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What Can Companies Do About It?

  • May 2023

Currently, many companies are struggling to adapt to this new reality, with most unaware of how they can become more attractive in a fundamentally new employment market.

We observe two main areas on which companies can focus: first, ensuring they hire enough people, and then doing everything possible to make talent stay.

In terms of recruitment, companies have to expand their pool of workers. This means hiring from an available pool of employees, not necessarily the desired one. While they need to continue to attract traditional employees, who tend to be interested in titles and career progression, companies should also consider other employees who place more value on aspects such as personal fulfilment and flexible working arrangements.

To effectively fill open positions with these “non-traditional” employees, companies should start looking at a person’s potential and competencies, instead of experience. Additionally, they may need to rethink job requirements, such as accepting someone without a degree. Finally, they must offer new job models that fit the new employees’ needs. This means, for example, offering flexible work schedules or differently tailored compensation packages.

Once new people are on board, companies need to ensure that they retain them. While pay is one of the deciding factors, a feeling of purpose and community is also vital. Here, the company’s culture plays a central role.

Employers need consciously create a culture that fits both sides – the company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals but also their employees’ aspirations, goals, and needs. The first step on this journey is to cultivate clarity around the current and aspired culture. Then, people need to learn the skills to create the new culture, leadership needs to support it, and structures and mindsets need to reinforce it.

In addition, teams have to strengthen their sense of belonging. It is essential to recognize what great teams look like; it’s not enough to decide on a general direction and assign tasks according to that goal. Highly effective teams excel in four areas: 

  • The members share a vision and are aligned on how to get there.
  • Everyone on the team has a strong sense of belonging and trusts each other.
  • The team members are confident of their ability to succeed and are energized by common purpose.
  • They continually invest in their collaboration and share knowledge openly and freely.

Finally, companies should offer opportunities for self-development to every employee to satiate the ever-present need for personal fulfilment. This can range from coaching and personal development to offerings around skill-building. For all three areas, no patented, off-the-shelf formula will make a company the new hiring champion. Instead, companies need to consider the respective environment and situation before deciding on a detailed course of action in one or several focus areas. Only in this way can a company retain all their effective current employees while also creating an exciting workplace to attract potential hires.

Partners such as Egon Zehnder can guide companies on this journey. Not only can we support them in the search for the right candidate, we are also equipped to help them rethink how they assess candidates to focus more on potential and competencies rather than on previous experience.

Additionally, Egon Zehnder’s individual development can tailor personal development journeys for individuals and help them become their best selves. Our team development can help to forge teams that truly collaborate and attain their full potential. Finally, we can help companies transform their culture to create an environment that provides everybody with a true purpose, with aligned mindsets, and creates a fully flexible workplace.

Finally, we highlight once again that it is no longer sufficient for companies to proceed as they have done in the past. While the pressures might temporarily lessen, the fundamental changes in the employment market are not going away anytime soon, particularly as the global economic downturn tightens its grip. Ultimately, companies need to decide whether they will stay competitive and relevant in this new job market. If they want to succeed, they need to adapt and evolve, just as employees have done for decades or even centuries. If not, they will lose out in the increasingly fierce battle for talent.

Written by
Clemens Fahrbach
Clemens Fahrbach
Clemens Fahrbach is active in Egon Zehnder’s Leadership Services Practice. He is a valued advisor on leadership development…
Julius zur Nedden
Julius zur Nedden
Julius zur Nedden arbeitet mit Klienten daran, ihre Unternehmenskultur großflächig zu verändern, die Dynamik und Effizienz von Führungsteams zu stärken und Führungspersönlichkeiten nachhaltig zu entwickeln. Julius zur Nedden erwarb einen M.Sc. in Wirtschafts-, Organisations- und Sozialpsychologie und einen B.Sc. in Kommunikationswissenschaften an der LMU und ist als Berater für Immunity to Change (ITC) sowie 16PF/Hogan zertifiziert.
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