Earlier this year, Microsoft published a comprehensive study titled “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?” According to the survey, more than 73% of the global workforce want to keep their flexible work options beyond the Covid-19 pandemic as a condition of remaining in their jobs. Numbers like this clearly demonstrate that businesses must modify their work models to retain and recruit executive talent, keeping pace with the evolution of today’s workforce.
“Employee expectations are changing,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, “and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today.”
The “More” – What Must Companies Offer
Hybrid work accommodations are undoubtedly a growing trend, but not the only thing companies will need to offer to attract executive talent. In the post-Covid 19 world, people increasingly appear to be craving more than just a competitive salary. But what exactly is the “more” that companies need to offer to keep their best and brightest? While there is no simple answer to this question, the following five things are considered vital by many:
1) Redefine Productivity
The traditional definition of productivity is shifting, and this will take time for many companies to adjust. Productivity used to be synonymous with working in an office or on-site position all day long. Now it means something different—and more than just coming into the workplace every day. Organizations need to start moving away from viewing people as workers who are merely “in the office” or not. They must instead view them as people who are committed to their work and focused on achieving goals, regardless of location or availability.
In a world without boundaries, productivity is no longer just about hours spent in the workplace—it’s also about understanding how people work best and creating an environment that supports that.
Many companies have already begun this transition by changing how they define productivity in the post-Covid 19 world—and it’s paying off immensely. New research shows that working remotely can increase productivity by up to 77%.
In the Covid-19 pandemic’s aftermath, many organizations have been forced to reevaluate their hiring practices and cultural expectations to both attract top executive talent—and as or more importantly – to retain it. The days of a large company offering a set salary with no additional perks or benefits are long gone. Today’s workforce is looking for something more personalized.
Glenda K. Brown, executive career coach, recently summarized that among her executive clients, each are looking for “more” in order to join an organization or stay with their current employer – but that the “more” varies significantly from one executive to the next. She suggests that companies will need to personalize executive experiences in the same way customer experiences are personalized.
Providing top executive talent with a truly unique experience means implementing new benefits or perks that go beyond just a salary, such as offering sabbaticals or parental leave or paying for educational pursuits. Remember that happy workers are at the heart of efforts to future-proof your business.
3) Opportunity to Do Meaningful Work
The very nature of work is changing—and that includes the criteria for top executive talent. As jobs become increasingly automated, younger generations seek ways to contribute to both the financial and other positive impacts an organization can deliver. They want to feel that what they do has meaning and value, and companies need to be aware of this. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, according to an Inc. study published by Forbes, and they are seeking socially responsible companies.
This new reality has prompted businesses to prioritize their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria more frequently in recent years. Bloomberg Intelligence released a report earlier this year predicting the value of ESG assets will rise to $53 trillion by 2025, accounting for more than a third of the projected $140.5 trillion in total assets under management. With numbers like this, it’s clear that ESG is becoming a bigger priority for many organizations. Companies need to be prepared for this new era of work by not only hiring good people but good people who are passionate about the work they are doing.
Companies must ensure that their efforts are sustainable and impactful instead of just another checkbox on an already crowded list of priorities. By offering potential top executive talent the chance to make a difference in terms of ESG—you are delivering an opportunity to increase sense of purpose through work. This is one way that companies can create an elite recruiting strategy by appealing to workers looking for something beyond just a paycheck.
Likewise, it’s not enough for companies to simply offer people interesting projects—they must also provide opportunities for true long-term development and growth. Equipping people with different skills or new knowledge will help them stay engaged, provide stronger results, and achieve an increased sense of engagement within their role.
4) Build a People-First Culture
In his best-selling book, “Leaders Eat Last, Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t,” Simon Sinek uses historical data to declare that companies that have a “people first” culture are more likely to be successful during times of economic and market uncertainty. In fact, he goes as far as saying that those organizations that truly value their people—as opposed to just viewing them as numbers on a spreadsheet or another part of the machine —are significantly more likely to survive great disruptions.
“The great irony of all this is that capitalism actually does better when we work as we were designed—when we have a chance to fulfill our very human obligations,” he writes.
“To ask our employees not simply for their hands to do our labor, but to inspire their cooperation, their trust and their loyalty so that they will commit to our cause. To treat people like family and not as mere employees. To sacrifice the numbers to save the people and not sacrifice the people to save the numbers,” he adds.
As a business owner, you must ask yourself whether you are truly creating a culture that values the people working for you rather than simply looking at them as employees. Are they able to bring their whole selves to work—their passions, interests, and cultures? If so, would your employees identify with and be proud of what you’re doing? Do your employees feel like they belong in the company culture —like they are a part of something bigger than themselves?
5) Final Rewarding Perks
As briefly discussed above, a perk is more than offering free pizza on Fridays or a ping pong table in the office—it’s about finding something that will make a difference. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it’s pivotal to make sure that whatever you are offering is going to stand out.
“Perks aren’t just for the ‘knowledge workers’ or those in offices,” said Amy Spurling, CEO of Compt, a human resources firm, in an interview with Grit Daily. “We work with companies to offer stipends to those hourly workers so that they can then receive perks that are flexible and also allow them to differentiate themselves from every other hourly place a person could work.”
While “health and wellness” have been the most popular perk this year, she advises that different firms consider what they believe will work for their employees, considering factors like location and industry.
“It’s no surprise restaurant staff want different perks than daycare workers. A retail employee may want childcare benefits for when they need to pick up a shift where the construction worker may want health and wellness perks to spend on a gym membership to stay fit,” she said.
Perks aren’t about offering the same thing everyone else does—they are about helping your team stand out in a meaningful way. Try to be creative and think outside of the box. Never forget that the more you can create an environment where people feel like these perks contribute to them, the more likely your firm will retain and recruit executive talent.
About IIC Partners
IIC Partners Executive Search Worldwide (www.iicpartners.com) is a top ten global executive search organization. All IIC Partners member firms are independently owned and managed and are leaders in local and national markets, developing solutions for their client’s organizational leadership and talent management requirements. For more information, please visit www.iicpartners.com or contact Christine Hayward, Executive Director, at email@example.com.