Feeling Like the War for Talent Is Just Beginning? You’re Not Alone.

By: Tanya Fish
Series of rope knots tied together
That’s because today’s ‘set it and forget it’ mentality is fundamentally flawed.
It was 22 years ago that McKinsey & Company coined the term “the war for talent.” And just like that, it seemed, everyone was talking about the war for talent.
This “war” has been raging ever since—and the call to arms remains as strong as ever. There are fewer people looking for work; those that are have less tenure and loyalty; and most are under immense financial pressure. And according to Gallup, millennials are by far the least engaged employees (29%).
It certainly looks like a war with casualities like these.
But what if we're focusing on the wrong conflict of this war?
Keeping pace with changing workforce expectations is table stakes. Yet, many organizations are using the same tactics over and over. Time to change that.

Win the War From Within

With the current worker shortage, there's no better time for leaders to rethink how they approach talent acquisition, development and retention. What’s been done isn’t working.
“Organizations have never done as much hiring as they do today. They’ve never spent as much money doing it. And they’ve never done a worse job of it,” according to Harvard Business Review.
The first step is acquiring talent—true—but that only gets you so far. Developing and keeping your workforce fully engaged—that’s what will ultimately drive sustainable profitable growth.
Even top performers will likely struggle with engagement at some point, but you can do things to help reduce the impact if you’ve built strong connections throughout the earlier stages of the employee journey.

Related: To create lasting sustainable engagement throughout the employee journey, you need to focus on your employee’s identity benefits and emotions. To learn more download our white paper, Why Good Employees Leave: The Unintended Consequence of Great Onboarding.

Smart employers recognize that they cannot treat employees as disposable commodities. They understand that it is critical that people be treated with respect and honor.

Exceptional Employee Experience Drives Engagement

Employees crave an authentic experience rich with fulfillment and belonging. That means today’s worker is looking for a role within an organization that gives their vocation meaning and purpose. They need to understand how their role connects to the organization’s mission, and it must align to their personal and professional passions.
After all, your success comes with and through people. Connect their passion to your mission and what gets accomplished will be amazing.
But engagement doesn’t spontaneously bloom. It needs to be nurtured with support and planning. It's not about checking boxes off or mirroring what another organization is doing—it should be personal and specific to your organization. Because people are complex as are their motivations. As suggested in an article by HR Technologist, when employees are engaged and supported by leadership and able to work the way they want, they can deliver better results. In a rapidly changing business environment, alignment and engagement of the workforce is critical to achieving desired outcomes. 

Looking Ahead in the Talent Space

To retain more people, organizations need to find ways to repurpose the talent they have by providing learning and development opportunities and creating a work environment that reinvigorates employees. Employees from every generation want meaningful work, so how can your organization distinguish itself from the crowd? By telling the truth right from the start.

Forward-thinking organizations are starting the recruitment process early evaluating their brand and clearly defining and communicating their employer value proposition (EVP).

When you do lay the right foundation (strong organizational culture; EVP) and make efforts to connect with employees in more meaningful ways (identity, emotional and social benefits) you can create brand advocates that will help retain your best people while creating a sustainable flow of new talent for your organization.

The war may be raging, but you can start improving your retention and engagement at your organization today so that your best people will still be there tomorrow. Check out our ebook, Improve Retention and Engagement by Enhancing the Employee Experience, that takes a deep dive into retention strategies and discover why you need to focus on your employee’s feeling about the workplace.

Tanya Fish
Tanya Fish

Tanya Fish is the Leader of Employee Experience Solutions for ITA Group. She drives the insights, strategy and evolution around employee experience for the organization while offering advisement for client engagement and employee programs. Tanya loves inspiring passion in people, something she believes impacts the individual, the organization and the community. Tanya’s past work and studies on organizational leadership in business, employee health and well-being, culture and health insurance guide her unique perspective on organizational health and success. Tanya is energized by achievement, learning and empowerment and balanced by time with family and friends and being outdoors. Bonus points if it’s by a body of water.