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The 4 pillars of a new approach to talent strategy - Part 3: Engage in the employee

from  September 5, 2022 | 4 min read

In our last episode, we talked about helping your people to flourish and grow both in their current role, and whichever role they end up in after they leave your business.

In Part 3, we’ll be exploring the crucial pillar of employee engagement, and why in the future you’ll have to take a whole new approach to ensuring your people are happy so that they can remain productive and innovative.

Engage in the employee

Employee engagement has been a topic of much discussion following the onset of the pandemic. In line with what we’ve already said, independent analysts at Gartner have highlighted that engagement will be key in building effective talent strategies in the years to come.

But this will be less focused on employees engaging with the organization than it will on the organization engaging with its people.

 

It’s not just about “how are you doing?” – it’s about “how are we helping you to do it?”

Gartner cites equity, connectedness to work, and frequent soft and hard measurement as essential to maintaining engagement.

Meeting these requirements and creating an experience of work that promotes engagement will require a much more proactive level of involvement and be much more innovative and flexible in their approach to building new workforce strategies.

Organizational yoga

In the past, HR teams have been the guardians of rules and processes. In the future, HR will have to be risk takers and be willing to experiment in order to become catalysts for change, rather than simply trying to maintain stability.

This will require not only a willingness to be flexible, but a willingness to establish much higher degrees of trust with your workforce. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that leaders who build trust and maintain transparency are rewarded with engaged employees. Showing you can invest time in someone’s career and wellbeing gives the employee confidence they are not simply a cog in the machine.

What does this look like?

Upending the way your organization approaches engagement won’t be easy. To paraphrase Malcolm Gladwell, if you want to change something, you’ll probably find you have to change a hundred small things.

But you should remember that you’re likely much more capable of this new kind of experimental model of working than you think you are.

In the past 2 years alone, many businesses and many HR teams have already been forced to do things they’ve never done before – and had never even considered doing – to survive and transform through the largest disruption to working practices in the past 100 years.

 

Some examples of the ways in which organizations responded to the disruption of the last few years include:

  • Enforcing working from home on the entire organization and the tech investment that came with this
  • Stopping all forms of business travel.
  • Rethinking business strategies to cope with the changes in working practices.
  • Measuring performance and outcomes rather than time worked or responsibilities.
  • Revaluating the employee value proposition to be able to attract top talent.
  • New ways and initiatives to keep people engaged while they are home working.
  • Having to speed up decision-making and approval times.
  • Embracing a culture change brought about by virtual working.
  • Changes to talent management from virtual interviews and onboarding to a significant change in workforce demographics and increases in entry-level salaries.
  • Optimizing short-term employee benefits.
  • Industries such as hospitality had to incorporate hybrid working models for the first time.
  • Developed polls and other ways to get instant feedback from employees on new processes.
  • Introduced new tech to overcome travel restrictions such as translation applications for presenting virtually in other countries.
  • Time scheduled to check in with people and teams which may have been missed if everyone had been in an office.

The success of these organizations clearly demonstrates there’s a real opportunity for companies to transform their entire approach to talent. Not just by following the benchmarks set by others – but by becoming the benchmarks themselves and taking advantage of the flexibility that the emerging new talent market has to offer.

Want to know more?

One more to go! Next time, we’ll explore why declining tenures, more mobile employees, and restricted talent markets mean you’ll not just have to rethink how you handle your people to make your talent strategies successful. You’ll also have to completely reimagine what a “job” is in your organization – and how you can structure roles to help everyone make a meaningful contribution.

Read the rest of this blog series

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