All unprecedented times veer towards an eventual end. After extraordinary upheavals, caused by the pandemic, in sectors across the world, the first thing that industry leaders will need to focus on is talent management. It is all about identifying and sieving out the crème de la crème, which is based on skill, intent, agility, and resilience. Here are a few things that business leaders should look at to win the great talent war.
Putting employees first
The pandemic has demonstrated the advantage of the work-from-home scenario. Most employees have attested to the fact that work from home has ensured a better work-life balance, improving productivity in the process. It has also enabled them to use the time that they would have spent on commuting to work, to upskill themselves and towards self-and team leadership.
Hence, a hybrid work culture should be actively promoted for great employee experience, connection, and collaboration. It is also very important to realize that ‘return to office’ is never going to be the same. So, accepting the change and fostering a culture of empowerment and trust, one where employees have the freedom to select the work environment that works best for them and their team members. Flexibility is the key and it helps develop trust in the long run.
A positive employee value proposition
There is no denying that employees and culture are the big differentiators in any organization’s success. The first step towards this is diversity and inclusion --- two values that most organizations are looking at with increased interest. A solid employee value proposition ensures that your hiring processes are competent, helps appeal to various markets and tough-to-attract diverse talent pools, re-engages a disenchanted workforce, builds credibility, and creates a strong brand. All in all, it answers an employee’s question, “Why should I work here?” and is instrumental in retaining talent.
Skill them up
The pandemic has shown employees how important it is to upskill themselves. Most of them have used the gift of time that WFH offers and ensured that their professional profiles look stellar. The trend should continue, and organizations have a big role to play in creating a culture of learning and development.
In the new era, the top three skills employers look for are proactive problem solving, analytical skills, and self-motivation. In-house capability building initiatives can include developmental interviews with the top talent, mentoring, coaching, stretch projects, opening opportunities for 70:20:10 learning model, carving out horizontal and potential career paths, defining Individual development path (IDP), and enabling employees to develop in a wholesome manner.
Businesses should provide a platter of options to empower employees to make the best learning choice for themselves. Growth and enablement are key to address any skill gap. Develop customised re-skilling programs, offer curated contents, define learning paths using e-learning platforms to encourage employees to bridge the gap for future skill requirements. Organisations should promote the right ‘skill mix’ according to aspirations and business requirements. Promoting internal talent mobility is like feeding employee aspirations by providing great opportunities. It is better to put good talent in another role within the organization than to lose them to market. This way, it also reduces pressure on hiring and promotes building talent over hiring talent. Bringing in your partner or friend also increases stickiness.
Next comes employee recognition. When it comes to employees, how can we nurture that feeling of ‘gratefulness’ as our way of life? And for organisations, it is so important to take time to appreciate the contribution, and design need-based awards. Building a culture of appreciation is an ongoing effort.
The pandemic and the spurt in e-learning have broken barriers, opening opportunities for people in remote locations. Since the overall employee tenure has shortened, investing in a smart onboarding platform will ensure a quick transition of any new joiner to the desired role and organisational culture. It is time to show resilience and pick up an agile approach to quickly ride the wave of transformation. Sustainability, learning, flexibility --- these will be the weapons in the arsenal to win the great talent war.
This article was first published in October 2021.