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Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking

FOUR RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION TIPS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK

2022-05-24 17:51

Cathryn Barnard

Blog, EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, TALENT RISK, RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION, FUTURE OF WORK, INTERNAL COMMUNICATION, HIGH-PERFORMING TEAMS, ALIGNMENT, PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY, FUTURE OF WORK CONSULTING, RECRUITMENT,

FOUR RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION TIPS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK

At a business mastermind earlier this month, each attendee was invited to share their biggest challenge. Without exception, every business leader cited...

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At a business mastermind last month, each attendee was invited to share their biggest challenge. Without exception, every business owner cited recruitment and retention as their primary concern.


It’s unsurprising. According to the CIPD, almost half of employers are struggling to fill vacancies in 2022. It’s adding enormous pressure to an already molten labour market.


With hybrid working here to stay, modern workers are demanding far more flexibility and better integration of work and life. The early data suggests failure to offer flexible working is now a showstopper for many.


When skill shortages have escalated in the past, the traditional response has been to increase salaries. But as pandemic and war-induced global supply chain shortages take hold, wage inflation compounds tension for already stressed businesses.


While the cost of living is a worry for all of us, it’s worth also thinking laterally. Money isn’t everything. Time and again it’s been shown that what modern workers seek most is autonomy, purpose, relationship and a sense of belonging. Team dynamics and a positive work environment are key to retention.


Addressing recruitment and retention challenges in 2022 requires fresh leadership thinking about what motivates people and teams at work.


These dynamics are key not just for hiring and keeping staff, but also for high-performance and sustained commercial resilience.


Let’s explore four ways to improve recruitment and retention outcomes...


1)    Amplify your organisational purpose and vision

A clearly articulated business purpose and vision is essential. Now we’re working flexibly and remotely, strong and consistent leadership communication is mandatory.


A well-defined purpose, particularly one that factors in societal and environmental commitments, is essential today to attract talent. Job seekers want to know who they’re working for.


As global challenges escalate, most of us want to know our work counts for something, and that our employers are stepping up as a force for good in the world. We want hope.


Clearly defined purpose and vision are also key to team alignment and focus. 


In the 2020s, 24/7/365 newsfeeds are overwhelming. We’re all beholden to our smartphones and attention is continuously disrupted. Leadership communication must cut through the noise to help staff focus on priorities.


At its core, your purpose tells your team why your business exists and the problem it solves in the world.


By contrast, your vision tells your stakeholders where you’re headed and what the world will look like once your business has made its contribution.


Done well, these are both heart-stories that form emotional bonds. In increasingly turbulent labour markets, consistent reinforcement of these key messages will differentiate your business from the rest.


2)    Build an environment of trust and inclusion

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer is always fascinating. As global uncertainty escalates, the public has lost faith in Government. People now look to their CEOs to act as a force for good and to address societal and environmental issues.


As business leaders, we’re the adults in the room now.


It’s our moral responsibility to show up and be the best that we can be, moving business, and society, forward in a way that transcends pure profit.


When we prioritise trust as a cornerstone of business, we automatically embed openness and inclusion.


When we prioritise trust, we build psychologically safe workplaces that encourage our people to share their ideas. Innovation and creativity are enhanced and better customer solutions evolve. 


3)   Embrace continuous learning

We’re in uncharted territory, economically, societally and environmentally.


The challenges ahead fundamentally threaten our human organising systems. The way we live and work is about to change. Forever.


As commercial landscapes become increasingly complex and unpredictable, the only way organisations can survive is by embracing continuous learning as ‘the new normal’.


There’s no alternative - the pace and scale of disruption means we’re all now in ‘perpetual beta’ mode.
Organisations that don’t adapt won’t make the cut.


Prioritise learning in real-time and on-the-job. Create a learning culture where people come to share ideas and insights. Encourage every person on your team to come to work with fresh eyes to figure out how to do things differently.


4)   Communicate, communicate, communicate

Modern life is worrying. We’re hyperconnected and completely disconnected from one another at the same time. But human connection underpins resilience, which we all need right now. 


As such, world-class continuous communication at work is essential.


It may feel as if we’re endlessly repeating ourselves, but in the digital age, you can’t ‘over-do’ human communication. It builds relationship, connection, belonging, and commitment to keep pushing forward.


Marketing strategist Seth Godin recently wrote:


“Tell us what we need to know. Not because you need to hear yourself repeat it, but because you believe we need to hear it.”


The all-digital world allows us to connect with others anytime, anyplace, anywhere. But digital reduces context and nuance, increasing the potential for misunderstanding.


Clear, consistent communication provides direction and breeds alignment.


When we understand what we’re doing and feel valued as part of the team, we’ll work harder to deliver results.

 

High team performance isn’t a hard science. It’s soft and emotive and requires the tenacity to show up, day after day, in the hope of building something better.


Commercial survival now requires deeper understanding of the complexity of human nature. No business leader can expect to retain the loyalty and commitment of internal teams or external customers without taking the time to understand their unique needs and preferences.


This may sound time-consuming, but to our minds, given all the research we’ve analysed, it’s a deal-breaker. To attract and retain growth-critical talent in the future of work will require mass customisation of organising approaches.


Rehumanising how your business approaches recruitment and retention in the first instance will most definitely set you on the path to longer term resilience and improved success outcomes.

 

Get in contact today for a no-obligation conversation about how we can help reboot your recruitment and retention strategies.

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Looking to dive deeper into some of the areas covered in this blog post? Check out our Navigating Talent RiskRecruitment and Retention and Foresight Focus reports and products.

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