectations of our talents.

Speaking of Smartworking...what are its goals and where is the project at?

The project has several objectives:

  • A better mobilization of our competences by going beyond our geographical borders
  • Improved retention and increased attractiveness of the firm
  • A better quality of life at work
  • Reducing our carbon footprint

Since last September, we have been in a large-scale experimentation phase. Each of our business units has been given complete freedom to test new ways of working. Based on the feedback and best practices, a very open working environment for employees that emphasizes flexibility and responsibility will be shared by the beginning of the 2022 school year. However, implementing new ways of working in a sustainable way remains a demanding and long-term process for all of us. Smartworking@Wavestone will therefore live on and be adjusted and enriched regularly, while we pursue the transformations necessary for its efficiency and sustainability.