Never has investing in employees and talent been so important. As organisations have pivoted and reshaped, they’ve also started to heavily invest in creating a culture which attracts and retains top talent, but proactively creates a culture people want to become a part of. The necessity of remote working during the pandemic firstly instilled a sense of relief in many employees who received the flexibility they’d been longing for. It’s helped achieve a greater work life balance but importantly, has reset the agenda for organisations who now realise that productivity and performance can actually go hand in hand with work life flexibility. Some would go as far to say they believe, our leaders have become more relatable, offering a level of humility as they authentically show elements of their home life, through calls and zoom meetings.
The pandemic has forced a ‘never seen before’ type of authenticity upon the Australian workforce, which research demonstrates is appreciated by most employees, who now have the freedom to complete a school pick up, or head to the gym after work. Ironically, the pandemic has in part created a happier, healthier workforce – we’re commuting less, exercising more and spending more time with those we love. It’s actively demonstrated what can be achieved, should organisations take up the challenge to embrace this type of culture. An Oxford University study found that happy, engaged workers are up to 13% more productive, working more efficiently and with a greater focus on the tasks in hand and against all the odds, the pandemic appears to have helped drive this engagement data.
Twelve months on from the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, most Executives have adjusted sufficiently to lead a distributed workforce effectively. With that in mind, overnight we went from working five days a week in the office, to five days a week working from home which has in some cases posed psychological challenges for people to adjust and balance the increasingly blurred worlds of work vs home. Examples of a ‘burnt out’ and overworked workforce that is ‘always on’ is rife across the sector globally. Some would argue the ‘working from home’ set up is realistically more of a ‘living at work’ nightmare, which is not healthy nor sustainable in the long term. Many of us need a routine and across the sector we have witnessed the struggles and debate around, employee’s preference to work remotely, vs what is best for the broader team and business. Some are starting to crave the physical interaction and collaboration that an office environment can offer and across the country, we have observed corporations and HR departments investing considerable time into brainstorm how to preserve company culture and induct new hires into a ‘remote company culture’. Decisions around what is the ‘new normal’ or effective ‘hybrid working’ models are still in their infancy, however what is very apparent is that this new level of flexibility and approach to remote working will play a huge factor in a corporation’s unique Employee Value Proposition going forward. An organisation’s approach to remote working is no longer accepted as a working model that can, in some instances, promote productivity and employee engagement but it will also play a critical role in both attracting and retaining new talent into the organisation.
Retaining talent with action
In many cases, we have observed that organisations investing in their people and the culture they grow in, are reaping the rewards in terms of attracting fresh, new top talent. Forward thinking employers are proactively embracing the ‘new normal,’ cognisant that if they don’t, they’ll likely loose talent to competitors. High performers desire training, leadership coaching and opportunity to grow, alongside a culture which promotes flexible working hours and inclusivity. Repercussions have been felt across workplaces from the impacts of COVID-19 – from redundancies to changes to bonus payments. Redundances at the executive level have offered early promotions to high performers (HYPOs) but consequently, we have observed a spiked investment in leadership coaching to upskill less experienced talent. Too frequently, over the course of the last 12 months, we have witnessed newly promoted and less experienced executives working extensively – some to the point of burn out, to try and demonstrate their value and role’s importance in a period of turmoil. Retention strategies around leadership development and a culture that promotes work life balance has proved to be incredibly impactful and cost effective.
We’re engaging in many conversations with Leadership teams and Boards across Australia, discussing strategies to retain high performing talent, especially females in senior positions. It’s particularly pertinent for the Energy and Natural Resources sector which has been under significant transformation and pressures in recent years. Individuals in mid management, or even those in the earlier stages of their careers, may see the renewable energy sector as a more secure career path – necessitating oil and gas companies in particular to build robust retention strategies and attractive work conditions to keep and attract this tier of high performing talent.
Succession planning and proactive talent mapping strategies are key to navigating the complexity and ambiguity surrounding the global talent search. Organisations who frequently innovate and refresh to address capability gaps, will not only attract and retain top talent but win the customer experience journey too.
If you would like to understand how clients have benefitted from genuine search assignments and learnings from within the Energy and Natural Resources sector, please contact Joanna.