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STRATEGIZING FOR TALENT RETENTION: LESSONS FROM THE SIM CHICAGO MEETING




Last week PTP had the privilege of co-hosting a group of exceptional leaders and Chicagoans at The Clubhouse for an event called the Holiday Networking Breakfast. Collaborating with Sim Chicago, we had in attendance various CIOs and technology leaders, together in one room with one common purpose—workshopping talent retention solutions and finding ways to maximize our employee engagement.


The attendees participated in round table discussions to identify factors driving talent migration at organizations across different industries and what the solution to this problem might be. We discussed why employees all over the country were leaving their jobs in such large numbers? What was the key to retaining and recruiting the best talent?

What is the talent marketplace looking like today?


Remote working has transformed the way we work. What was only recently an option limited to a few outliers and freelancers, has quickly become a norm in most organizations. The pandemic has accelerated the development of the remote workplace at a pace few could have predicted.


The rise in remote working has led to an expansion in the talent pool that companies in the country can dip into. This has made it possible to build cross-country, or even international, teams that can work efficiently with each other despite not occupying the same office or time zone.


It has also led to the development of new, hybrid work models, which can offer employees a greater degree of flexibility in the way they work. This means that not only do employers have a bigger pool of talent sources for their staffing requirements, employees too have more options than they did not have previously.


It must be noted, however, that despite the rapid increase in remote working opportunities in the recent past, outsourcing is still largely confined to consultancy and project-based employment. While the option of onboarding permanent remote staff is being contemplated by most companies today, the core teams at these organizations still remain in situ or hybrid. This is not likely to change in the near future unless security and other concerns about remote working are fully addressed.

Why is there a migration of talent?


Analysts have labeled the change in the talent landscape as the Great Resignation which has affected workplaces across the country. Employees who had stuck to their jobs through the uncertainty of the pandemic for the sake of stability and financial security were now looking for fresh opportunities in large numbers.


For some, it is an inevitable decision, one that was simply delayed by a few years due to the pandemic. But for many others, the decision to leave seems to be motivated by the rise in flexible work options now available. And as a reaction to return-to-office mandates by employers refusing to consider remote, hybrid, and other, flexible employment options. (A survey conducted by financial and insurance giant Prudential found that one in three Americans were unwilling to carry on working for an employer who required them to be onsite full-time)


Having gotten used to the flexibility and efficiency offered by remote working, many employees today are choosing to change jobs over working full-time in offices.

Why are employers concerned?


A few major employers have expressed an unwillingness to make remote or hybrid work a part of their organizational structure. There is also a hesitancy to outsource work to remote teams outside the country. There are a few key reasons for this:


Project management: How do you manage a team that is spread across different cities or even different time zones? Managers faced with the prospect of having to coordinate project development and deployment across remote and hybrid teams are understandably cautious about these new developments.


Security: Remote working has presented an added challenge to cybersecurity and physical security professionals whose job is to make sure that the security of organizational networks and data is maintained. Remote working will inevitably require employees to access sensitive data from potentially unsecured Wi-Fi networks.


Cultural differences: While the benefits of having access to a global talent pool in undeniable, there are also some downsides. Working cultures often differ from country to country. Efforts will have to be made to understand and accommodate these differences.

What is the solution?

After a productive morning spent debating the question of talent management in today’s workplaces, the group concluded that:


A) Employee engagement and talent retention in the current ecosystem depend on developing a hiring strategy that addresses the demand for hybrid work environments.


Employers today have begun to understand the need to introduce remote and hybrid workplaces. Not only do such teams give you access to the best talent from around the globe and make your organization more competitive but they are also in line with the rising demand for flexible work arrangements from the workforce.


That being said, hybrid workplaces are not suitable for every industry or role. In situations where there might be a security risk associated with remote work, for example, companies are likely to insist on work-from-office or signed NDAs from their talent or outside consultants.


B) In order to attract the best talent organizations, employers need to offer tailored employment models that suit the employees’ individual needs.


Employees today expect a greater degree of choice in their employment models. The answer to this is devising employment arrangements that can suit their individual needs.

Employers today need to recognize that not every employee is driven by the same needs and that tailoring employment to need will boost engagement and retention. Needs like money, purpose, title, flexible working hours, and most importantly, organizational culture.

Not every sector will be able to create individualistic employment agreements. Many essential government organizations, for example, require their employees to work on-site and this situation is unlikely to change in the near future. However, amongst the private sector, your organization’s ability to provide tailored employment experiences will decide your ability to attract and retain talent in the coming years.


We are optimistic about the future. Change is always an opportunity for innovation and we believe employers and employees are ready.

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