Reimagining People & Culture: Why Leaders Must Regain Control Over Talent Strategy
The current state of play for People & Culture continues to evolve, as the environment in which leaders operate imposes new expectations upon them.
From DE&I and well-being initiatives to organisational design and the fight for top talent, People & Culture leaders are forced to juggle it all while driving business growth. Competition and business improvement have never been more important — and People & Culture are called to lead the charge. And it starts with regaining control over the organisation’s talent strategy.
In this article, we discuss what it means to lead People & Culture in an uncertain, ever-changing environment and the opportunity to steward change.
The state of play for People & Culture
It seems every other day there is a new headline foreshadowing another worker crisis. Add to that People & Culture leaders’ responsibilities becoming more strategic and humanistic at once, and it’s no wonder leaders are languishing. If it’s any consolation, know you are not alone.
Behavioural data from LinkedIn shows People & Culture has the highest turnover of all job functions, averaging 15% globally from June 2021 to 2022. In truth, the pandemic isn’t entirely to blame — People & Culture has ranked top three for turnover over the last three years. It’s clear why:
Worker expectations have gradually evolved to create the new work order we live in, in a near post-pandemic world. Across industries, Millennials and Generation Z are seeking meaningful roles and a sense of belonging in the organisation they work for. Workers have reassessed their priorities, placing purpose over hustle, and baulk at the notion of compromising work-life balance.
Today’s talent also holds organisations to account on contemporary issues, pushing action on social inequalities and climate change. For leaders, these expectations mean realigning organisational and talent strategy with workers’ shifting priorities and values.
Zooming out to a global scale, major international events continue to create unease, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Also, concerns about a looming global recession and the cost-of-living crisis pervade workers' minds. Economic uncertainty affects us all, regardless of one’s role or hierarchical position.
These environmental factors put into focus how People & Culture leaders must balance business and talent needs (including their own) amidst ongoing turbulence.
Leading talent strategy beyond 2022
Evidently, efforts in attracting, engaging and retaining top talent can be hindered by external factors beyond leaders’ control.
So, what does unyielding turbulence mean for People & Culture and tomorrow’s talent? It’s a matter of repeatedly adapting and readapting to market changes while balancing varied stakeholder needs. The greatest challenge of all lies in narrowing the gap between worker expectations and what organisations can offer.
But rather than seeing uncertainty as something to resist, think of it as an opportunity to adapt; to demonstrate People & Culture’s value.
Do talent strategy right, and leaders can produce better outcomes for:
- The organisation.
By connecting talent strategy with business improvement, including productivity and profitability, as well as enhancing brand reputation in the marketplace.
- The talent.
By delivering on EVP promises, implementing programs and initiatives that build meaning and significance, and elevating the employee experience to create happier, more productive work environments.
- The People & Culture team.
By attracting top talent, and boosting engagement and retention, while actively shaping organisational culture and the business’ direction.
How leaders can steward organisational change
Though the task at hand is a tall order, it’s not impossible. In fact, now is precisely the time to regain control over talent strategy and talent management.
People & Culture leaders are called to take the lead as stewards of change. The pandemic has shown they are essential in enhancing competitive advantage, which has earned them a well-deserved seat at the table. Given the current state of play, leaders must be ready for the spotlight to remain on them for a while longer.
This involves breaking free from a survival mindset. It means navigating complexity from a place of strength and being courageous enough to make tough calls. And, most importantly, it means being adaptable when driving their people and business forward.
But grit is only half the puzzle. Leaders can’t think their way toward improving talent strategy — they must act.
Looking ahead, there lies plenty of opportunity to shape change and move toward the organisation of the future, no matter what gets thrown your direction.
Fortunately, there are solutions to help leaders of People functions progress talent management amidst today’s turbulence. In our six-part blog series, we explore a roadmap for reimagining People & Culture in your organisation.