Business hubs: The only way to attract talent?

This article was written by Nic Scott, CEO of cloud services HR provider Sage People and published in HRZone

Will businesses in future be concentrated around hubs – encouraging us to share knowledge, talent and resources? Or will business be able to thrive anywhere in the country and attract the best talent to them regardless of location?

The benefits of business hubs

For companies to grow and develop they need to be supported by quality infrastructure, including transport, telecommunications and technology. Business hubs offer high level services, providing companies with fast internet connectivity and access to teleconferencing facilities.

Hubs also have a lot to offer those that work in them. They provide a ready-made community, with great links to healthcare, transport and social amenities. They also help to bring together like-minded members of an industry – for example Silicon Valley for technology, or the City of London for finance – creating a focused point for industry innovation, best practice, and competition, thus helping workers to develop their skills.

In the search to find the best talent, companies need to consider the full package they offer potential employees. For many workers hubs seem a safer option when they consider their long-term options, as they can potentially offer a higher quality of lifestyle through, for example, on-site gyms or restaurants.

The impact on the search for talent

So do hubs help in the search for the best talent and skills? Certainly hubs are likely to act as magnets for graduates and talent, providing the companies located in them the opportunity to pick and choose from both new and experienced candidates. Hubs often spare companies from having to offer pricey relocation or expat packages, as workers are likely to move to hubs independently in order to increase their chances of finding work.

That’s not to say close proximity to talents pools is always essential to get the best candidates. There is a wide global talent pool businesses can turn to if they feel deprived of local talent as well as collaborations with companies based in other countries to share skills.

For those not in a hub

So for those not based in a hub, or unable to afford the usually higher price of real-estate associated with them, what can be done to find and attract the best talent?

  • Broaden your talent pool – The rise of the internet and social media has opened up a whole new pool of talent for businesses to search for staff. It is little wonder 80 percent of companies in 2012 planned to use social media to recruit, yet many struggle to do so efficiently. Without a well-designed process which puts potential candidates front-of-mind, many companies risk focusing recruitment efforts in the wrong areas. Your recruitment model should allow you to communicate steadily and consistently with applicants using traditional methods, such as email, as well as newer media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Consider the whole package – As previously mentioned, hubs often win the war on talent because they offer candidates a ‘lifestyle’ rather than ‘just a job’. If you are struggling to find people with certain skills or regularly lose quality staff to other businesses then perhaps it is time to assess what else you can offer staff outside of the workplace. Regularly survey your employees about what benefits they would like or if they are finding certain things difficult, such as transport links or working hours.
  • Up your tech – Potential employees will be judging your company as soon as you approach them. Making sure your website and social channels are up-to-date is easy and can have a big impact. As can luring talent with a new laptop or smartphone. Aim to match the level of technology available at hubs. Consider upgrading your internet speed as well as investing in new hardware and software to make the working environment more appealing to existing and potential employees.
  • Streamline your processes – Where possible automate your human resource management processes. The perfect person for the job may already be a part of your organisation, but without a central record of employees’ skills and qualifications it can be impossible to find them. Find a solution which can span the entirety of HR – including recruitment, development, compensations and pensions.

Although there are many benefits that hubs can offer companies, it is of course possible to thrive anywhere in the country provided you can find the quality workers to support your growth.

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