The impact of the Great Resignation is being felt around the world as companies across industries grapple with increased competition for talent and rising employee expectations.
Roughly 4 million US workers left their jobs in April 2021 alone, representing a 20-year high in resignation rates. Similar trends are occurring in the UK, where job vacancies soared past one million in July, their highest ever levels.
These trends are likely to sharpen over time, as Microsoft research shows that 41 per cent of the global workforce is considering leaving their current employer during the next year, with 46 per cent planning to make a major pivot or career transition.
Reejig recently brought together industry leaders from KPMG, John Holland Group, and BHP to discuss how organisations can address this urgent concern by baking value and purpose into the core of their workforce.
Businesses need to revamp their talent strategies to attract and retain the skills they need to grow. The pandemic has given people time to reflect on what’s truly important. They expect employers to value their skills and support their professional ambitions.
While the Great Resignation is a point-in-time event, the impact of these trends will have permanent ramifications. Talent professionals must employ tactics to respond to these trends now, with the view of creating a long-term, sustainable strategy that enables you to build resilient workforces that can absorb whatever lies ahead.
That’s what we’re calling ‘the Great Reejig’. It isn’t a one-off event, but a permanent change in how we think about the world of work. It involves creating a culture of zero wasted potential, where every individual is valued and has access to a meaningful career.
Here are four tips from the webinar to help you build value and meaning into talent strategies and foster a sustainable workforce that’s fit for the future.
Get your people leaders to take charge
Rob Dunderdale, Head of Talent, Analytics and Operations at KPMG has seen skills challenges sharpen across digital, risk, and cyber, which are historically shallow pools that have just gotten that little bit shallower during the pandemic.
He says it’s vital that organisations build meaningful connections with their workforce across the board. That requires experienced leaders in talent teams to step up and foster a sense of value and purpose.
“People know what they want, they want to feel valued,” Dunderdale says. “People will stay in an organisation if they feel truly connected to the leader from a trust, empathy and compassion perspective.”
Dunderdale also says fostering an agile perspective on reskilling and upskilling people is essential. He advises futureproofing your workforce and making sure they feel a strong connection to the wider organisation.
Emphasise choice and ‘role-mance’ your candidates
The balance of power has shifted to candidates like never before, which makes competing for talent much more difficult. Rachael Jamieson, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at BHP, emphasises the need to “hyper-personalise” candidate experiences with flexibility and choice at the heart.
“We’re seeing a big shift in terms of differentiated experiences,” Jamieson says. “Talent wants to be role-manced –no one wants to have 10 conversations ahead of a hire, instead build relationships and connection around purpose and careers pathways fast, instead of just getting a contract at the end of a laborious process.”
She also advises talent leaders to gain a complete understanding of the total talent marketplace, including what they already have internally. This involves building a comprehensive knowledge of internal skills, motivation, and potential to assess how individuals could develop in a way that benefits themselves and provides value to the business.
Think outside of the box
As an essential services organisation tasked with building some of Australia’s most critical infrastructure, John Holland has a highly desirable set of skills in its workforce. Attracting talent isn’t easy, so the organisation has built an innovative approach to retaining and upskilling its people.
Of the roughly 3000 placements John Holland makes every year, approximately half are internal moves. This is a figure the organisation is keen to increase, with Recruitment, Resourcing, and Talent Acquisition Lead, Daoud Edris, emphasising the importance of understanding skills, how they’re transferable to new roles, and structuring roles to maximise the value of particular skillsets.
“We’ve got 5500 people in our business, with the vast majority on projects. We need people to realise they’re part of a larger organisation, and not just the project they’re working on,” Edris says. “Getting that sense of belonging back into a bigger entity, belonging to something more than the work you’re doing right now, that’s a key thing that will retain really good people.”
Gather everyone around a common purpose
Reejig CEO Siobhan Savage says organising people around a common cause is one of the most important elements of making people feel valued. Employees want to make a difference and rally behind an ethos. It’s imperative that organisations are communicating their values in a profound way that makes people feel inspired.
“During COVID, we all had to rethink what life and purpose means to us. You get one time here, and a lot of folks rethought their own career philosophy, in terms of what their work means and what they want to be a part of,” Savage says.
“It’s obvious when companies are ‘window dressing’ their own impact, and you can tell what’s real and what isn’t. Having an impact and standing for something is really important.”
The Great Reejig represents a changing of the guard. The old methods of ‘spraying and praying’ job adverts don’t work in an environment where people want to feel valued, inspired and motivated.
Talent managers have to be proactive and target the right people with the right message. That means communicating impact in a way that gets people invested. It also means devoting time, energy, and capital into understanding what really matters to the individuals of your workforce.
Reejigging your workforce with a vision for the future
It’s never been more exciting to be in the talent industry. As everything changes all around us, we have the opportunity to be pioneers, carving a new vision for a sustainable workforce that can handle anything.
That’s what the Great Reejig is about. It’s an opportunity – not to break things and start fresh – but to tweak existing processes while emphasising what matters most to your people.
What we do now will have a profound impact on the industry going forward. That’s an incredible thing to be a part of and it’s inspiring to see how the industry is adapting and equally thrilling to think about what lies ahead.