Home / Economy / Behind the Top Attractors: How we discovered the world’s best hirers and keepers of talent

Behind the Top Attractors: How we discovered the world’s best hirers and keepers of talent

New York city, Daniel Roth: A few months ago, AT&T’s CEO declared that his entire workforce of 280,000 people needed to learn new skills to support the company’s roadmap. The CEO of Goldman Sachs, a brand that for most of the world is the archetype of “Wall Street bank,” now tells anyone who asks that his company is actually a tech firm (and the fact that a quarter of its workforce is now engineers backs that up). The head of hiring at GM is so hungry for people to help build its autonomous car future that he told the Wall Street Journal he doesn’t need jobseekers to think about lifelong careers at the automaker — he just wants them “to stay longer.”

Nearly every company is going through or on the verge of going through a massive, tech-driven transformation — and the urgency to lure and keep the right talent to make that transition successful has never been more obvious. When Fortune recently surveyed the CEOs of the Fortune 500, 97% said that they expect to see more changes in the next five years than they went through in the last five. (More than 70% also said they were now tech companies — you’ve got competition, Goldman.) That kind of transition doesn’t happen through tweaks in products and multi-year planning. It requires the right people making the right decisions and solving the hardest problems.

In other words, being a talent magnet is going to be what separates the winners from the also-rans. Which is why this, our first Top Attractors list, is so essential. We set out to find the companies who were doing the best job at luring and keeping the working world.

How the list was assembled

The Top Attractors list is the first ranking of its kind to be based entirely on actions of users. As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has a constant pulse on what job seekers are doing about their careers. Our insights team, working with our global editorial team, analyzed literally billions of actions taken by our 433+ million members to come up with a blended score that we used to rank the winners in each geography. You can see the top companies across the world, or in particular countries: Australia, Brazil, France, India, U.K. and the U.S.

Our methodology leverages actions such as:

Job applications: Both the views and actual applications on job postings featured on LinkedIn.
Engagement: We factor in how many non-employees attempt to view and connect with a company’s employees; views on a company’s career page; reach and engagement of content; along with the growth in followers over the past year, among other metrics.
New Hire Staying Power: After a new employee joins, how long do they stick around?
We then normalized all the results to ensure that companies were measured against their peers versus the total universe of companies. So on the question of whether hires stick around, for example, we measured both the number of new hires in the last year still working at the company (absolute value) and the percent difference in rate of new hires staying with the company vs. industry peers.

Some final points: Our analysis was only run on companies with over 500 employees; included only actions taken in the 12 months ending in February; and, as with all LinkedIn Lists, excluded LinkedIn from consideration. One late-breaking call we had to make: The week before Top Attractors debuted, Microsoft announced that it was buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Since the deal hasn’t closed and LinkedIn had no ties to Microsoft during the data-gathering period, we opted to allow Microsoft to remain on the list this year.

What we learned

If you want to understand the trends and take-aways for what set these roughly 200 companies apart from their peers, check out Suzy Welch’s terrific look at the lessons she learned from digging into the data. Welch, the former editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review and best selling business author, spent weeks with the list and was left stunned at how disproportionately dominant tech companies were, as well as those who gave meaty responsibilities to their workers. She came to a clear conclusion: To hire the best, you better look good on their profiles and give people rewarding responsibilities fast.

Among some of the other ways that companies earned their way to being Top Attractors:

Cutting bureaucracy and creating simpler organizational structures.

Stryker attracts top talent partially by sticking to a (relatively expensive) decentralized structure. As CEO Kevin Lobo explained, business units operate independently, meaning employees can stay closer to end customers and quickly plan, ramp and market new ideas without worrying about corporate cruft.
Creating schedules and workplaces that offer ultimate flexibility.

According to a LinkedIn survey*, nearly half of American workers would forgo the corner office job and a high salary to gain more flexibility in their schedules.

PwC boasts of the ability to create compressed workweeks, working longer hours fewer days a week.
Westpac Group has stopped assigning desks in multiple offices. Now, employees sit in “neighborhoods,” and can work wherever best suits them: whether that’s a standing desk by the windows or a quiet conference table.
Suncorp Group allows employees to permanently work from home.
Offering surprising perks that go way beyond usual benefits plans.

Pandora and the U.K’s Lloyds Banking Group now pay for its workers to have gender affirmation surgery.
Google offers post-mortem financial support to the spouses and families of employees.
Salesforce consulted monks when constructing areas for mindfulness in its offices.
Origin Energy, Telstra and other employers in Australia now offer “domestic violence leave,” providing paid time off, flexibility and help to victims or those supporting them.
With the pace of change just accelerating, smart employers know that they have to rewrite their strategies and rethink who they’re competing with to survive. Those companies who can hire better and keep the best (even if only for a short tour of duty) are going to be the ones with better shots at making it to the other side of the transition. The Top Attractors have figured out how to position themselves to be in that pack.