The talent space is a singularly precarious and volatile aspect of the business world, continually waxing and waning in rhythm with the socio-economic climate.
For instance, in recent times, employers have been faced with a stubbornly baron talent pool as a result of record employment rates and the growth of the gig-economy.
Now, the retention and optimisation of our current workforces is under threat due to the uncertainty and disruption of the coronavirus.
In such scenarios, employers must adapt to survive, tailoring their approach to match the complexion of the new challenges.
So, when it comes to managing talent more effectively during the current crisis, here are some of the things we recommend:
1. Career development
Personal development is a core element of both retaining and optimising individuals in the workplace.
Myriad evidence now exists which clarifies the link between career development opportunity and lower turnover rates, so this should be at the forefront of any organisation’s pursuit of better talent management.
For instance, a report published earlier this year showed that development opportunities were citied among employees and executives as one of the top three talent retention initiatives.
What’s more, this is a particularly important strategy when it comes to high performing individuals (HIPOs), with research showing that they are thought to be twice as valuable to the organisation.
But whilst HIPOs are more valuable, they tend to also show greater desire for growth, meaning that they present a greater turnover threat.
In addition, such individuals are likely to be experiencing a degree of frustration at this present time due to the inertia of the coronavirus.
As a result, this should now be a greater focus for employers than ever before.
2. Make WFH an engaging experience
The link between a high-quality employee experience and increased happiness, retention and productivity is no secret.
In fact, one study even found that happier employees can be up to 20% more productive in the workplace.
However, based on this, the disruption of the coronavirus presents an obvious dilemma: how do we keep our talent happy and productive when co-location now feels like little more than a distant memory?
Whilst there’s no simple answer to this question, it is clear that employers must adapt and change tack in order to reengage their workers.
A common viewpoint is that much of this boils down to communication. This is crucial in terms of maintaining company culture and attempting to replicate the experience of working alongside a team of people on a daily basis.
From more regular 1-2-1 catch-ups to company-wide social occasions, this could be a pivotal aspect of engaging your talent during the coronavirus crisis and restoring some of the authenticity of co-location.
3. Data is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal
This is true in all aspects of the corporate world, but could come in particularly handy during a time where performance and productivity is particularly hard to measure.
Though data-backed approaches are becoming increasingly commonplace in business as technology advances, now could be the time for organisations to take the leap if they haven’t done already, or streamline their approach even more.
This is a broad area, and can range anywhere from measuring website performance and social media activity more closely, to analysing periodic sales growth from new angles.
Not only will this create a clearer picture of how well the workforce is functioning as a collective, but perhaps more importantly, it may allow leaders to zero in on the performance and productivity of each individual.
4. Clarify and amplify purpose
This has long been cited as one of the keys to strengthening company culture, but now rings true in a different context entirely.
With remote working in full swing worldwide and the business landscape fraught with anxiety and uncertainty, people are gradually becoming disengaged and disenchanted with their work lives.
One study even found that 38% of workers said they became frustrated and disengaged due to anxiety caused by the introduction of new processes.
So, in order to combat the feeling of futility that can accompany remote working, organisations must ensure that not only is their own purpose clearly communicated to the employee, but that each individual is clear on their own purpose and how they can influence the larger machine.
There are countless studies that support this concept within business literature.
One, for example, showed that companies with a clearly defined purpose have experienced growth of 10% or more over a period of three years.
If executed correctly, this could inspire, motivate and ultimately prove to be pivotal in engaging and ultimately retaining talent.