What happened to the days when people were just glad to have a job?
Those “good old days” are good and gone. What we’re living in now is a business environment that is definitely challenging but also rich with the opportunity to create a better experience for employees that can increase productivity and make it far more efficient.
But it requires a focus on managing the talent you have as well as offering value to the talent you’re trying to attract. Because if you don’t, you’re more than likely going to find that you’re lagging behind your competition—both for sales and for talented employees.
The workforce has changed—and it’s still changing. It’s becoming more diverse and more demanding and that makes it more difficult to attract and keep good talent. After all, there are far more jobs available than people looking for them. It’s a buyer’s market and that means there is a lot of competition for talent of all kinds—entry level, functional, high performance, and leadership.
Generation Y, commonly referred to as Millennials, have no problem leaving a company if they believe another one will offer them better technology, more flexibility and increased opportunities to grow. They don’t necessarily leave for more money either.
So, if you’re not offering today’s talent the experience they’re looking for—the best technology, exceptional benefits, flexible schedules and working arrangements, and meaningful work—you’re not able to attract best…or keep them.
That word “experience” is important. For years, we’ve all been talking about employee engagement and creating the right corporate culture. But today’s employee is searching for an experience that will fulfill them, one that works for the way they live. That goes beyond the traditional understanding of a corporate culture or making sure employees are engaged.
Does that mean you have to adapt everything about the way you do business to every single individual? No, but you do have to reject the “one size fits all” approach to management and understand that you have a diverse group of employees who don’t all want or need what companies have traditionally been providing.
For example, most businesses—if they’re honest with themselves—are designed for the 1970s when most women stayed home with children, men tended to stay with the same company for life, and, as we mentioned before, everyone was just glad to have the job.
You need to design your employee experience to match the needs of today’s workforce, so you’ll have them around tomorrow.
Allowing employees to use the best technology to provide them with the most flexibility is essential. Will it cost money? Certainly. But consider this: if you don’t offer it, employees will leave. That will wind up costing you more in recruitment, hiring, and retraining—as much as 10 times more.
How do you build an organization with an employee experience that goes beyond the typical corporate culture or traditional approach to employee engagement? Here are a few tips:
- First of all, don’t simply plan…actively build it. Work on it. Experiment. You can’t create it and then put it on a shelf. Consider an committee or task force to keep it alive.
- Provide opportunities where employees can build skills at their own pace, on their own terms.
- Empower teams rather than rewarding hierarchies.
- Identify key gaps between the kind of talent you have and who you’ll need to hire.
- Have a management plan that is designed to close those gaps, but also integrates with your strategic and business plans.
- Work hard to connect individual and team goals to corporate goals, so everyone – and everything feels aligned.
- Make sure you provide clear, achievable expectations and deliver feedback.
- Don’t focus solely on creating your strategy. Make sure you create all of the elements required to successfully implement it.
- Create goals and objectives that are measurable, so you can assess their success and impact.
Now is your chance to create processes and provide tools that will produce significant value. And it’s what you need to do to take the lead in what will likely be the most profound change to the workforce the business world has seen in a long, long time. Many of these shifts are requiring leaders to shed older, outmoded processes and procedures and embrace more agile systems for getting work done. Talent management leaders are asking themselves fundamental questions:
- If what we need for the future is unclear, how do we build a pipeline of talent?
- How can new technologies enable more effective talent acquisition?
- How do we balance diverse new talent with protecting our core identity?
- How do we help our employees be more agile?
- How do we organize if ‘top-down’ approaches aren’t effective?
- How do we shed old approaches that are ineffective, and prepare for new approaches?
These leaders can choose to hold on to the past or embrace and create the new. Playing it safe isn’t an acceptable option anymore. Answering the needs of your talent is where you should focus.
Marsh McLennan Agency has a long history of helping companies prepare for and handle change. To find out how we can help you make the transition to attracting and managing today’s talent, contact your MMA representative.