Challenges of the new post-pandemic labor relations: attraction and retention of talent, telecommuting and redefining the corporate culture
On the occasion of the presentation of the 15th Edition of Merco Talento España, in which Inditex (1st), Mercadona (2nd) and Repsol (3rd) have become the companies with the greatest capacity to attract and retain talent in the country in 2020 , Merco wanted to organize this Wednesday, April 7, a discussion table on “The Future of Talent”, which had the participation of José Manuel Casado, Managing Partner of 2C Consulting, in charge of moderating the talk; Rosa García, director of several companies with extensive experience; and María José Sobrinos, director of HR at Accenture. As main conclusions, the importance of finding resources that allow the attraction and retention of talent, the search for a hybrid model between teleworking and the face-to-face model and the redefinition of the business culture, were presented as the main challenges in the post- pandemic. But many other interesting messages were launched that are worth remembering.
What impact will corporate reputation have in the “uncertainty” scenario that we are experiencing in terms of attracting and retaining talent?
María José Sobrinos: “Corporate reputation has always been a key element when it comes to attracting talent and that will not change in the new way of living and working. What really varies is what makes up that reputation. Or what professionals understand as an attractive company based on its corporate reputation. The professional does not seek only to join a financially solvent company. Now many concepts are influencing, such as 'responsible business', the contribution to the objectives of 'sustainable development', diversity and inclusion policies or the flexibility offered to employees ... And these concepts are going to become key aspects.
Today, young (and not so young) professionals seek to be offered an interesting job, in which they are treated well and in which they care about improving the society in which they live, making them part of it. This is what attracts a professional and what can cause us to lose it if the company is not able to carry it out.
The purpose of the company must match that of the collaborators. Only when this happens, is there an attraction to attracting and retaining talent ”.
Rosa García: “Our work is yet another way of expressing our social position. We usually like to work for an attractive sector and a well-known brand. The worker wants, on the one hand, a company with sufficient financial results, which does not force him to change every 3 months; And one thing that is very important: that the company's ethical values coincide with yours. You cannot 'prostitute yourself', walk into the office, dress like an executive and be a different person. We no longer seek only to work in a large company, but in a company in which an added value can be provided, in addition to for investors or workers, for all stakeholders. In short: working for a better society. But the third derivative goes further: if salary was very important in the 20th century, now we are looking for things that transcend more. One of them is professional development. Also the possibility of reconciling interests both inside and outside the company. Finally: that they give the worker the possibility to be what he is, promoting diversity and inclusion. In short: brand, values and quality of work ”.
After the telework imposed by the pandemic, we are in a process of transformation towards a hybrid model. What will this situation mean for organizations in general?
María José Sobrinos: “The first thing to do is congratulate all of us on how the transition to teleworking was made a year ago, since there were sectors that had to go from 100% face-to-face work to 100% teleworking in record time. Having said that, we have to mature. At the time it was done well, because 'it was what had to be done', but now we have to think about a future job in which professionals want to return to the office, but not like before. The spaces that some companies had begun to transform need further evolution. Collaborative spaces are needed that have a rewarding experience.
A new era begins and we have to transform ourselves. Not only in terms of physical spaces, but also the flexibility that workers are not willing to lose. The model has come to stay and is much more than a simple teleworking model. It is a matter of flexibility of spaces, schedules and forms of collaboration ”.
Rosa García: “With the arrival of the pandemic, companies had to reorganize very quickly. But beyond the ability to 'place' people to work in different places, it is necessary to highlight the need for this new working relationship to be efficient and productive. And, in conclusion, we can say that older people had a harder time adapting to this teleworking due to the technical problems and the way they were used to working (more face-to-face, and with a form of communication and collaborative work that is also more face-to-face). Meanwhile, the younger generations had the need to reconcile the obligations inside and outside the office. On the other hand, those people who had only been around for a short time needed to emotionally connect with the brand they had started working for and with their colleagues ... Teleworking was a topic that senior management devoted a lot of time to. But the question is not, telework yes or no? We know that the answer will be yes in all those companies that can afford it. The answer will be flexibility, that is, that the work is done from where it needs to be done. They are going to have to change a lot of processes, a lot of ways 'of doing' and ways of directing. It is also going to have to make the office a place where workers meet to share experiences, to collaborate in a very efficient way and to form a team ”.
What will happen to the culture of the organizations? With the need to maintain the commitment to the corporate mission? Is it necessary a cultural reinforcement and that emotional bond that it generates?
Rosa García: “Part of the culture is seeing the organization in motion. Leaders are used to transmitting that culture orally, walking through the corridors, but now there are no corridors and they will have to make a brutal effort in communication issues, in explaining how we make decisions, in the way of understanding how we are able to accept feedback, in the way of working together ... Because now more than ever is when the holes in the organization are going to be seen, when the collaborators are going to see more clearly the processes that are not adjusted to the culture that we claim to have. This is what forces us to talk more and, at the same time, to do many more things in everything that has to do with the physical organization of companies. And the change in processes and in making them equal to the company's own culture will be fundamental ”.
María José Sobrinos: “The hybrid model will help, but those who will make the difference will be the leaders. They always have been, but now they have to be seen in a much more obvious way than before. It is a matter of making your behavior visible and of continually worrying that it will stall down the organization. And middle managers are fundamental in this journey, because in the end, they are the ones who are closest to the new generations and they are the ones who must instill that culture. And we also have to learn to transmit culture in a virtual way, according to the times we live in, being as effective as when we lived in a one hundred percent face-to-face time ”.
What part of the traditional HR processes is most affected by the pandemic? Which ones should change?
María José Sobrinos: “Responsible flexibility, granting more trust between both parties (both by the company towards its employees and by the employees towards the company); the second would be the purpose, which must be clear and attractive to professionals; and development, in a personalized way and in a field of knowledge that must be the one that the professional wants. Ultimately, the ideal company is one that offers an interesting development environment, cares about the worker and has an impact on society ”.
What should be the CEO's number one mission?
Rosa García: In these moments of pandemic and preparing for the post-pandemic, mission number 1 is to know how to recognize if the strategy that was had before the pandemic is the one that it must have in the future. It is important to know what the CEO is going to do so that the company wins in this changing market that does not look much like the previous scenario. And, secondly, in this redefinition of the strategy, it is necessary to redefine the culture and it is very important to align that new culture with that new strategy, as well as to reassign the talent that is going to be needed for the process to be successful ”.
Recommendations to the top management of companies to attract and retain talent
Rosa García: “First, let's not forget about talent, despite moments of crisis. Contrary to what happened in others, such as in 2008 (when there was a lot of talk about talent but it was not respected), now, companies that are not capable of attracting the best talent are not going to have a future. Second, they have to be able to execute that cultural change ... that creation of a new purpose, in a very efficient way that, in the end, they do not know, because it goes from a face-to-face model to a hybrid or blended model. And finally, everything that has to do with training, because if we are not able to adjust the talent we have to new needs, we will have to let it run away and that would be socially very little responsible, not economically good and would harm very much the culture of the company ”.