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How top brands are using corporate fitness to win the war for talent

Fungai Alexander Mapondera
2 min read

First highlighted by McKinsey's Steven Hankin in 1977, the phrase 'war for talent' has become synonymous with the ever-shifting ecosystem of talent attraction and retention that companies face. The challenge faced by companies today is as real as it was 30 years ago, with the only difference being that today it is exacerbated by a complex modern workplace that is a fusion of technology and employee expectations.

The war for talent in numbers

Below are some statistics that lend credence to the reality of the war for talent today

  • A summary from a McKinsey Quarterly projection for 2020 noted:

    • Global shortage of 40 million university-educated workers

    • Developing economies face 45 million fewer high-school educated and vocationally trained workers

    • In the OECD, up to 95 million workers have insufficient or no skills required for employment

  • In pointing to staff training as a winning strategy to tackle talent shortage, a Manpower Group report following a survey of over 42,000 employers stated that:

    • 40% of companies are experiencing difficulties filling roles, the highest level since 2007

The drivers of war for talent

Earlier the article highlighted the contributions technology and employee expectations are making to the challenges of talent attraction. Nevertheless, there are other more subtle drivers among them demographics and the changes in the labour market mainly around the talent competition.

For the former, we see how, according to a report by PwC, the millennial demographic group is already the largest and is set to account for 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2025. While on the other hand the iGen (Gen Z), the cohorts to the millennials have started creeping towards the workplace.

For the latter, talent competition, a recent article by The Economist noted how top technology companies are cherry picking talent directly from the lecture rooms of top Ivy League universities. This has left a shortage of highly sought after talent on the market and top brands are feeling the pressure. It is not so long ago that the notion of General Motors competing for talent with Apple or Google would have been laughable. However today in the advent of autonomous or driverless cars, it is reality.


Winning the war for talent

In signalling their intentions to remain competitive in the labour market, most companies have turned to employee benefits with health, fitness and wellness being at the centre of it all. In a poll by online jobs platform, Monster, 88% of the 3'500+ respondents said they saw great value in employee programmes that address their health, fitness and wellness, even though only 20% had access to them.

The health, fitness and wellness programmes separating the winners from the losers come in different shapes and sizes. Among these are access to gym membership, fruit baskets in the office, team freeletics sessions and outdoor activities like corporate runs.

In North America and Europe where the trend started, corporate runs are cited as an employee favourite for not only the health benefits attained in a fun and positive atmosphere, but also for the team building opportunities they present. One of the brands seeing benefits for its staff in this area is football club Borussia Dortmund, whose CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke said, "More and more companies recognise the positive effects of the group activity. Sweating together brings people together."

For other top brands like Siemens AG, BP etc., it is all about packaging the corporate run into an unforgettable 'employee experience' from CEO to trainee, in the hope of staying ahead in the war for talent. Ralf Franke, Corporate Medical Director at Siemens AG, tasked with driving corporate fitness noted as a result of departments getting together to run, has resulted in a boost in team spirit and the promotion of collaboration and inter-departmental networking.

If you would like to know more about the B2Run corporate run series and how your company can participate please complete the form below and one of our team members will get back to you.