In late 2021, Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School asked 150 executives from companies around the world for their take on the biggest challenge currently facing businesses. The answer came back loud and clear: “retaining people,” closely followed by “recruiting people.”
It picked up on a problem destined to grow. The Great Resignation, the result of lockdown-fuelled dissatisfaction with our jobs was first. Then it was followed by the Great Reshuffle, as workers leapt from job to job in search of fulfillment. As we entered post-lockdown working, how would companies evolve?
In May this year, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that there were more job vacancies than unemployed people in the country for the first time since records began. The marketplace has since begun to settle, but a July survey of 1,100 US professionals showed that 31 percent were planning to quit within the next 12 months. In other words, employers still need to focus hard on hiring and keeping the best talent.
According to Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, the largest AI-driven recruitment marketplace for tech workers, what is most likely to attract and retain employees is the offer of flexible working. In a recent Hired survey, less than two percent of respondents wanted a full, five-day return to the office.
“We’ve seen really high rates of attrition when companies have forced people back to the office for a full five-day schedule,” he says.
With that comes the need to make the best of hybrid work, potentially across disparate geographies. In order to retain employees, companies also need to work harder to engage them. They need to help them feel aligned with the organization’s values, Brenner believes.
“When we hear about companies losing high numbers of staff, a lot of it is because employees feel disconnected. They lack a solid understanding of where the company’s going, and how their work bubbles up and contributes to goals.”
Throw in the need to prepare for a fast-changing world – technologically, geo-politically – and you have a cluster of problems for companies to solve in post-lockdown working. Those that do so most effectively stand to gain a competitive advantage – so what are the most innovative trending ideas?
In WIRED’s report, readers learn about the: