Today’s professionals demand more than just a competitive salary. Organisational cultures and values will go a long way to luring world-class talent.
In the new age of work, competitive salaries are no longer the be-all and end-all when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. Employees demand more.
A period of unprecedented disruption to the how, when, and where of work prompted many people to reassess the relationship between their personal and professional lives. As evidenced by “The Great Resignation”, there was little hesitation among workers to make a change. What’s more, labour shortages across the board caused the pendulum of power to swing firmly in their favour.
The penny quickly dropped for business leaders: the traditional strategy of throwing money at the problem was no longer fit for purpose. Factors such as work-life balance, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability suddenly catapulted up the list of priorities among workers.
Companies have been forced to think outside the box to increase their attractiveness in the eyes of existing employees and potential candidates. This requires becoming, as defined by Economist Impact, a magnetic workplace.
A magnetic workplace is an environment where employees want to work. Rather than obligation, they feel a sense of belonging and fulfilment. As outlined by the recent Economist Impact Magnetic Workplace report, three pillars underpin this concept:
Numerical values can be attributed to productivity, and physical infrastructure such as printing devices can be seen and touched. Organisational culture and employee engagement, however, are intangible. But they have never mattered more.
While output and profitability are indicators of the health of an organisation at a given moment in time, culture and values will invariably be key determinants of sustainable success. Without a culture that fosters teamwork and job satisfaction, short-term gains are simply papering over cracks that will drain productivity in the long run. If people do not identify with the values of their organisation, investments in new technology will fail to be fully optimised because staff are not fully engaged and motivated. To this end, people and technology can no longer be viewed as separate entities – the success of one depends on the other.
Toxic work environments where there exists a disconnect between the values of employees and those of the company not only affect internal morale, but also damage organisational reputations. In today’s hyper-competitive race for talent, reputation matters more than ever. Organisations that are big on sustainability, social initiatives, or efforts to ensure a positive work-life balance for employees are now well-placed to build loyalty within and increase attractiveness to those weighing up a career move. The Magnetic Workplace report cites a survey of US workers which found that more than half were willing to take a pay cut to work with companies that share their values. “Some observers have argued that companies’ failure to bolster their strategies with foundational values was a central driver of the great resignation,” the report adds.
It also highlights that stronger value-alignment is common in mission-driven industries such as healthcare and utilities where workers are closely connected to a community and feel a sense of purpose. For these workers, providing an essential and invaluable service can lead to a feeling of job satisfaction and fulfilment, thus complementing the productivity already facilitated by cutting-edge technology.
Societies are becoming increasingly diverse – why should the workplace be any different? Today’s professionals want to feel included and represented, they wish to be given the freedom to express who they are. This is key to unlocking their potential.
According to the International Labour Organization, more diverse firms tend to perform better, resulting in higher levels of productivity, innovation, and workforce well-being than more homogenous companies. “It stands to reason that firms wanting to make their workplaces more magnetic would do well to consider introducing policies that encourage diversity and inclusion,” argues the magnetic workplace report.
The case is clear: if employees identify with the values of the business and enjoy a positive work-life balance, they will feel a sense of belonging and loyalty toward the organisation. This, in turn, leads to greater employee engagement and the increased likelihood that investments in new technologies will pay dividends. In the magnetic workplace, everyone’s a winner.
“People and technology can no longer be viewed as separate entities”