5 things your employees aren’t telling you (that you need to know)

07/12/2021

Karen Warnemuende

Global Vice President

1 in 4 workers are planning to look for a new job when the pandemic is over, according to recent research. This number gets even bigger when we focus on millennials or parents who are juggling remote learning. A talent tsunami is coming, and, in many places, it’s already hit – the same survey found that 1 in 5 workers have changed their line of work entirely over the past year. The pandemic has transformed how people see work and the way they think about their future careers. So, how can employers stay ahead of the game when it comes to attracting and retaining the talent they need?

To continue to access and engage great talent, organizations must actively listen to and understand the people they are connecting with, whether they are existing staff or potential candidates. Businesses that are leading the way have a deeper understanding of what really matters to their people and will be where the best of this talent tsunami lands.

We work with our consulting and Vantage customers to understand the talent landscape on a molecular level – from maturity assessments to custom intelligence and value proposition reviews – and this gives us an insider view of talent wants and needs. In this blog, I explore the big (and sometimes hidden) issues that workers are focused on right now, and how organizations can tap into the huge potential this seismic shift in mindset brings.

They’re worried about career growth.

For many people, the pandemic was an opportunity to stop, take a breath, and think about where they are heading. Perhaps in 2019, it seemed ok to meander along in a role, but in a post-pandemic world, it feels like everything is more urgent. In the Prudential Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 80% of workers said they were concerned about career growth. Employers can no longer assume their employees are happy with the status quo. Talent maturity assessments can help leaders to shape the ways they support and advance their workers.

They want to choose how they work.

Remote work has become a leading story of the pandemic. It’s generated endless column inches and inspired heated arguments, but what we’re hearing from workers is that most want to work remotely (at least part of the time). A PwC survey found that 55% of employees would like to be remote at least 3 days per week, while 21% of executives think employees should be in the office 5 days a week. A disconnect between C-suite and employee expectations could see some businesses overseeing a mass rush for the exit. We’ve been working with our customers to deliver custom intelligence on hybrid and fully remote models, and organizations that lead the way on virtual working are likely to win out in the race for talent.

They are rethinking their skillsets.

Reskilling and retooling employees has always been critical, but now more than ever, people expect flexibility from their career path. Millennials and Gen Z workers don’t expect to sit inside a single track in a single industry for their entire career. They want to curate a collection of career experiences that make for a rounded and interesting journey. Those businesses that take a macro view of skillsets and apply them across multiple areas will not only be more adaptable than their competitors; they will enjoy a greater depth of knowledge within their workforce.

They are retraining on their own time.

The pandemic gave many of us extra downtime, and not all of that was spent binging TV. Many people took this extra time and applied it to self-improvement. Whether this was gaining new qualifications or taking a course on a subject they had been passionate about since they were at school, this enthusiasm for learning is something that organizations can harness. Understanding where your employees’ passions lie and finding new ways to bring these skills inside their role or a potential future role is a great way to grow meaningful engagement.

They’re scrutinizing your DEI commitment.

Social justice is a hugely important issue for people of all backgrounds right now and organizations can no longer sit on the sidelines when it comes to DEI. People want to know how businesses are actively championing access to work for all types of individuals, and they want to see diverse leadership groups, including people they identify with. When I moved into this industry 25 years ago, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me in prominent positions. Women with families simply didn’t occupy senior leadership roles. Now, they are highly visible, and that’s incredibly inspiring – but this needs to be the case across all diverse groups. To be a most-wanted employer, organizations have to show an authentic and evolving commitment to DEI.

I’m lucky enough to work with some trailblazing companies that are experiencing periods of intense and exciting growth. To fuel this success, they have leaned into these growing trends rather than trying to force employees into a traditional mold. These are the types of innovative businesses that are going to be the out-and-out winners of the talent tsunami. These are the places that people will want to be, while businesses that try to turn back the clock or stand still struggle to fill roles.

We can’t (and shouldn’t) go back to how things worked pre-pandemic, and it’s critical that employers actively listen to and engage with their employees and potential employees. If you’d like to discuss this blog or find out how we can help your organization thrive as post-pandemic trends take hold, get in touch. I’d love to hear your take on this topic and hear about your people challenges.

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