Article: ‘Most employees today are craving human investment in the workplace’: Wiley’s Ritesh Kumar

Talent Management

‘Most employees today are craving human investment in the workplace’: Wiley’s Ritesh Kumar

In the past two years, employees have changed, and many have clarified their priorities. They want to feel valued by their organisations and without a sense of connection and belonging, may consider moving on to another employer, says Ritesh Kumar, country lead, Wiley India.
‘Most employees today are craving human investment in the workplace’: Wiley’s Ritesh Kumar

The pandemic has created drastic shifts to how we define work and the workplace. And then, with a record number of Americans leaving their jobs over the past several months - and whether it is the “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reshuffle”, it is evident that retaining great talent is harder than it’s ever been. 

These trends highlight the need for organisations to make adjustments in order to retain talent.

Data from Wiley, a global leader in research and education, obtained from surveys of thousands of employees around the country, suggests that businesses must listen to their employees, develop innovative methods to satisfy their demands, and, most importantly, invest in them in order to keep them on the payroll.

And these efforts must be deliberate, long-term, and aggressive.

So, what actions might an organisation take to combat this tendency and avoid the workforce instability brought by the Great Resignation? Ritesh Kumar, country lead, Wiley India shares some solutions in an interaction with People Matters.

Here are some excerpts

What is the difference between ‘The Great Resignation’ and ‘The Great Reshuffle’?

Today, organisations and enterprises across the globe are facing the challenge of acquiring and retaining talent.

The labour market is tight, and employees are voluntarily resigning from their jobs contributing to the ‘Great Resignation’ we have been seeing. Data also suggests that employees are not quitting to sit on the sidelines but are moving on to opportunities more aligned with their careers, desired work conditions, and long-term goals, what observers are calling the ‘Great Reshuffle.’

The global Covid-19 pandemic has provided both organisations and their people an opportunity to re-think their work models and operations. As pandemic life recedes, employers and employees are in the midst of a moment of reckoning. Employees are looking for balance, flexibility and support, and employers are really trying to find people with the right skills to move their businesses forward.

What should organisations do to avoid the workforce instability brought by the Great Resignation?

In the past two years, people have been through a lot. Employees have changed, and many have clarified their values. Most of the employees today are craving a human investment in the workplace. They want to feel valued by their organisations. Without a sense of connection and belonging, they may consider moving on to another employer.

To put it simply, employees are taking a fresh look at if their values and those of their organisations align.

At such a crucial time, it is important for organisations to focus on building responsible and resilient workplaces, guided completely by a people-centered culture. A ‘people-first’ approach backed by the meaningful purpose of building communities is what is going to make all the difference.

Organisations need to shift focus towards building communities and culture for colleagues. This can include in-person or virtual and be organised geographically, by job functions or by personal interests. Regardless, the outcome should be a collaborative culture where teammates support and connect with each other.

In addition to reinforcing values and community-building, organisations need to re-calibrate the entire work model and enable employees with greater flexibility. It is important to continue utilising the best of what has been learnt working remotely while encouraging more productive face-to-face connections and greater flexibility and balance for colleagues.

A careful blend of flexible, digitally enabled remote work and purposeful in-person connection and collaboration will help.

Encouraging and supporting employees’ re-skilling and learning efforts is a must too.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, Companies estimated that, by 2024, around 40% of workers will require reskilling of up to six months. We are certainly seeing that unfold. Many organisations have already begun to offer workplace education in the form of training, workshops and tuition support to employees for pursuing upskilling programs in areas such as data analytics, management, and AI/ML led courses.

Organisations should encourage and support more of such initiatives and efforts to help employees scale up on an everyday basis.

One of Wiley’s recent surveys - The Hidden Cost of Onboarding Graduate Talent, conducted in the US, demonstrated that 47% of entry-level talent considers company culture as the paramount factor while deciding to accept a new role.

Another survey- Diversity in Tech: 2021 US report found that half of young tech workers surveyed had left, or wanted to leave, a job because their company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.

In short, a lack of diversity and inclusivity is causing many to reevaluate their choices. Companies can look to battle the “Great Resignation” by investing in a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Employers ought to cultivate a holistic and nurturing work environment that enables employee-to-employee and employee-to-employer connection and communication, free of bias.

The Great Resignation has severely impacted the US. Being a company based in the US, how is Wiley combating The Great Resignation?

A majority of industry surveys and reports indicate that while better pay or compensation is one of the factors contributing to ‘The Great Resignation’ wave, it is not the sole criterion.

There are several other factors pushing employees to re-consider career choices. Great culture, work life balance, respect for diversity and inclusion and a high learning curve etc. are being prioritised by people.

As a global leader in research and education, Wiley believes that culture is a starting point and hence, we focus on creating a stronger community and culture. Guided by our mission of unlocking human potential, we invest more on empowering people than processes. Our efforts range from building up flexible policies that reduce employee stress and keeping people happy, to enabling learning or upskilling at work, and creating an environment where diversity and inclusion is not just treated as another buzzword but is implemented at a foundational level to creating a great place to work.

Additionally, we are continuously evaluating our benefits and compensation to ensure our colleagues not only feel good about supporting our noble mission but are also being rewarded appropriately.

Wiley has completed over 215 years in the market and this in itself is a testimony to our expertise in dealing with challenges and changes. As we move forward, we believe that our continued investment in innovation and technology will certainly help us tide over the current situation.

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Topics: Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, #GreatPowerShift

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