Article by Melissa BuchPosted

The relationship between companies and talent has changed forever. Employees feel disengaged and full of unfulfilled expectations, while leaders are facing uncertainty and new challenges. This recession is above all a talent recession, so how can businesses mind the gap with talent while keeping up productivity?

Covid vs culture

When covid hit, nobody knew if it would last a few days or a few months. And it ended up lasting three years. In this time, companies made short-term decisions with limited information. But they also found new ways to show their employees their human side, through things like flexible hours, free days or remote working.

And over time, people began to focus on the things that really mattered to them. Like family, being present at home, and of course, Tiger King. Without realizing it, the sense of belonging and community we had at work slowly faded away.

What does this mean today?

With a fresh recession on the horizon, leaders and managers are facing new pressure to get results. And under this pressure, it’s easy to see the solution as “Let’s come back to the office and focus 100% on performance so we can overcome this challenge together!

But is it that simple? After all, the pandemic didn’t just change the way we work. It changed the way we feel about it. Research by The Future Forum found that most employees don’t want to go back to the old way of working. Only 12% want to return to full-time office work, and 72% want a hybrid remote-office model.

That is, unless they’re senior leaders. In a report by Slack, 75% of surveyed executives who work remotely want to return to the office three to five days a week, and 44% want to return full time.

This friction between leadership and employees has created an expectations gap, where employees feel misunderstood, disengaged, and even let down. Many have raised concerns about returning to the office, openly stating they don’t want things to go ‘back to normal’.

Which brings us to today. Where businesses are facing a recession not just of money, but of talent.

Not enough skills to pay the bills

The world has never seen an economy like this. Where talent is in high demand because of a general shortage of skills. This skills shortage has been reported on for years, but according to a survey of Fortune 500 leaders, it’s currently the number one threat to business success.

What does this mean for businesses striving to survive? It means there are two key indicators that will define their success or failure in the year to come. Retention and engagement.

72% of business leaders say finding and retaining talent is their biggest challenge in the current labor market. According to Gallup, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers is at its lowest in a decade. And what’s more, half of the U.S. workforce is allegedly ‘quiet quitting’ - doing the bare minimum their roles require.

So how can we turn things around?

Here’s the challenge. Retain and engage talent while increasing productivity.

Ambitious? Yes. Hopeless? Not at all.

Because here’s the solution. Redefine the company culture. 68% of employees would leave their job for a company that prioritizes culture. So make it relevant. Make it meaningful. And make it a priority. For employees and the company as a whole.

Make culture your new year’s resolution

This recession is absolutely a talent recession. The companies who redefine and prioritize their cultures will come out of 2023 stronger than ever.

So it’s time to invest in redefining and reinventing the workplace culture and community, and close the expectations gap between leaders and employees. It’s time to reshape the work environment as we know it, to create a culture empowering talent, purpose and growth. 

The time for company culture is now.

Are you ready?

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Article by Melissa Buch

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