Navigating new challenges needs a new strategy.

Are Employers in the Midst of a Perfect Storm?

By Mark Probert
As we’re all well aware, the world of work looks and feels completely different to how it did two years ago. The pandemic, alongside other socio economic issues over the past 18 months, has caused a huge global mindset shift in terms of priorities and responsibilities and has caused what some economists are calling ‘the great resignation’. One Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% of workers were considering quitting or changing professions this year. 

But this is only one part of the story. 

Employers in the UK are also facing the end of furlough, a battle for talent following Brexit and poor mental health linked to increased anxiety and burnout as a result of the pandemic. Navigating these challenges needs a new strategy.

The Rise of the People-Focussed Workplace

Although money remains important, employee focus has shifted away from competitive salaries to a positive working environment.

A recent survey by MovePlan, a workplace change management provider, and headhunter Hanson Search, found that when respondents were asked to rate the most important elements of a job package, a competitive salary and bonus structure had fallen down the list of priorities.

Instead, 45% ranked team, people and culture as most important, followed by flexible working (39%). Morgan Stanley’s stance on returning to the office is counter to this trend and serves as a reminder of the challenge facing employers if they want to create high performing teams and win the battle for talent.

This blog is the first of a five part series where I will discuss all of these moving parts and what it means for organisations.

An Opportunity for Employers to Realign a Fragmented Workforce

As furlough ends in the UK there is a huge opportunity for organisations to reconnect and realign their entire workforce.

It’s not just the furloughed employees who will feel disconnected. Many employees will have joined organisations in the past 18 months and may never have met their colleagues in person! But even for long standing employees who have worked throughout the pandemic, processes and ways of working will be dramatically different from a year or two ago.

I think employers should press the reset button and run a repeat induction for all employees. This will help to create new connective tissue to colleagues and ensure everyone understands the importance of their role and the value it delivers to the organisation.

Connecting Teams and Clarifying Processes

An all-employee induction enables you to highlight which processes are now the most important and ensure people understand new priorities. It also allows you to signpost who to contact to get answers to important questions as well as which communication channels to use. This is especially important if your organisation has changed how it operates since the pandemic (e.g. has switched to remote/hybrid structures).

It also allows team members who have joined during the pandemic to be properly introduced to the colleagues in other departments and gives an opportunity for returning employees to feel a sense of belonging again.

Your induction program should include: 

  • (Re)introduction to your organisation’s purpose, policies and procedures
  • Introduction to key staff and team members
  • Tour of the (virtual) workplace, pointing out all important facilities
  • Safety and Emergency procedures
  • The social culture and how you support it.

We will talk more about building a sense of belonging in my next posts, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your best ideas and advice for responding to the perfect storm facing employers.

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