Future-proofing your talent strategy for 2023

By Liz Tolcher

In this post Pandemic era, the ‘great resignation’ is still grabbing the headlines. On average, one in five people are actively looking for a new job, with figures considerably higher in financial services industry (26 percent), IT (30 percent) and telecoms (26 percent).

Although the impact may have been overstated to some degree, a paradigm shift in the employer-employee relationship is palpable, with employees seeking more of a partnership with their employer and confidently demanding what they want. Additionally, ‘quiet quitting’ – the practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to – is on the rise.

Better pay and benefits, improved job satisfaction, and greater work-life balance have long been reasons as to why people move to a new organisation, but now those motivations are more complex. People want flexibility, digital empowerment, strong and sensitive leadership, and social consciousness. They want to work for an organisation with purpose.

Organisations need to fundamentally change their approach to talent management to avoid a significant negative impact on the bottom line. The cost of replacing individuals who leave their current roles can be as much as double their salaries, demonstrating the significant impact of failing to retain employees. Not only that, compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile realise substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, and better retention.

To improve talent management, walk in the shoes of your workforce, broaden your approach to talent attraction, and manage your employee proposition like a brand. Together, these three strategies will help you attract and retain dedicated, engaged employees.

Walk the proverbial mile in the shoes of your team

Do you really understand your current workforce? Do you know who they are, what makes them tick, why they work for you, and what’s in it for them? How do they view the employer-employee relationship, and how does work fit in with the rest of their life?

In a fiercely competitive market, employees expect empathy from their leaders. Thinking of your workforce as you would a customer segment – creating personas and mapping their pains, gains, motivations, and frustrations – can be a very useful tool towards required transformation. Use this understanding of your teams to develop testable hypotheses, for instance, about how mental wellbeing impacts productivity, and substantiate or disprove them with data from insight platforms. Some of the ways you can do this include engagement surveys, bringing in your employees to co-design new employee experiences in a bottom-up approach and running interactive workshops to understand the change in peoples’ purpose and values. Using data outputs from these examples and comparing them with your incumbent HR data can deepen your understanding of demographic trends and needs, ensuring that you are able to meet the demands of the workforce. The results will help shape global strategies and reimagine the future of employees’ working lives.

Broaden your approach to talent attraction

Here, it pays to be a pioneer. Try new approaches and see what works, building this into your talent acquisition strategy. To broaden your appeal to potential applicants, introduce strength-based recruitment, promote location agnostic roles, and offer a variation of employment contracts to meet diverse demographic needs. Build Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) into your recruiting process, and smooth out unconscious bias through fair recruitment policies.

Prospective employees want to see that your organisation is transparent and open. Simple ways to build trust and transparency include engagement with sites like The Muse and Glassdoor, as well as running blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and creating Instagram stories showing a ‘day-in-the-life’ of certain roles. These can be hugely powerful, especially when engaging with the younger generation of talent. It’s important to know what content your target audience want to engage with most and what their expectations are. Many firms also partner with other organisations to navigate emerging talent risks. PA partners with WithYouWithMe, a social impact organisation founded by veterans, whose mission is to create a world where people are seen, hired, and developed based on their skills and potential. Employers should look to understand where the challenges are in the market against what their forward demand is- where there’s a risk or shortage, ensure that you seek accelerators that can help to narrow the gap and widen the talent pool.

Manage your employee value proposition like a brand

As the labour market continues to be squeezed, newer aspects of the employee value proposition are becoming increasingly important, especially values and purpose. This includes more comprehensive support for working families as well as individuals and couples on their journey towards parenthood. Employees increasingly benefit from the flexibility to work remotely, and from structured opportunities to create social value as part of their work. The challenge for leaders is to focus not just on existing populations, but to think ahead and identify what future talent pools might want.

The challenges of identifying, attracting, and retaining top talent have been accelerated over the last few years. Taking practical steps today to meet the new and evolving needs of both your current and future workforce are essential will help you lead the way, developing a robust talent strategy that moves with the times. From employee value propositions (EVP), new employee experiences and everything that talent touches underneath, those that don’t course correct now, will lose out to those who innovate.

About the authors

Liz Tolcher PA workforce transformation expert

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