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F.A.I.R. Play for Talent

Will talent shortages persist in 2023? It’s a resounding YES, according to Forbes.

Let’s set the background story.

Effective leaders must move beyond the “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” to address the challenges presented by today’s labor pool.

We are still seeing high turnover rates and inflation isn’t making the battle for talent any easier. Couple that with demographic shifts of Baby Boomers retiring and Gen Y maturing beyond entry level jobs, and we can see how the struggle for talent is real.

Today’s workforce cannot be characterized as “resigned.” In fact, it’s the “Age of ReCALIBRATION.”

Meaning that employees now have stronger preferences about where they want to work, the kind of work they want to do, and with whom they work alongside more than ever before. This is a fundamental understanding of how employees will continue to push further and force the shape of organizational cultures. Leaving leaders with a primary directive from staff:

Step up your culture game with development and F.A.I.R. play for talent.

Faced with not having enough talent to fill jobs, we are also experiencing a growth in employees being disenfranchised or disengaged. The Society of Human Resource Management claims engagement is at its lowest level since 2015 hovering around 32% leaving a staggering 68% of employees disconnected with their current place of employment. 18% of employees are actively DISengaged.

From SHRM: “Engaged employees are ‘involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace,’ according to the survey. Actively disengaged employees are ‘disgruntled and disloyal’ because most of their workplace needs are unmet.”

Given that outlook, I suggest leaders focus energies infusing cohesion into their cultures and paying attention to four key areas of workforce trends expressed in the acronym F.A.I.R.

My research into group dynamics with an emphasis on cohesion, proved that the presence of belonging, value, and mutual commitment drives performance through engagement. Oftentimes, organizations may realize up to a 50% increase in productivity and creativity when teams are functioning with a cohesive mindset.

I call it the “Cohesion Phenomenon.”

Cohesion = Performance = Engagement 

With 71% of employees seeking to be ready for their next growth, development, and advancement opportunity, leaders have a tremendous opportunity to shift the play in culture and give employees a F.A.I.R. reason to engage. According to a SHRM study, 30% of employees consider career development opportunities for learning and personal growth very important, yet only 30% were happy with their current situation.

It’s clearly not your Grandpa’s workforce anymore. There’s no turning back.

If your company wants to be a Best Place to Work and win the war of retaining talent, then the organization’s culture of cohesion must be available for in-person, remote, and hybrid workers. As we embrace the future of work, remember that a unified culture transcends physical boundaries, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose, regardless of where your team members are located.

Leaders must make a conscious effort to engage employees by creating an environment of inclusion, ensuring that people have meaningful work, and promoting collaborative work teams engaged in achieving mutually desired outcomes.

  • Flexibility: Offer hours of operation and work locations that support the concept of work-life integration. If your company does not serve a traditional service-mindedness for your market of 9-5, then consider reshaping the hours of operation. Review job descriptions to find opportunities to expand work in new locations for those employees where it makes sense to do so. Ask your employees about their needs in regards to flexible work hours or working location.
  • Autonomy: Design work to give the greatest amount of decision-making and initiative to the workforce as possible. This does not mean to give away authority, but to expand the opportunities for people to make selections and choices well within the purview of their job functions and responsibilities. Empowering your team with autonomy not only boosts their morale but also leads to greater innovation and problem-solving. It’s about fostering a culture of trust where employees are encouraged to take ownership of their tasks, enabling them to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas, ultimately driving the organization’s success.
  • Inclusion: Ask your employees what makes them feel included at work. More than likely you will hear, “being asked my opinion, I want to be included in the early stages of communication and corporate direction, or I’d like my supervisor to spend time helping me learn new things.” Whatever positive message you hear … act upon it. Make it happen. Making inclusivity a priority not only enhances workplace satisfaction but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration. By actively addressing the needs and aspirations of your team members, you create a culture where everyone’s voice matters and where diversity is celebrated as a source of strength, driving your organization’s growth and resilience.
  • Readiness: Design training curriculum that develops and aligns your talent. Guaranteed if you do not take an interest in employee growth and advancement, they will go elsewhere to find it. Investing in the readiness of your workforce is not just a commitment to your employees but also a strategic move to secure your organization’s future. Here are two examples of programs you can create to ready your employees and add depth to your culture playbook.
  1. Three Level Leadership Development program aimed at building up self, leading others, and extending the company’s brand beyond its four walls and into the community. It’s a path to empower your team to become leaders, both within the organization and in the broader community.
  2. Organizational Internship program that allows employees to shadow work in other departments of interest. In simple terms, it’s giving an employee with an interest in another department a safe way to see whether the work is right for them or not. AND, it allows management in that area to try out new talent without finalizing a commitment, enriching your talent pool.

By nurturing readiness and providing opportunities for growth and skill development, you not only retain your top talent but also attract new talent that’s excited to join an organization committed to their ongoing personal and professional development.

Based on the trends of the workforce today, leaders can effectively reduce turnover costs (up to 50-75% of the person’s salary who left) by infusing cohesion into the culture and building F.A.I.R. workplaces giving attention to these four areas: Flexibility, Autonomy, Inclusion, and Readiness.

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