The title of this blog may come as a bit of a shock, being written by an Executive Headhunter, but I feel it’s the biggest open secret in workforce planning. I recognise that “people are our biggest assets” can be something of a empty platitude at times. People generally sit as a cost on company ledgers not as an asset, so this blog is a plea to invest more in your staff.
My motivation for sharing this “insight” is that as an executive search specialist, I value my client’s time and business and want them to use my services where they will be of the most use. In short you should use people like me when you have identified a genuine gap in your organisation. My second reason is perhaps more selfish, I spend a significant amount of time speaking to C-Suite professionals. Professionals in the green economy are very values driven, they want to join organisations that invest in their people. Based on discussions with them, here are the three people focused aspects that they want to see in an organisation.
Internal mobility is generally seen as proof of the vitality of an organisation. It shows an organisation has an agile workforce and that development is taking place through vertical and lateral moves for employees. Given the levels of innovation in the green economy, it is a key metric that the organisation has an innovative culture.
Upskilling isn’t a new concept – in 2019 Forbes referred to it as the most important word you would hear that year. The key takeaway is that it isn’t a fad. Organisations being able to articulate how they upskill, reskill, and develop their employees is crucial in attracting top executive talent.
From a capability perspective, the pandemic really hurt soft skills and interpersonal relationships. Whilst many teams thrived on Teams and Zoom, individual employees experienced a difficult time and many soft skills that were taken for granted were lost or diminished. There is no coincidence that the Great Resignation coincided with the biggest dip in workplace soft skills. An organisation that can demonstrate a strategy for fostering soft skills as part of their culture will be very attractive to top level talent.
At the beginning of the discussion, I mentioned that your next best hire already works for you. I think this is a great mission statement for any part of your organisation involved in workforce planning. I believe this because aside from the cultural benefits internal to your organisation, it will also enable excellent external hiring. The ability to tell the best talent in the sector that not only will they be supported but that their team will be too, is vital in securing them for your organisation.