How To Win in the War For Talent

It might seem contradictory, but in our world which is getting more techy every day and where artificial intelligence is taking over jobs at the speed of light, the human element is still a major force behind any successful company. As such, it should not come as a surprise that many businesses will go out of their way to design a well-thought through employee experience, and translate this into fancy employee journeys. Similarly, recruiters  are no longer looking for “new employees” but rather for “talent”, so much so that an actual war for talent has emerged. But, if you think about it, it is actually quite logical. At the end of the day, any business boils down to people. Properly understanding the human element in business, will lead to better hires, less employee turnover, higher quality work, more efficiency and eventually profitability. So, next to attracting talent, this war for talent also involves retaining it. Let’s zoom in.

“Generation Z is likely to change jobs as many as 10 times between the age of 18-34 and 44% of millenials are expected to leave their jobs within the coming two years.”

Changing Demographics
The workforce’s face is changing and it is changing rapidly. 20 years ago, it was still dominated by baby boomers and generation X, who were driven by materialism, status and would spend decades climbing up the company ladder. Today, millennials (or generation Y) make up roughly 50% of the workforce. To add to that, generation Z, born after 1995, is making its way onto the labor market too. These generations have completely different ideas about work than previous generations. They value, freedom, flexibility and it is important to them that they do meaningful work. If this is not the case, they will simply change jobs. To illustrate, generation Z is likely to change jobs as many as 10 times between the age of 18-34 and 44% of millenials are expected to leave their jobs within the coming two years, according to research by Staffbase. To boomers, those numbers must sound crazy. Thus, the developments show that employees are less loyal to a company than they used to be and that companies will need to go the extra mile to prove they are worth of gen Y’s and gen Z’s precious time. After all, talent is scarce. So, what can companies do get a piece of the pie?

1. Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority
Engaging workplaces usually don’t go unnoticed. 87% of organizations consider maintaining a strong company culture and employee engagement a top challenge, however, less than half of those companies believe they do not have a good enough employee retention program in place. So, something is going wrong here. In order to turn those numbers around, it could be an idea to introduce a company wide engagement board. This board would then be responsible for guarding and promoting a rich engagement culture, by understanding engagement from the employees’ point of view. Based on the generated insights, the team can develop strategies to further enhance employee engagement.

2. Get Flexible
As mentioned earlier, the new workforce highly values flexibility. Thus, if you are looking to retain those smart kids, it would only be logical to really offer the flexibility desired. Seriously, gen Y and gen Z want to be able to work any time from anywhere, so you might want to get creative when it comes to allowing holidays, working remotely or scheduling meetings. Naturally, this demands a shift in the way we think about management, work style and the way we trust. A common pitfall is that managers tend to be afraid their staff doesn’t actually work when they are not in their field of vision. Ironically, the office is an extremely ineffective place to get work done, as we highlighted in this blogpost. As such, getting flexible could also involve redesigning the organizational structures or rethinking the concept of authority. All those factors, should then also be reflected in the company culture. 

3.The Psychological Angle
Key is, to create an environment and atmosphere in which people actually enjoy spending time. That is, companies will need to get inside the heads of their employees to find out what makes their clocks tick. Therefore, it could be an idea to get some social scientists on board. Unsurprisingly, organizational psychology is one of today’s fastest growing professions. Such professionals could provide valuable insights on longer-term organizational design. That includes how companies hire, recruit, design work spaces, manage or even run entire departments.

To conclude, the talent for war is serious and companies are struggling with attracting and retaining talent. The new generations highly value autonomy and flexibility and easily switch jobs when something is not to their liking. As such, companies should design strong company cultures: environments where people feel free, involved and purposeful. Therefore, employee engagement, redesigning the concept of flexibility and understanding the workplace from a psychological standpoint should be high on your corporate agenda.

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

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