4 Trends That Should Be Informing Your Workforce Career Management Strategy

As 40% of workers globally say they could leave their jobs in the next three to six months, and spiraling energy costs take their toll on businesses’ bottom lines, implementing and refining a workforce career management strategy will be crucial to retaining and developing the talent needed to achieve sustained success.

The world of work has changed irrevocably, and workforce strategies will need to be updated in order to align with the changing demands and expectations of today’s employees.

4 workforce trends that should be driving your people strategies:

Cost of living crisis – A survey from Totaljobs found that 76% of employees are concerned about the rising cost of living, while many retired workers are now considering returning to the workplace as the their pensions aren’t stretching as far as anticipated. Plus, not only are businesses likely to see older workers push back retirement and return to the workplace, 1 in 3 employees are also utilising the gig economy to take on 2nd jobs to better support themselves financially.

In turn, business leaders need to ensure line managers are equipped to have regular career conversations with their team members. Individuals entering the gig economy and taking on extra jobs are likely to be suffering from feelings of burnout, and so it’s important line managers are aware of the situation and can offer support as needed. Simultaneously, older workers can discuss their decision to remain in the workplace for longer than perhaps originally planned, and be reassured that there is a long-term plan in place for those at a later stage of their career.

Skills are overtaking qualifications – As 69% of businesses cannot find the skills they need, it’s no surprise that many organisations are now investing more in the training and development of both existing and new employees. The Open University’s Business Barometer 2022 report found that 52% of large organisations will increase investment in staff training over the next year, while Hays recently reported that four in five employers would now consider hiring employees based purely on potential, with the intention of upskilling them once hired.

There has long been a willingness from employees of all ages to undertake learning and development opportunities, with a direct correlation between skills training and improved job satisfaction. Having access to ongoing coaching support enables employees to identify skill gaps and implement an action plan in order to address them, with 2 in 3 workers citing skills coaching as a key driver for improved job performance. So, as business leaders focus more on upskilling their workforce, it’s essential they place coaching support at the heart of their development initiatives.

Lack of succession planning – According to research, just 35% of organisations have a formalised plan for succession, while 39% of HR professionals agreed that inadequate talent pipelines were responsible for their organisation being unable to respond to sudden changes in business needs. A lack of buy-in at board level and paranoia among senior managers being tasked with finding their own future replacement has hindered the effectiveness of succession planning for many organisations, with 1 in 4 businesses lacking the internal data to support such planning.

In order to acquire the data needed to inform succession planning, and remove any element of paranoia surrounding the practice, business leaders first need to assess their upcoming leadership population to understand which skills are available and which are missing. Once skill gaps have been identified, a development plan can be put in place and each new leader can be paired with an experienced executive who can impart knowledge and expertise onto these future leaders, to ensure a healthy talent pipeline can be established. These senior leaders will have had it made it clear that these conversations are not a signal of their imminent departure, rather an acknowledgment of their importance to the organisation as enablers of business continuity.

Diminished sense of ‘home’ – With the pandemic driving the adoption of hybrid working, businesses need to understand how this shift could be impacting their younger workers and new starters, many of whom may have been working remotely throughout their entire tenure with the organisation. The Times recently reported on how young workers are yearning for in-person contact after studying in lockdown, and that senior leaders need to focus on enthusing their young workers to prevent them from becoming detached from the world of work.

Where possible, it’s important that business leaders establish a ‘home’ that all employees can go to if they ever need a break from their remote working environment. And while mandatory attendance in an office isn’t necessarily the answer, organisations can think of more engaging ways to use this space and encourage employee interaction. For example, semi-regular collaboration days can provide employees with the opportunity to meet in-person and reconnect after prolonged periods of time apart; while senior leadership presence during these events will help to reinforce a positive workplace culture from the top-down.