Finding Opportunity in the Shift from Information Age to the Age of Talent
It’s challenging to go a day without hearing references to the dramatic changes within the workplace. After all, many employees leave their jobs, and employers are challenged to fill open positions.
One of the drivers for this change is the transition from the Information Age to the Age of Talent. People are now the priority, and talent is the most significant competitive advantage and the scarcest resource.
What’s exciting is that this evolution is a movement for progress. Organizations that are progressive, agile, and creative about focusing on talent will enjoy improved employee creativity and motivation and increased trust in leadership and profitability.
Redefining What’s Important
After two years of disruption brought on by the pandemic, people are increasingly looking inward, evaluating who they are, what they want from work, and where work best fits into their daily life. We all have lives, families, hobbies, goals, and needs, and work is only one part of who we are. As individuals re-evaluate their priorities and what they want work to look like for them, their definition of success has changed.
They want to focus on meaningful and motivating work instead of on big titles and promotions. They want to take a stand for their personal core values. They want to be sure their talents translate into work and that they can make a difference. According to a recent survey, the top priorities among workers under 40 are having a meaningful job (58%) and the ability to work remotely (58%).
Forward-thinking organizations can also take advantage of employees’ desire for change by re-evaluating what success looks like for them. In the past, leaders may have focused on having people work in the office for set hours a day to measure productivity. But employees today are looking for more flexibility.
Progressive and responsive organizations are those willing to offer this flexibility and rely on new collaboration tools and technology to help teams work together in new ways that work for individual schedules. Companies that don’t pay attention to how flexibility fits in the workplace may not survive as well in today’s new world.
Focusing on Empowerment
Individuals today also want to feel empowered in their roles. Organizations paying attention to this desire can better empower teams to offer an opportunity for people to make decisions about their work within clear guidelines. They can set clear expectations, communicate often, and demonstrate confidence that employees will deliver.
If, for some reason, there’s a gap in expectations, leaders can then rely on their performance feedback process to provide guidance and coaching. Open-minded organizations that collaborate with individuals to find mutually beneficial flexibility and an environment of trust will rise to the top as a desired place to work.
Taking a Modified Approach to Hiring
Today’s successful organizations are exploring modified or expanded hiring approaches to meet the evolving personal needs of prospective talent. They are changing the way they recruit candidates and how they conduct interviews.
Instead of focusing primarily on an individual’s previous roles or the titles listed on their resume or LinkedIn profile, talent managers are having more in-depth conversations with individuals about skills, competencies, and how specific learnings acquired during their career and life journey can be applied to a new role. This newly framed conversation can help organizations expand and diversify their candidate pool while assisting individuals in understanding better how they’ll fit into a new organization and grow into a new role.
Employee desire for personalization also fuels progressive organizations to offer a more tailored approach to their benefits offerings. Instead of providing a setlist of standardized benefits, employers offer individuals an a la carte approach, allowing them to pick from options to create a benefit mix that works best for their individualized needs.
One candidate may value health insurance more than personal time off, or maybe they want a dependent care account vs. reimbursement for continuing education opportunities. People want options, and organizations that offer flexibility in their benefits will be more highly desired than those that don’t offer choice.
Creating Meaningful Connections
While today’s employees want the flexibility to work from home or anywhere, it’s a misconception that they don’t wish for opportunities for interaction. What they do want is the chance to pick and choose the time and place for interaction and determine how and when to engage in a way that works for them and the organization. Organizations that rely on the latest technology tools and offer ongoing opportunities for training will help meet this need for trust and communication in a new and flexible way.
The pandemic has fueled a turning point in the employer/employee relationship. This workplace revolution gives people the ability to define what a rewarding career looks like and have their expectations and needs met. Organizations reinvent their approach and evolve to people-first work. There’s an excellent opportunity to create a healthy, productive, and prosperous world where employees and organizations have a more robust partnership.
Colleen Frankwitz is the Talent Connection and Development Director at Salo.
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