With unemployment at a 25-year high, one might think that attracting, engaging, and retaining talent could justifiably be last on the list of an organization’s priorities. But that’s not the case, for several reasons. Especially now that nearly every business is operating lean, rapid innovation is more important than ever to differentiate and stay competitive. New skills needed for knowledge jobs place a premium on having the right workers. And the global economy has created higher demand for advanced skills, turning up the heat even more on the pressure cooker. All of this means that, especially now, finding and keeping the right talent is critical for assuring an organization’s survival — and its ability to thrive when the economy begins to recover again.
But even with the brightest and the best on staff, successful talent management strategy can’t stop there. More than ever, attracting and retaining talent is about securing engagement and mindshare, and simply having people on the payroll doesn’t guarantee that goal. Engaging and motivating workers are especially tough tasks today. Following widespread downsizing and restructuring, 75% of layoff survivors acknowledge that their productivity has declined, and on any given day as much as 76% of the workforce is looking for other employment opportunities.
The workplace has a significant impact on these talent challenges. “Top-performing companies — those with higher profits, better employee engagement and stronger market and brand position— have significantly higher-performing work environments than average companies,” according to research by global architecture and design firm Gensler. Yet a big gap remains between what many offices provide and what workers need. The Steelcase Workplace Satisfaction Survey, a global research tool designers have used with over 133 clients and nearly 23,000 respondents to understand a variety of workplace issues that impact employee satisfaction, shows that a work environment that helps attract and retain employees is important to workers, but it’s also the single biggest issue not being met. In fact, it’s been the most frequently cited unmet need each year since the Survey began in 2004.
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