BUSINESSES from across the region came together at a seminar organised by a Basingstoke firm to underline the importance of nurturing talent.

Former Tesco HR director Roger Roberts spoke to delegates at the event, held at Barton’s Mill, in Old Basing, about having a strategy to attract, develop and retain talent.

He explained how the challenges faced by his former employer and the solutions implemented could be applied across a broad spectrum of businesses.

The breakfast event came at the end of a three-month initiative run by event organisers Reality HR, called Attracting and Retaining the Workforce of the Future, aimed at helping companies in the south create a positive culture, resulting in an engaged workforce and reduced recruitment costs.

Businesses and organisations attending the seminar included Group Rapport, Team Jobs, Secantor Business Services, The Flavourworks, The Royal Yachting Association, and RW Armstrong.

Topics discussed included the perils of looking for external talent instead of developing internal candidates, how to identify which employees want to progress within a business, and how to spot and nurture undiscovered talents.

A key discussion was held around ‘millennials’ and how recent research revealed that job attractions of the past, such as high pay, bonus schemes and rapid promotion, are no longer seen as priorities by today’s generation of new employees.

Sally-Ann Hall-Jones, chief executive officer at Reality HR, said: “We had some fantastic feedback about the event and Roger’s talk, which was engaging and thought-provoking. It was especially clear that the workforce of the future place huge value on a positive workplace culture, and initiatives such as flexible working.

“Every business has people at its heart, and success is not just about finding the right people – it’s about keeping them and helping them to grow.

“While external recruitment will always be necessary, there are huge benefits to creating a culture where employees feel valued and where those who want to progress are identified and nurtured.

“That in turn creates positive stories around the business, making recruitment easier. In short, looking after existing employees today means you are less likely to have to recruit externally tomorrow – and if you do need to bring people in, a positive culture means you are far more likely to attract and retain the right talent.

“It is important that businesses remain aware of changing attitudes, particularly among younger workers. Seeking support from a specialist HR consultancy is one effective way to stay ahead.”