Today’s Talent Is Flexing Its Muscle

The pandemic slowly rumbles on, and businesses are noticing a fundamental shift occurring with employees gaining more influence over their work environments than ever before. Large scale hybrid working and remote working are fast becoming standard practice in the private sector, at least for the foreseeable future, as employees have had the last two years to experience for themselves if these working models actually do work in practice providing an improved work/life balance and a better sense of wellbeing overall.

Businesses working to retain their talent in the current churning waters of the recruitment market are becoming aware of the power that lies with employees whose priorities and goals have shifted in recent months. Companies are no longer safe in the knowledge that they provide good salaries, but have to compete not only in their sectors but also with more heavily weighted external factors influencing employees such as flexible work, training opportunities, suitable technology for remote working and the desire for a ‘healthy life balance’.

So how do businesses ensure that their top talent remains put? The current challenges present an opportunity for leaders to step back and look at what their company is currently offering employees and whether this is enough to not only retain current staff but also attract new hires. It is a time to examine the company culture, compensation, work processes, advancement and what management is doing to overhaul – or finetune – the parts that are holding the business back from the changes required. The competition is certainly critiquing and adjusting their own businesses.

Leaders need to drive the talent retention strategy from the point of view that the employees feel cared about as people, not merely as workers, and that the dynamic and more balanced relationship between the employees and their employers is based on mutual respect. The ‘one size fits’ all approach is outdated and will most likely not suit anyone anymore, with work flexibility becoming the new gold standard, both in terms of time and location.

Employees have embraced and appreciated the increased flexibility in their work over the last few years. Now, to make the most of this new flexible world of hybrid work, an inclusive and supportive company culture that rewards performance rather than presenteeism will sustain the strategy of flexibility and boost the wellbeing of staff. Leaders need to ensure clear guidelines are in place to create a level playing field for office-based and remote workers, which will further empower workers to set their own boundaries between work and home life. Importantly, they should also lead by example to foster a sense of unity as company culture begins at the top and heavily influences peoples’ decisions to remain at the organisation.

If the aspect of flexibility is being addressed and driven alongside employee wellbeing, while being carefully balanced with company productivity, talent retention will be positive, and will become a selling point to attract new and diverse hires. If there’s one thing the post-pandemic times are showing us, it is that people are not that flexible in giving up their newfound work flexibility, so why not embrace the new ways and make them work for you?