During the pandemic, employees rethought their relationship with work. Our previous paper on this ‘Great Enlightenment’ concluded that employees now seek roles that offer competitive remuneration with other benefits including flexibility, health, wellbeing, and work-life balance.

Good leaders understand that their organisation’s future success depends on whether they can compete for key talent in a global labour market where:

  • Employees want more from their role and their employer, to better match their new ‘life vision’,
  • Opportunities for alternative employment have increased, leading to a shift in the employee/employer power balance, and
  • Some organisations have already started to increase compensation and benefits.

Winning this increasing competition for talented employees is essential, and organisations wanting “to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of their future workforce.”1

From all the available options, which new attraction and retention initiatives will work in your organisation, your sector, and your country?

The needs, wants, motivations and frustrations of existing employees and potential new hires can be identified by asking them. “Do not assume. Simply ask employees…”2

A third-party online survey3 is a good way to survey all employees. Just make sure you take visible action in response. According to McKinsey, employees are “not tired of you asking them. They’re upset about you not doing anything with it.”4

The main aims of this survey are to discover what employees:

  • Like about their role, team, business unit, location, leader(s) and organisation overall,
  • Want improved about their role, team, business unit, location, leader(s) and organisation overall,
  • See their future in the organisation and beyond to be, and
  • Think would make them happier, recognised, appreciated, valued, more productive and healthier.

As they are critical to your future success, it is suggested that you also engage directly with your key talent pool5 by inviting them to participate in focus groups using external facilitators. Involving the leadership team in these focus groups will enable mutual understanding and direct feedback.

Another suggested initiative is to engage a third-party to survey key talent employed by your competitors and other organisations.6 The main aims of this ‘potential key talent’ survey are to discover:

  • What participants perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation, and
  • Why participants would/would not consider joining your organisation.

In combination with your organisation’s usual attrition data and exit interview information, the employee feedback obtained by the various means outlined in this paper will clearly identify:

  • What motivates and frustrates employees,
  • What your organisation is doing well, and what it could do better, and
  • The wants and needs of employees and potential new hires.

Your organisation’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is defined by Gartner as “how the labour market and employees perceive the value employees gain by working in”7 your organisation.

EVP enhancement and modernisation, with employee survey feedback as one key input, will be discussed in our next paper.

Finally, throughout this process of discovering your employees’ wants and needs, it is suggested that your organisation develops an internal (and later, external) communications strategy to:

  • Enhance your employees’ sense of involvement,
  • Highlight your organisation’s willingness to listen/evolve/improve,
  • Manage employee expectations, and
  • Explain/promote the initiatives you implement.


Partner | Employment & Labour Team Leader

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