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Rethinking the Workplace to Improve Recruitment and Retention

February 17, 2022

By Jason Rowe, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

New sources of talent and changes in skills required to get work done are needed to address ongoing labor market challenges, according to an increasing number of employers in WTW’s recently released Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey.

The numbers of respondents that indicated each of the following will become increasingly important over the next three years compared with the past three years rose significantly:

  • Changing skills required to get work done is up 73%
  • Multi-skilling to enable employees to do tasks from different jobs is up 68%
  • Changing employee preferences is up 52%
  • Finding new sources of talent is up 36%

Additionally, over 8 in 10 employers expect to have problems attracting employees this year, compared to only 33% in 2020. Similarly, less than 1 in 4 employers envisioned struggling to keep workers in 2020, whereas nearly 3 in 4 employers believe they will have trouble retaining workers this year.

“Companies in virtually every industry are now under significant pressure to adapt to a new business environment and sweeping workforce changes,” said Adrienne Altman, managing director, North America, Talent and Rewards, WTW. “And there’s no greater challenge right now than hiring and retaining workers. Unfortunately, organizations do not expect the situation to improve this year, especially for critical-skill roles.”

The following five areas were identified as driving workplace changes over the past three years:

  • Emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (78%)
  • How employees work, including increased flexibility (74%)
  • Changes in technology strategy (66%)
  • Importance of organizational agility (56%)
  • Changes in leader and manager competencies (45%)

Additionally, employers anticipate investing resources into the five action items below:

  • Identify new sources of talent for work based on more flexible approaches to where, when, and how work gets done
  • Redesign jobs considering new skills, work value, and changing employee preferences
  • Reset total rewards philosophy and strategy for the new hybrid work environment by making trade-offs between design and cost optimization
  • Drive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and (DEI) goals through total rewards
  • Set an overarching career enablement strategy and define career alternatives

“Whether you view it as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle, or Reprioritization, organizations can take tangible actions to win the talent race. These include identifying new sources of talent, optimizing job design, resetting their total rewards strategy, and delivering a more robust career experience for employees,” said Catherine Hartmann, managing director, Work and Rewards, WTW.

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