How Flexible Work Options Can Attract and Retain Top Talent
The pandemic may have forced many companies to embrace remote and hybrid working options, but the workforce itself will likely ensure that it’s here to stay.
Both current and potential employees are in the driver’s seat when it comes to reshaping the workplace today. While we can say the pandemic created a flexible working environment: work-from-home (WFH), hybrid, and remote work options are quite common — and gave birth to concepts like WFA (Work from Anywhere) and ROWE (Results-Oriented Working Environments) — these expectations had been brewing long beforehand as employees voiced a need for more flexibility and better work/life balance. In fact, studies show that U.S. workers now consider work/life balance and flexibility to be among the most important factors in considering job offers.
Yes, there are roles in industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and others that will always require the workforce to be onsite to fulfill the organization’s purpose. But for other roles, make no mistake: the top talent you’re looking for is going to weigh in on where and how they want to work. Even as many leaders are starting to set expectations on returning to the office on set days or so many days per week; the workforce is still driving forward with what they desire from their employers.
For company and talent leaders, this shift in workforce expectations presents real challenges to the one factor crucial in determining the success or failure of a business: organizational culture.
Culture and an Evolving, Flexible Workforce
Company culture refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a company and its employees. It is evident in the way an organization's people interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make. It encompasses a variety of elements, including company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, goals…and work environment.
No matter what flexible work options a company may offer, many will find it tough to engage employees and candidates with a culture clearly designed when work is done face-to-face. I think the reason for this is best described by the authors of one of my favorite HBR articles, “The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture”:
“Successful leaders understand that it takes equal parts strategy and culture to maintain organizational viability and effectiveness. Strategy offers a formal logic for the company’s goals and orients people around them. Culture expresses goals through values and beliefs and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms.”
Now that more work is expected to be done outside the four walls of the organization, special attention to how your culture is expressed will be extremely important in order for employees to share these goals. It’s simply not as easy to understand (or establish) “group norms” when you are physically removed from the group!
For an employer, this may require extra effort to keep everyone in the day-to-day flow of information, establish set expectations that help managers trust and lead from a distance, or experiment with ways to counter proximity bias and draw in remote talent. While the challenges around execution might be different for every company, the goal of this effort is universal – to ensure an evolving, flexible workforce sees your company as a where people experience purpose, feel valued, and have opportunities to learn and grow.
Workforce expectations may have changed around where work is done, but candidates and employees still expect the how and why to resonate with them. Continually investing in your company culture as your workplace evolves will keep your key employees engaged and motivated and make your organization a magnet for top talent. Here at Aspirant’s RPO we help employers understand workforce trends and look at ways to evolve your recruiting strategies, regardless of what types of employment norms you may be offering. Our goal is to help bring your Employee Value Proposition to life and engage candidates who stand with your purpose.
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Executive VP of RPO recruiting, Patty solves client talent acquisition challenges through innovative solutions that enable companies to attract top talent. Her experience includes recruitment marketing strategy, employment branding, HR technology implementations, research, and project management. Patty was the visionary for building a talent attraction platform (ACTIVATE) that leading organizations use to improve the candidate experience by transforming career sites into highly effective search engine optimized sites.