How to lead through an ‘Invisible Revolution’: Talent retention tips for the C-Suite
This article is by Jonathan Wiles, Managing Partner, Page Executive (part of FTSE 250 PageGroup)
As a business leader, you will know the importance of putting people at the centre of everything you do. Whether it’s building customer-centric strategies or prioritising employee wellbeing, investment in people is sure to pay off.
When it comes to your own workforce, retaining staff is harder than ever, as exemplified by the ‘Quiet Quitting’ and ‘Great Resignation‘ trends we have seen in recent years. Attitudes have clearly shifted since the pandemic – but what exactly are today’s employees looking for?
To find out, we at Page Executive conducted our inaugural Talent Trends survey – the largest study of skilled, white-collar professionals of its kind to date. In the study, respondents were asked whether they were open to new roles, and if so, what would persuade them to move. The results make clear that an ‘Invisible Revolution’ has transformed the relationship between workers and employers, both on a global and domestic level.
This ‘Invisible Revolution’ is not a fleeting movement, but a seismic shift with the potential to inflict wide-reaching, global tremors on the labour market for decades to come.
Understanding the cultural shift in the workforce
There’s been a significant change in the dynamic between employers and workers, and to businesses, it may feel like those actively seeking new roles expectations have changed significantly. This is, to an extent, true. Our study confirmed three key things:
- Significant shifts in employee attitudes and motivations have created a new talent landscape — no age group, country, or industry is unaffected.
- There’s no going back to the way things were pre-pandemic; the change we see today is here to stay.
- The workforce’s increased expectations of employers are no flash in the pan. Even generally happy employees are open to moving on to a ‘better’ opportunity.
These points may come as a surprise, but our research makes clear that workers are more aware of their value than ever – and are willing to test the jobs market to get a better deal. In fact, an astonishing 86% of respondents said they were open to a new role, with 50% either actively looking for a new role or planning to do so within the next six months.
Why are so many people open to moving? Our research suggests that the workforce’s priorities have shifted and expectations have grown, encouraging workers to seek the best of the best. Above all, standing out as an employer of choice in today’s market requires a huge focus on work-life balance. For instance, our research showed that 8 in 10 workers would now choose mental health and wellbeing over career success as their number one priority.
But that’s not all. We also found that workers are looking for a mixture of three key factors to make up their ideal role: competitive pay, flexibility and career progression.
We refer to these shared priorities as the ‘Work-Life Equation’. The optimisation of this equation is an essential step for leaders looking to rejuvenate their employee value proposition and talent retention strategies.
What The “Invisible Revolution” means for leadership strategy
If you want to successfully hire leadership talent and protect your own high performers from being poached, you will need to ensure that the priorities discussed above are being addressed at all levels.
Many remain hopeful that things will return to the way they were pre-pandemic, but our data serves as a wakeup call as, if anything, there is an even greater shift in attitudes, behaviour and expectations as time goes on. Among U.K. respondents, 44% said they switched jobs in 2022, almost triple the rate of resignations we saw in 2021, when the ‘Great Resignation’ made regular headlines.
So, what can you do to help your organisation navigate this new employee landscape?
We found that workers have largely stopped looking to their jobs to provide all their personal fulfilment. Instead, they are prioritising spending time with their family, friends and loved ones, or taking up hobbies and expanding on other areas of their personal lives.
This is why the aforementioned Work-Life Equation has become so key. Professionals want to be paid competitively for their work, have the opportunity to advance and grow, and enjoy a good working environment. Getting this dynamic right is paramount when it comes to addressing both retention and talent acquisition.
Crucial considerations for business leaders
Adopting a people-centric mentality is an essential part of creating success in a leadership role. As part of that, it’s imperative to review and refine your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to make sure you are market leading when it comes to attraction and retention. This should go way beyond pay and flexibility and get to the heart of the issue: at a time when loyalty is at a premium, what do you stand for and why should people want to work for your business?
Reflecting workers’ newfound priorities in your EVP strategy could be a great differentiator when it comes to hiring new staff or retaining existing employees. For senior executives, taking an active role in this process will serve you in good stead to navigate the ‘Invisible Revolution’ and engage top talent.