There is pressure amid HR, pressure on many fronts that one can only hope will subside soon.
In addition to the volatile events over the last two years, HR departments in just about every organization are experiencing an additional disruption around the great resignation and the talent shortage. This talent shortage requires innovation around talent acquisition, talent management, and talent retention.
The talent shortage is only one of the many things that HR departments must contend with today. As the pandemic hit and the landscape of talent changed, people (especially women) had to make choices around their families, elder care, etc. Many have realized that perhaps they may be missing out on life as they were forced to spend more time at home and be with family. In addition, virtual and hybrid working environments supported the theory that not all work needed to be done in the office. People are opting for balance in their lives and careers, and they are making career choices about what is important to them; hence, “the great resignation.”
The great resignation is a concern for many CHROs as the organizations that they run look to fill critical roles that were not occupied in 2020 and 2021. Many leaders have realized that most of the work can be successful in a “work from home” environment. This novel flexibility for employees has allowed many companies leverage to attract, hire and retain top talent. Even non-office roles required revision to appeal to candidates looking for flexibility. While flexibility may go a long way, many organizations also had to take a serious look at their culture to ensure that they were attractive to the competitive talent pool.
Organizational culture and the engagement of employees have an even heavier influence than they did two years ago. Organizations are seeking to develop organizational cultures that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable in their response to the deaths of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, et al. In this new reality, people want to work in environments where they can belong, contribute, and bring their whole, best selves to work regardless of age, race, color, socio-economic background, gender status, sexual orientation, ability, etc. With that, organizations must spend dollars on developing DEI infrastructures (if they don’t already have them) or enhance what they already have to ensure that it meets the needs of all employees and develops the culture that people want to work in. This is yet another consideration for candidates, so it would behoove an organization to act on their DEI efforts to attract, hire and retain talent. If an organization does not have a commitment to DEI and the compensation package, location, flexibility, etc., offered to candidates, chances are they either won’t take the job or won’t stay very long.
With the multitude of changes over the last two years, a tremendous amount of pressure is placed on HR teams to respond to talent acquisition and retention needs, stretching people like rubber bands, and many are suffering from burnout as they try to meet the demands of the new landscape. So, what can organizations and HR departments do to address the pressures placed on their talent?
- Recognize that the great resignation may be here for a while; that’s the reality
- Take burnout seriously; people are over-extended. It’s real and needs to be addressed. You may notice people: calling out more often, maybe a bit more irritable, maybe making more mistakes or not following up, etc.
- Ask how people are doing and give them an opportunity to respond without making them wrong
- Use EAP services to support employees who may be struggling personally or professionally in the new landscape
- Listen to the concerns of team members and be open to their ideas for change; create a safe, brave space for sharing
- Provide flexibility for HR team members (virtual, hybrid, adjusted hours) in their work
- Bring in coaches to support ideating new ways of working and help teams to innovate and get into action
- Recognize the HR team’s efforts and celebrate them!