5 ways to retain talent in “the new normal”

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Retaining talent is one of the many challenges that companies have to face today, especially if we consider the scarcity of qualified profiles in the market. According to this study from Manpower Group carried out in 2021, the talent mismatch has reached levels never seen in the last 15 years.

It’s increasingly difficult to find technical profiles with the necessary social skills, and the problem is repeated in all countries: it is not a localized issue, talent is scarce worldwide.

We live in a period marked by a changing and volatile VUCA world where the only sure thing is the uncertainty of what will happen tomorrow. Faced with this situation, companies that don’t want to lose competitiveness will have to take their employee loyalty strategies seriously.

The crisis: catalyst for change

At the beginning of 2020, an event began that would cause a revolution and one of the greatest labor transformations of recent times.

Covid-19 forced companies that had not yet started their path towards digital transformation to do so abruptly, which caused a wave of demands for profiles with a very specific technical and social skills.

As a result of this need to fill specific positions and the impossibility of offering qualified professionals, an imbalance has been created between supply and demand: if in 2019 the shortage of talent was a problem for 48% of Spanish companies, in 2021 that percentage raised to 64%.

By size, are the small and medium-sized companies that have the most problems when it comes to finding talent, with 66% and 72% respectively.

The hard skills most demanded by companies

According to the study cited above, companies urgently seek to fill positions related to the following areas:

1. Manufacturing and production
2. Operations and logistics
3. Management.
4. IT
5. Sales and Marketing

The soft skills most demanded by companies

As for the soft skills or social competencies, the pandemic has caused that certain skills related to emotional intelligence, which before were barely given importance, now become the protagonists.

Team managers have realized that people, teamwork and a resilient and assertive attitude is the key to staying afloat. That is why organizations look for employees with:

1. Responsibility, reliability and discipline
2. Proactivity
3. Leadership and influence
4. Critical thinking and analytical skills
5. Collaboration and camaraderie

How to retain talent in “the new normal”

One of the most commented labor phenomena during this period has been the so-called “Great Resignation“, which highlighted the importance of the well-being, both physical and mental, of the employees.

Fed up with poor working conditions and in search of a better future, millions of workers left their jobs. Undoubtedly, homeworking and hybrid models that were necessary to implement to control the pandemic made the population aware that a way of working that is much more flexible and friendly to family conciliation is possible.

This fact offers companies the opportunity to reinvent themselves and offer the workforce a scenario where corporate needs are aligned with those of employees, capable of retaining talent while attracting the best profiles in the market.

Professionals demand companies where relationships with their employees are based on trust and flexibility, with a better balance between professional and personal life, and that offer virtual tools and resources capable of letting them work anywhere.

So, these are 5 things you can offer to your teams to encourage their loyalty and commitment to the company and attract star talent.

1. Face-to-face work only when necessary

According to the Manpower study, 78% of companies want to return to full presence for their employees, regardless of the position they hold. However, the time has come to reflect and ask ourselves if this is really necessary.

There are many tasks that can be digitized and automated that do not require physical presence: formalization of payroll, customer service, information security, etc.

What is the main concern of managers regarding their employees working from home? 20% of companies acknowledge that they fear a drop in productivity. However, several studies have already shown that homeworking is capable of keeping performance levels intact , and even increasing them.

Instead of forcing employees to go to the office, perhaps it is time to think about how leaders can understand the individual needs of their employees and propose custom solutions that foster their well-being.

2. Flexibility for everybody

While it’s true that not all jobs can be done remotely, there are still other flexibility and work-life balance options that all employees can benefit from.

For example, you can choose to leave an open entry and exit schedule, in which each person could organize themselves to do the hours that correspond to them without conflicting with their private responsibilities (taking care of the children, studies, etc. )

Another solution is to prioritize the achievement of objectives over the time worked, which gives employees greater freedom to self-manage tasks. This, in addition, boosts trust between collaborators and managers by letting the employees themselves take responsibility for their own work, promoting self-esteem, commitment and motivation.

3. Training programs

A culture of continuous learning allows companies to use internal talent to meet new needs and fill new generation positions. To maintain the competitiveness of the collaborators and meet their growth expectations, create training programs to train them in both the soft and the hard skills you need to improve your organization.

Encourage your teams to learn for themselves and offer tools and resources that facilitate access to new competencies aligned with the business.

4. Foster an environment that ensures mental well-being

For decades, employees have fought for companies to ensure their safety, providing PPE and all kinds of resources to make the workforce aware of possible occupational risks.

However, this security cannot be confined to the physical, but must also address psychosocial health. The work environment is one of the main factors that affect an employee’s decision to leave.

To avoid an increase in employee turnover, it is important to ensure emotional well-being and make people feel safe, healthy and productive. Listening to your teams, taking note of their needs and transforming opinions into actions will make them feel valued.

If you do this, employees won’t want to go elsewhere. And to make your work easier, you can help yourself with tools like Team Insights, which will help you discover the strengths for which your employees stay, as well as the points of improvement that will make your work environment the best place to work.

5. Develops resilience and communication as essential factors in the structure of the organization

As we have said, companies must be able to convey trust, listen to their employees and respond to their needs while meeting their expectations.

In a previous article we mentioned that motivation was a component that had to be worked on constantly so that it would last over time. For this to happen, the organization must be resilient.

In times of crisis, the main concern of professionals is to maintain employment. In this sense, it’s essential that leaders can maintain a solid, transparent and accessible discourse that transmits calm, confidence and well-being.

Honest communication is a cornerstone that sustains the manager-employee relationship. It must be clear and bidirectional if we want to retain talent and maintain our teams by our side for a long time.

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