Why giving your workers what they want wins their loyalty

October 26, 2021

Employee retention with Work in Any Way

Finding the right people always takes effort, but market conditions can dial that difficulty up or down. We’re in the middle of the biggest labor shortage in 15 years, with nearly 90% of American organizations saying it’s hard to hire. The pandemic forced some people into new lines of work and pushed others to rethink what they want from a job , with flexibility and workplace culture taking on increased importance. Net net: nailing your talent acquisition strategy matters now more than ever. Enabling choice, investing in the right tools and tech and, above all, flexing when and where it’s required are the keys to becoming a Work in Any Way company—and that’s the right approach to attract and retain workers with the skills you need to lead your industry.

Embrace choice

Reorienting your HR strategy around what your workers want (vs. what the organization wants) is being people-centric. It means understanding what will motivate existing talent and attract new hires. With 75% of Americans looking to work remote part- or full-time, flexible work arrangements are at the top of the list. But there’s a lot more to it than where they work. Are you primarily hiring for full-time positions? Rethink employment, including compensation and benefits, to incorporate other options. Adopting a Work in Any Way strategy that could include part-time roles, job sharing and especially gig work—the fastest-growing employment segment—enables your company to accommodate the so-called “liquid workforce” that’s looking for more freedom and flexibility.

Offer training and education

By 2030, 50 million people globally will need to be reskilled across a number of industries—a daunting prospect, to be sure. The good news is that this means a shift toward better paying work, and a lot of companies are already investing in the training necessary to up-level their workforce.

For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers has invested $3 billion in order to reskill every single worker by 2024. The initiative includes classroom learning, new online training tools, community projects to spread the new skills and training adapted to each market where they operate around the world. To create a thoughtful localized experience, they are partnering with the United Nations and World Economic Forum. They’ve also guaranteed employment to every team member who participates in the program.

People whose jobs aren’t on the verge of disappearing also value the opportunity to learn and grow. Creating a “coaching culture” and providing ongoing training and mentoring has high value, especially for younger team members. From MasterClass subscriptions and Ted@work to mentorship programs, companies are finding a variety of avenues to ensure their workers have the soft skills and expertise they need to advance.

“It is important to build a great company with a strong vision and mission focus that speaks to the kind of people you wish to attract.”

Alexander Young, CEO of Virti

Invest in culture

A survey of 5,000 workers across the U.S., U.K., France and Germany found that nearly 80% would consider a company’s culture, mission and/or purpose before applying for a job. And over half of the respondents said that job satisfaction depends more on company culture than salary. Together, those statistics offer compelling reasons to invest in a culture that appeals to the talent you want to target.

With a global workforce, part of creating a culture that unites and motivates people is eliminating geographical and technological barriers and constraints. Schneider Electric created what they call the Open Talent Market (OTM), an internal platform that helps their workers find new full- and part-time roles as well as stretch assignments and mentors/mentees. What once took as much as a month now can take just a few minutes, thanks to automation.

CHG Healthcare considers “putting people first” to be a core value. To them, that means lifting up others, supporting the community and handling conflicts with compassion. This comes out during the interview process, where they ask potential hires about everything from conflict resolution to personal integrity.

Prioritize wellness

Well-being is a top priority for many, with more than 50% of workers feeling overworked and 70% choosing gig work in search of a better work-life balance. Whether that means closing down a few extra days a year, offering unlimited vacation time, increasing mental health benefits or creating ways for people to connect in remote-first environments, organizations who address overall health and wellness will enable their people to tackle business problems productively and, perhaps more importantly, earn their team’s gratitude. Companies aren’t stopping with individual team members, either; they’re extending benefits like childcare and resources for aging parents beyond the employee to ensure the entire family is looked after.

A study of 2,000 managers and workers in 10 countries showed that 70% of respondents consider having a work friend to be the most important factor in workplace happiness and nearly two-thirds would be more likely to stay at their job longer if they had more friends. How do you bring people together to create personal bonds in a dispersed work environment? Repurposing office space into collaboration hubs, hosting company-wide retreats and designating times when people can log onto online conferencing systems to quietly collaborate or host informal catch-ups can all scratch that itch.

Work in Any Way

With the labor shortage projected to grow through the end of this decade, positioning your company so that it can successfully compete for talent must be at the heart of your long-term growth strategy. Designing dynamic employment relationships that offer workers what they want and can be reinvented as needed to keep up with shifting demands isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. In our view, that means creating a workplace that is people-centric, unbound and flexible—and always looking forward.

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