Who are you really competing with...Jul 21, 2022
Almost everything that we knew to be true and historically accurate about employee migration, career pathing and mindset have been upended by the last two years of political manipulation, big business policies and the complete abomination of social norms due to societal disruption. The BIG QUESTION is who are we all truly competing with for TOP TALENT to power our businesses? The short answer is that the competition now transcends verticals, industries and geographic location.
Our competition for the very best employment candidates is now a global challenge as the impact of everything from the internet and the post-pandemic economy to questionable geopolitical policies being imposed upon the world's population in varying degrees by governments in virtually every country.
Putting a finer point on this shift in perspective, it can often come down to where businesses that are looking for similarly skilled employees are located AND what their Work From Home (WFH) and/or Return To Office (RTO) policies and opportunities look like today. More and more, there is a slow-to-reveal semblance of clarity in terms of who specifically wants what being wrung out of the post-pandemic employment landscape. The difficulty is that there is little insight as to which philosophy, methodology or policy will, if at all, become the dominant most widely offered, accepted and sough-after.
Having a WFH option is not necessarily the "silver bullet" solution as an employment benefit for all prospective new employees. What we are seeing is a more brackish environment for both employers and employees. Globally, people are really split in terms of what they prefer in terms of WFH/RTO, often because there are few consistent guidelines or protocols that leaders and employees alike seem willing to agree upon. While to some that may appear as a challenge, I see this as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage for your company regardless of your position on the WFH/RTO issue. There are three (3) prevalent scenarios for employment that are playing out daily:
- 100% WFH
- 100% RTO
- A Hybrid WFH/RTO Schedule
One assertion that I am becoming more and more convinced of based on mainly anecdotal experience, is that no one direction will become dominant any time soon, unless of course we see another anomaly like a pandemic or global financial crisis.
What I do see is this...Being firm, but flexible in terms of the culture and working environments we offer is essential to identifying and attracting the right people for our businesses. In other words, pick a path, stay the course and adjust as needed. We should perpetually monitor the effect on our culture, operations, profitability and moreover our ability to attract, hire and retain the very best people.
There are opportunities to employee the hybrid strategy where the performance requirements accommodate one scenario over another, but clarity in policy and protocol is essential in creating and maintaining harmony throughout our team. It will go a long way in reducing, if not eradicating, envy between colleagues in different departments or organizational units.
Trying to be everything to everyone will most certainly serve to dilute unique cultural earmarks and core values and in the process confuse not only potential candidates, but more importantly our existing team. We have to decide and affirmatively declare what we believe is the best path for our respective organizations, and proceed confidently. We can be wrong and make adjustments as required, but we cannot be wishy-washy or weak-handed in our beliefs and subsequent actions taken.
There are benefits to each of the three (3) aforementioned working scenarios, and so taking the time to identify best practices for our collective businesses, collecting honest feedback from our teams and studying the best practices of other companies having success can help us guide and determine our relative course of action.
It is going to be a wild ride over the next 24-36 months for businesses of all shapes and sizes and in every industry. There will be big winners and big losers, but the one critical note to recognize is that we are not competing with just the traditional competitors in our given industry, we are all competing globally and that will require a real shift in perspective and focus.
Sandy Cerami is a nationally-recognized Business Expert and Speaker who consults and writes about topics ranging from Sales, Branding and Business Development to Organizational Culture, Leadership and Effective Communication. For more information and free resources and online materials for your business or career click here!