- Attracting and retaining qualified job candidates are the main challenges worrying employers globally, a recent Russell Reynolds study found. In its 2022 Global Leadership Monitor, 72% of employers surveyed cited this as a top concern.
- The fear beat out health threats (36%), hybrid work (36%), and geopolitical and economic uncertainty (42% and 44%, respectively) as perceived risks to business health in 2022.
- The rate of employers worried about skilled talent, as surveyed by Russell Reynolds, is up from 59% the year prior.
Employee experience (EX) appears to be a critical component of workplace culture.
“This challenge is not simply one of acquiring talent but, more importantly, one of retaining and engaging one’s existing employees. In the era of stakeholder capitalism, tight labor markets are giving employees more power and more voice,” Russell Reynolds said in its rollout of the report. “Leaders who under-invest in employee engagement and understanding are creating significant risk for their organizations.”
With the onset of the Great Resignation, many employers have adjusted their approach to cultivating a desirable work environment. Prior to the pandemic, 52% of employers surveyed by Willis Towers Watson named EX a priority. Meanwhile, in 2021, 92% of employers said they planned to prioritize EX over the next three years. That jump was accompanied by data wherein one-third to one-half of employers said the pandemic had tanked worker productivity and engagement, negatively shifted organizational culture, soured employee experiences and damaged employee well-being. A research lead at Willis Towers Watson told HR Dive that these stats should serve as a “wake-up call.”
This outlook may be poignant when viewed alongside Eagle Hill Consulting’s EX guidance to “think beyond the human resources function.” The December 2021 report touched on how EX has many facets: the interpersonal element, or co-workers; the occupational element, as in what employees do; the physical element, or where employees work; and the technological element, as in how employees work.
Perhaps notable is research indicating employees would like more help upskilling for a “rapidly changing future.” Thirty-eight percent of Eagle Hill survey respondents told the research firm they’re not confident they are getting the right skills training for their future, with 30% admitting they feel the need to be reskilled. What may be interesting is that, more than their career opportunities (55%) or promotion opportunities (50%), respondents said they view their L&D opportunities (61%) as positive.
The data isn’t all doomsday prophecies: HR pros may have an opportunity to bake L&D into recruiting and retention, thereby addressing a lack of skilled talent. Organizations like NAF pair high-school students with corporate companies — in IT, engineering, finance, hospitality and tourism fields — for internships. This is just one example of how companies can give back by upskilling young workers in their community, and also create their own talent pipeline.