How messaging apps impact the war for talent

Nov 1, 2018 · 6 min read
Man holding a trophy with the title “Messaging apps & the war for talent.”
Man holding a trophy with the title “Messaging apps & the war for talent.”

There’s an interesting correlation between the war for talent and collaboration apps like Webex, Slack and Microsoft Teams. If you’re not using them, you could be losing key talent. As technology has progressed, the war for talent has seen a new edge. We’re talking about employee and interviewee empowerment.

The war for talent is a term coined by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company in 1997 and refers to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Hankin describes a mindset that emphasizes the importance of talent to the success of organizations.

When it comes to finding the right talent in 2018, the recruitment game has changed. No longer can you grill someone you’ve found online until they give you the right answer. The script has been flipped.

War for talent in 2018

When looking for a new job, the job seeker of today is not just looking for any job. They are looking for the job. The job where they can make the biggest impact, earn the most money and be trusted to do things the way they know works.

This means a combination of a few items that just weren’t considered in the past:

  • Flexible working: a skilled, experienced knowledge worker today knows how they are most productive. It could be in the office, a coffee shop or even their garden.
  • Messaging Culture: the definition of workplace culture has shifted significantly. How everybody interacts is no longer confined to the workplace. Here, we are talking about the attitude to responding to instant messaging. Or the expectation that everybody is happy to work overtime when we all know it’s counterproductive.
  • Tech: when an interviewee walks into a new firm, they may have better collaboration tech in their own pocket than the firm is currently offering for business use. The new recruit of today won’t just sit back and inherit the legacy, slow tech when they know there is a better way of working.

Failure to admit and adopt these simple considerations means you could lose out on the best talent that has taken the time to identify your business as a potential place of work.

Man using a tablet and a smartphone app at the same time
Man using a tablet and a smartphone app at the same time
Leading tech is crucial in the war for talent in 2018

What the vendors say


A recent Trust, Tools and Teamwork study by Slack revealed

“Companies looking to attract top talent must understand that workers today want workplaces and tools that enable an open culture of communication and collaboration”.

“70% of workers say the availability of Slack would be a factor when evaluating a job offer, ranking this even higher than a fitness stipend (62%), catered lunches (59%) and weekly happy hours (57%)”.

If you think about the wealth of software you have at your fingertips, it’s powerful. You can send a group message, a tweet or broadcast live to your audience with the touch of a screen. This is open communication and collaboration. So, why when you enter the workplace, do we take three steps back?


Cisco have been aware of the war for talent for years. They let their employees tell their own stories in blogs and on social media. But, they didn’t cover it up and make it seem really fancy. It was simple, pure and original presentation of the company experience. Within Cisco, it’s common knowledge that they use their own tools. John Chambers first referenced this in his book “The Cisco Way” by mentioning nobody eats their own dog food like Cisco. Cisco also proactively adopts Office 365 and other tools Cisco has made interoperable. This means employees that favour Microsoft tools can join without spending hours learning new apps and tools.


Microsoft have a unique position where people just want to work for them. The difference between Slack, Cisco and Microsoft is retaining talent once employees have their most desirable job. Microsoft launched LEAP in 2015. A program that combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on projects in a real-world development experience. The program offers three learning paths: software engineer, technical program manager, and support engineer. Interestingly, 95% land tech jobs with 50% staying on at Microsoft.

With regards to collaboration, Microsoft adopt a fairly open policy. Suggestion on various Microsoft employee forums is that it makes sense to stay within the Office 365 stack but all sorts of tools are used when required or preferred.

People putting different parts of a puzzle together in the mind
People putting different parts of a puzzle together in the mind
Slack Teamwork study

Remote work is the new normal

Fast Company recognizes 63% of employers have remote workers. The sheer amount of collaboration apps in the market place makes it easier than ever to enable remote working. Apps like Skype for Business and Cisco Jabber were long time leaders in softphone and collaboration apps. With the introduction of Slack, the market has boomed and everyone now has their own preference when at home, commuting or moving between sites.

There are now 230 alternatives to Slack. This means there really is no excuse for a firm to ban or not actively promote remote working. This doesn’t mean everyone has to work from home all the time. It does mean you hire someone, trust them to get on with their job, without needing them present. As long as your collaboration tech is secure and processes are solid, you can communicate better than ever before.

Man using laptop and messaging apps
Man using laptop and messaging apps
Messaging choice is crucial when the market is so fragmented

Remote interviewing

Whether you’re using Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams or any other collaboration tool, the hiring of an exceptional employee starts with your first communication. When you setup an telephone interview, you should be using video rather than just audio. Rather than having a chat to screen if the prospect is savvy enough to come in a meet you, start a video call and get to know your new recruit. If the next natural step is meeting your boss, invite them into the video conference and show off how you use the tech you have invested in.

The last thing a busy worker wants is to pay for trips into your office, to wait ten minutes in the lobby then speak to the decision maker.

Example of Remote interviewing and meeting apps
Example of Remote interviewing and meeting apps
Remote interview conducted on a tablet

Accommodating your new starter

Trust should be embedded from day one and employees need to be empowered with the tools they know and love.

If a millennial is given a dated messaging app, but a colleague has a nicer platform outside of the norm, they will use it. It’s more productive, no brainer. This leads to an unhealthy world of shadow messaging.

80% of employee app time is spent in group messaging. Why is deemed acceptable to dictate which app your new employee must use. There’s a famous saying from Steve Jobs that rings true over and over again. It’s especially relevant in this case.

Quote from Steve Jobs
Quote from Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

Switching the entire company to a new messaging app

Having to switch all your employees to your new recruit’s app of choice may sound like a nightmare. The good news is that you don’t have to. When multiple messaging platforms exist in your organization, Mio can provide messaging interoperability by connecting the platforms of your old and new employees.

Mio is simple to set up:

  • Sync all the chat apps your teams use by creating your Mio Hub (and read more about channel syncing here)
  • Add all teams, spaces & channels
  • Team members in your Mio Hub can immediately chat in DMs or groups with members on other platforms
  • File sharing, threaded messages, reactions and the ability to edit and delete messages are all supported
  • New channels or spaces are synced in the primary chat platform they prefer to use

If you are interested in exploring these options, we are here to discuss. To learn how Mio can sync multiple messaging platforms, schedule a demo with our team.

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