The term “War for Talent” was coined as a book title more than 20 years ago. Today’s challenges represent a different world entirely. Employers are having problems hiring, but they are also bleeding seasoned employees in unprecedented numbers. Job seekers refuse to take an offer they would have accepted, as a matter of course, just a year or two ago.
More than half of workers worldwide now say they would quit their jobs if not provided schedule flexibility after the survey, according to the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey.
Dispensing with the daily commute is just part of it. People have been reevaluating their lives over the past two years. Many aren’t willing to return to jobs they consider unfulfilling. They want more from their employers than a paycheck.
Salaries that are competitive remain at or near the top of employee wish lists, but now, flexibility to work remotely and having work hours other than the 8-5 or 9-5 routine rank right behind. Even more than a healthy compensation package and appealing benefits, however, people crave a corporate culture with which they can identify.
Corporate culture is the sum of an organization’s values, ethics, vision, behaviors, and work environment. Notice the word “behaviors,” as it is perhaps the most important aspect. It’s not what you say when you “talk the talk”; it’s what you do as you walk the walk.
Behavioral differentiation is a game-changer in the talent wars. You must actively pursue and practice a culture that shapes the behavior of all your human assets. It must be evident to everyone that the way in which your employees carry out their responsibilities is more important than what’s being sold or how much customers are paying for it.
Influential corporate culture is the backbone of your business operating soundly even in stressful times. It’s how employees are supervised and managed. Culture-driven workplaces reinforce employee abilities to be proactive, help one another succeed, excel at communication, continuously improve processes, and find ways to get things done. The attitudes and engagement of your workforce are what drive revenue and help you meet and exceed your KPIs.
Steering and maintaining a healthy and influential corporate culture requires strong leadership from the lowest supervisory level on up the chain. An employee’s relationship with the person who supervises them can significantly influence their job commitment. To be a strong leader – someone who inspires loyalty in team members – requires certain qualities.
- Honoring commitments. Keep the promises you make to employees. You must follow through if you’ve offered formal mentorship, one-on-one time, advancement opportunities, training in new skills, etc.
- Welcoming failure. Employees should understand, and the work environment must support, the notion that mistakes happen. Rather than placing blame, use mistakes as teachable moments.
- Taking interest. Each employee has their own style and personality, and each needs to feel that you are taking an interest in them. Organize group outings that let you and your staff interact in a relaxed environment. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself more adept at leveraging their skills after getting to know them better.
- Learning continuously. Be humble. There’s always something significant you can learn, no matter how senior you may be. Be the first one in the company to join a new industry group. This brings us to the next point.
- Leading by example. If you ask your staff to learn a new task, get in there and learn alongside them. You will be seen as a far more credible leader.
- Fostering communication. Encourage feedback from both the bottom up and the top down. Help employees understand their growth opportunities. Help supervisors determine whether employees are satisfied with their career progression.
- Giving back to your community. Be community-oriented and give your employees the wherewithal (usually time, sometimes money) to participate as well. See how this helps you with both team-building and loyalty generation.
- Last but not least, don’t let all of the above get in the way of paying lots of attention to your top performers. As the future leaders of your company, they will need your support.
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