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The Talent War Is Real: How Leaders Should Respond As Their People Return To Work

November 8, 2021

The future of work is now, and if business leaders don’t listen to the undercurrent of the workforce, they’ll end up losing their best talent.

Study after study shows that workers want flexibility and fulfillment, and in many cases, will leave their current employer if they don’t get it. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey reported that “having the ability to work both remotely and at the work site is the ideal workplace model” for 68% of American workers.

A recent Envoy study of more than 1,000 full- and part-time workers revealed almost half said they’d look for a new job if their employer didn’t offer hybrid work. This is even more interesting when you drill down into the workers requesting a hybrid workplace: 61% of office workers, 52% of Gen Zers and 48% of millennials.

The pandemic has changed how employees view their jobs. Many have changed the focus from where they work to why they work. The Prudential study found that career changes were up overall, with 20%of workers changing their line of work entirely over the past year. The main reasons reported for these changes were work-life balance, better compensation, and trying something new.

The status quo is no longer good enough. People don’t want to be bought by perks anymore.

They want good jobs, good leaders and good companies. It’s more than just leaders engaging and coaching more and restructuring meetings to adjust to the new normal.

The question for leaders becomes: How do you retain and attract the best talent as employee priorities change? Here are some ways to keep your employees happy and engaged.

Make sure they enjoy the work.

People want to do things they enjoy. Designing jobs around interests and skill sets, as well as company needs, is important. Take the time to find out the individual strengths of each employee and give them the opportunity to excel. As Entrepreneur suggests, “if you have an employee who excels in leading teams, give them the opportunity to take charge of new projects.”

Make connection a priority.

Meetings are actually important for this. People need to sense that they are part of something. This is done by updating the cadence and length of in-person meetings, having productive in-person and virtual team sessions, and showing interest in teammate’s lives and current situations. You can be connected and never see each other in person. It takes work, but it is possible.

In a recent study, more than 80% of workers said they’d consider leaving their company for a more empathetic organization. Bottom line: Wellness and connection matters more than ever in 2021. Your team members are most likely more worried and anxious than they’ve ever been. The companies and organizations that step in and understand this basic need will be the ones to thrive.

Keep values in alignment with the bigger purpose.

Leaders need to care about and uphold the bigger purpose of the company. This has been a growing trend for several years but has recently really taken hold. People don’t want to work for a boss or a company whose values they don’t respect. But they will stay, regardless of pay, if they feel good about the work and the values of the company and its leaders. It isn’t about money. It is about so much more: contributing goods and services that help the world in some way. Purpose and values matter.

The talent war is real. People are leaving jobs in droves. Make sure you stay connected, communicative, and empathetic as you ease into the new normal of the workplace.

Originally posted at Forbes.com.

Impact Coaches – Sandra Oliver – Forbes Coaches Council

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