Organizations are reexamining how they recruit, develop, and retain talent. They have to, because the pandemic has accelerated three already existing trends among employees: the search for meaning; the desire for flexibility; and the pace of technological transformation.
mployees increasingly are bringing a new set of values, needs, and desires to the workplace, and the worker-employer contract is changing as a result, fundamentally and permanently. In this new environment, companies need to make six changes to succeed if they want to attract and retain talent. Katy George, senior partner and Chief People Officer at McKinsey & Company, describes what those changes are and suggests how best to make them.
#1 From pedigree to potential
Rather than assuming a management job needs an advanced degree, a certain number of years of experience, or an understanding of specific terms or concepts, companies can test for relevant qualities. Given tight labor markets, a number of employers are moving in this direction.
The official policy of the U.S. government, for one, is “to limit the use of educational requirements” in federal contracts, and in 2021 the government called on agencies “to increase the use of skills and competency-based hiring for employment.”
#2 From preset career paths to self-authorship
Research shows that people want the ability to personalize their jobs in a way that supports flexibility and well-being. Moreover, rather than following a pre-determined career track up a corporate ladder, they want to create their own career paths. Given the rapidly changing nature of work, and how quickly skills can become obsolete, employees have to take charge of their own professional development.
Self-directed learning can support both individual ambitions and company priorities. Self-directed learning can also promote long-term skill development is through “badging” — public recognition of a particular skill set. A badge establishes trust, assuring would-be apprentices of the teacher’s expertise, while also motivating people to keep learning.
#3 From one-way to two-way, real-time apprenticeship
Traditional apprenticeship was about a younger person learning a craft from an older one. Today, learning and teaching have to flow both ways, as they might in an apprenticeship that brings together a senior finance manager and a lower-ranking AI specialist.
A two-way learning dynamic gives workers opportunity for continual growth and can lead to greater loyalty and productivity. According to recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute, companies that are known as great learning organizations do better at attracting talent.
#4 From traditional working norms to teamwork as a science
Digital tools, advanced analytics techniques, and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed how work is done. Hybrid technologies bring together global capabilities with a few clicks and calls. Agile working methods allow companies to create more flexible working formations. More and more employees can now pick who they want to work and connect with.
#5 From time served to impact delivered
In traditional career paths, performance reviews and promotion were highly related to years served: Moving up the ladder could literally be a matter of time. The relationship between tenure and performance, however, is at best murky and may not exist. Moreover, this pattern fails in the post-pandemic context, in which employees are more demanding and see little stigma in leaving a job
#6 From culture fit to an inclusive meritocracy
Many companies have pledged to do more to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. Companies with a high percentage of women and ethnic minorities in their leadership teams were significantly more likely to have above-average profitability than those with relatively few, and this premium has grown over time.
Capturing the full benefits of diversity is not about hiring people who can fit into the existing corporate culture; it is about ensuring that the culture itself is supportive and adaptable enough to embrace all kinds of talent.
On the same wavelength, during the last Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit in New York, young maritime professionals discussed what actions need to be taken for the maritime industry to attract future generations. The Global Maritime Forum stressed six key areas where improvement is needed.