There is a case to be made for organisations to be more employee-centric; in a rapidly changing workplace and business environment we need to look at job design and organisational structures from the perspective of the employee. Just as consumers increasingly seek tailored, bespoke solutions, so knowledge workers demand just such an approach to their work and career path.
High performance, committed employees want jobs that are sculpted to their particular requirements. Job design, role content, work environment, hours are all areas where people want to have more control and autonomy. Good employees want to map a career path with their chosen organisation; they want managers who give them a voice and they want to see how their contribution fits into the bigger organisational picture.
This is not just the case with regards to high value jobs; the imposition of the living wage will end wage differentiation for many High Street retailers. The gig economy is revolutionising the way services are delivered in hospitality, logistics as well as management consulting; technological development and innovative design are disrupting everything from banking to waste management.
Congruence and connection
Where employees feel that there is a high level of congruence between their professional and personal priorities there is a greater likelihood of success and engagement.
Employer brand is increasingly important as organisations realise the necessity to present well in the marketplace and provide a positive candidate and employee experience. The rise of social media makes it is easier than ever to connect and share online. Social platforms have transformed office life and personal career management. Organisations can’t escape this online scrutiny, and they can’t control it; this means that softer, intangible benefits are more important in attraction and retention. Glassdoor provides an up to minute review of the candidate experience, and human behaviour being what it is former employees are likelier to write a negative review than a good one.
There is a greater focus on employability, partly because individual employees are finding it is much easier to source new opportunities using social media, and because their expectations for personal growth and career development are increasingly important. The best employees are not willing to suffer a poor employer offering. An organisation’s ability to make their employees more employable will increasingly become a point of competitive advantage.
Rather than top down manpower planning the organisation will need to provide career management systems that allow employees to look across the organisation for opportunities. Self-aware employees demand clearly defined and aligned goals, with open and flexible career paths, learning and development plans and the provision of tools that facilitate career planning. Organisations will need to enable their employees to manage their careers.
Empower performance and growth
The organisation will need to focus on talent management strategies that empower employees, inspire high performance, facilitating and rewarding development and skills acquisition, to enhance business outcomes. Your best people want career growth and if those opportunities don’t exist internally, they will look elsewhere and eventually leave.
Skills shortages and talent pipeline are serious issues for organisations in every sector. A robust employer brand attracts staff who are engaged in their work, devoting ‘discretionary effort’ to their role and an organisation that they care about. It’s a fundamental measure of employee engagement – employees who feel proud of the organisation and what it does.
This is the employer brand that allows people to identify with the organisation, and to develop an affinity with organisational values and objectives. Enhanced employability is not sufficient, employees demand meaning and purpose in their work; they thrive and perform to full potential in a culture that resonates with their own values and aspirations.