What more do employees want-it’s driving me crazy!

what more do employees want

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Most HR folks know that hiring and keeping talent is a critical challenge in today’s work environment. COVID did more than make people ill, it created a gateway for people to work from home, review their work/home life priorities, and realign their priorities. Combining that with multiple generational age groups entering and exiting the job market, and the issues compound. There are several strategies that HR Leaders can utilize as we forge ahead in these perplexing and exciting post-COVID times.

One pertinent global challenge is finding talent today. As a facilitator for the Institute for Organization Development, I’ve spent over five years teaching worldwide certification programs, including the “Human Resource Business Partner”. The challenge for talent is global and the solutions are rarely found in the old, traditional ways of doing things. Numerous organizations have moved away from proverbially holding sacred college degrees and years of experience to assessing a potential candidate’s ability and willingness to learn, grow, and contribute. Training the new recruits can be costly, but the advantage is they learn first-hand how processes work without bringing their beliefs in the way they are used to doing things. They do not have to “relearn” old processes from a previous employer as most organizations have their own way of doing things.

Another trend the participants in the courses I teach report is that job candidates want to personally meet the team/s they will be working with prior to job acceptance. They want to know how the organization is committed to the environment, community, and
diversity/inclusion. While setting up meetings might slow down the hiring process initially, having a well-oiled process where they can meet with teams and understand the core values and community/world citizenship can have lasting effects on the team’s ability to bond and work together effectively. The old Japanese adage, “Go slow to go fast” is relevant here.

Job design can assist in creating opportunities for potential candidates who lack the degree or experience. By revising the job analysis process, generalized tasks can then be broken down into specific areas. These tasks can then be performed in a specific area where extensive education is not a prerogative. You have now created a new pool of candidates to grow within your organization.

In Gartner’s “The 2022 Gartner Leadership Success in the New Environment Leader Survey “, n=1,000, Many organizations have struggled with DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).Sometimes the pushback, often from dominant groups, invalidates, disrupts or disconnects the workforce from programs meant to enable marginalized groups. It can be obvious or subtle, and it can be deliberate, but is often unintentional. Various emotions and notions cause frustration, fear, and reluctance to enforce DEI initiatives. Managers become afraid to get too involved and fear their actions are more scrutinized now than several years ago. If this is left
unchecked, the results can negatively impact the performance and retention of employees.
One action organizations can take is to understand the most common forms of pushback and learn how to proactively address the issues.

In a 2021 Gartner Candidate Survey of 3,000 global candidates as reported in Forbes, Today’s Skills Shortage Could be Your Competitive Advantage (November, 2021), many organizations are rethinking formal education and experience requirements. For example, Merck and IBM are cutting as many as 70% of their job requirements. General Motors Corporation, another industry giant, has changed its focus for certain hiring to based less on college degrees and more on certifications in certain given relevant areas.
Job design can assist in creating opportunities for potential candidates who lack the degree or experience. By revising the job analysis process, generalized tasks can then be broken down to specific areas. These tasks can then be performed in a specific area where extensive education is not a prerogative. You have now created a new pool of candidates to grow within your organization.

Finally, listening and responding to what the employees want and need. Not just paying lip service, but truly understanding and being flexible. If it is possible, provide hybrid schedules, generate health and wellness issues, and ensure employees know and understand how their job functions create purpose to the products and services you offer. A 2020 Gartner Survey of 52 HR executives found that:

94% of companies made significant investments in their well-being programs
85% increased support for mental health benefits
50% increased support for physical well-being
38% increased support for financial well-being

It is interesting to note that over a 12-month period, less than 40% of employees took
advantage of these new benefits. More research over a longer period of time is needed to accurately predict its impact on employee performance and retention.

Do not allow the above results lead you to throwing your arms up in frustration. Many years ago, my university professor shared an insight into human nature to our class. He stated that several years earlier, students at the university were in arms because the hours in the recreational area were too limited. The disgruntled student body started to gain momentum as additional students began to complain. It was taken all the way up to the president of the university and the Board, a measure was passed to extend weekend hours for fun, fellowship and recreation. The results? Attendance remained the same as it was before the change was made. Puzzled, the professor asked his students why, after the university acted on their request, they weren’t even utilizing the new expanded schedule. Their reply? They didn’t necessarily want to attend. They just wanted to know they COULD go if they wanted to; the students were now satisfied. What I learned is that options create freedom of choice. Although employees may not take advantage of certain benefits, they may be satisfied because they know they always have the chance to take advantage of what is offered.

**Steps To Disengagement is part of the certification topics in the Human Resource Business Partnership Certification Program, offered by The Institute of Organization Development.

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