How can the current talent gap be bridged?

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we think about work, both in terms of where, when and how we do it.

Changing expectations, the desire for a better work experience, and the need for flexibility have led to the phenomenon some call “the big resignation”. In the United States, for example, there are currently more vacancies than at any time in recent history.

But this trend can also be observed in the rest of the world. We have an aging population that is seeing a new generation entering the job market and a real gap between business needs and available personal profiles. Therefore, in this situation, organizations need to rethink their approach to human resources to bridge the talent gap.

Attracting Generation Z

Most Gen Zers (born in 1997 and 2012) are currently entering the workforce. What sets it apart, beyond the demand for increased resilience linked to the pandemic, is specific expectations toward the world of work. So it is important for companies to pay attention to it.

A survey we conducted with more than 1,000 respondents of this generation in France has allowed us to paint a relatively clear picture of what matters most to them:

  • First of all, 89% of respondents attach importance to the image that their company conveys on the Internet and social networks.
  • 76% prefer the hybrid model that mixes office work and telecommuting.
  • Finally, 81% of respondents consider it important for their companies to integrate digital technologies such as collaborative software or artificial intelligence.

Based on these findings, attracting Generation Z means a fundamental change in the way we approach work. Given the importance Generation Z places on corporate values ​​and standing, companies will need to demonstrate strong commitments to the environment, society, and governance. Otherwise, they will risk being less attractive and will lose their power to competitors who show greater social responsibility.

When it comes to organizing work, business leaders will need to have more open and honest discussions with Generation Z to truly understand their expectations. But more than simple exchanges, concrete actions must follow.

Finally, in a world where access to the latest technology can mean the difference between two functions, digital transformation must be treated as a consistent process that responds directly to the needs of employees, rather than as a one-time event without real impact.

Empowering employees

The difficulty of hiring collaborators is not just about Generation Z. This is why it is necessary to put in place a proactive approach in relation to the existing workforce and those who can be employed, but are not yet employed.

While more diverse recruiting tactics are necessary, the problem cannot be solved by immediate hiring. The correct answer is to first make sure that employees feel valued in their work and that they have the means to carry out their tasks. If we are to fight the talent crisis, we must empower employees.

This involves creating strong bonds in the workplace. Maximizing employees’ potential means understanding their individual needs and perspectives, and making sure they have the tools and support they need to succeed as individuals.

Second, employee empowerment also includes the ability to communicate directly with senior executives. To have a chance for changes, comments must reach the top of the company. Creating channels for employees to interact directly with their leaders increases their sense of ownership in the direction of the business. Moreover, it ensures at all levels of the company that people are on the same wavelength and share the same goals.

Finally, leaders must be humble. It is impossible for them to pretend that they are perfect or always have the right answers to the problems facing their business. However, they can work to ask the right questions and should encourage their employees to help them with this process.

Collaborate with our entire ecosystem

When it comes to reskilling and expanding business opportunities, many companies tend to take a very tactical approach, in order to meet their short-term needs. But often thinking on an individual scale produces only limited results.

With an exclusively individual approach, companies are unlikely to succeed in closing the talent gap. On the other hand, if they could join forces with other like-minded organizations (including their competitors), they could have a much greater impact.

Social issues such as diversity, inclusion and improving access to meaningful work are too important to be a point of competition between different companies. Their products and solutions should be enough to differentiate them, not the way they deal with the changing world of work that today has become a concern affecting the entire world.

Whether it is access programs, close collaboration with the education system or a complete re-examination of how companies operate in a deeply changing world of work, these questions must be addressed jointly by companies, not in isolation.

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