Recently, market research conducted by PWC has produced a surprising result: when ranking the current priorities of managers, “retaining our workforce” has risen from 12th to 1st place as a result of COVID-19. As of early as March, shrewd analysts predicted that in addition to 400 million jobs being lost worldwide in the first three months of the crisis, the biggest HR challenge would be retaining truly valuable people in 2021. Now, we have unambiguous data for all of this!
We told you it was insidious!
We already published our analysis of the worldwide Sneaking Turnover phenomenon. The concept is simple to interpret: the drastic change in the labour market is clearly creating a labour surplus, which is in stark contrast to the labour shortages typical of key economic sectors in recent years. The biggest headache, the average HR professional thought, was managing the incoming workforce. And then transitioning to an office-wide home office also took significant energy away from company management. Who would have thought that this whole situation would create a new phenomenon? But with the ascent of the home office, control over the workforce was lost, and people had significant amounts of newfound free time while producing the same amount of work as before. But why are they using this time to look for a job? Everyone has an opinion about how your company, mainly the company’s management, handled the crisis. They may not voice these opinions, but they have made their conclusions. And for the best employees, this can even encourage them to seek employment elsewhere. Moreover, for them, the crisis has even come in handy, as they can finally show the significant difference between the truly good and the average. There is nothing wrong with average; average can fit in and cause fewer HR challenges, but unfortunately, average will not be able to help the company emerge from the crisis. Average cannot achieve such extraordinary feats! And the best employees have seen that in many cases, management is powerless, failing to take the actions they should have taken immediately. Management wants to be fair, so they are afraid to differentiate between what is great, what is just good, and what is below average when it comes time to reduce salaries. They do all this because they think it’s fair! But the best employees don’t think so! That is why the phenomenon started at the best headhunting companies months ago: talented professionals in secure positions started actively searching, discretely of course. Why might an international executive search company not witness this? They need to think about why the best are not looking for new careers with them! So, while HR is working to incorporate the home office into a long-term system, in most cases, they have no idea what surprises await them!
Hold on, hold on… but how?
It’s nice that retention was able to jump forward eleven places in such a short time. But the question arises: why was it so unimportant until now? Why did leaders around the world rank retaining their best colleagues in 12th place? Despite the labour shortage, did they feel they could find other quality employees anyway? And would they really have found such good ones? But it’s a shame to dwell in the past, let’s look ahead! We must resolve such situations now. The first step, however, is to really get to know your colleagues. Their motivations, I mean their real motivations, not what you can read in a book. We really need to get to know them, and we really need to see who is working for us. To do this, of course, leaders must first sit themselves down in front of a relentless mirror. This is not an easy task. One thing is for sure: based on common sense, we can say that the coming period will be about getting to know people within organisations. In other words, we can expect great dynamism in the market for psychological tests. But we can also see that there will be a serious cleansing there as well. According to experts, this market generates considerable revenue, and some market participants were able to gain market share with “kindness”. During stable market conditions, it is best to say nice things about leaders, let them be happy, and let there be proof of their exceptional ability. Be careful with the criticism, because then HR won’t like it, and it will be less marketable. That’s because a significant portion of “old school” HR leaders are no longer suitable for their prominent positions. However, any analysis that revealed this truth could not count on a bright future. At least not until recently. After all, retaining people requires a profound personality analysis, as our personality is the basis of our decision-making. That is, our personality will dictate what we can expect from a particular company, manager, or employee. Through our personality, we can understand why we want to stay with a company and why we want to leave it. However, in this situation, the analysis must be raw and honest; otherwise, we cannot retain the most important part of our workforce.
Past and present
I’ve talked to a lot of HR professionals in recent years, and for a long time, there have been two completely different schools of thought about testing people in this circle. The old school does not want to gain in-depth knowledge; instead, it focuses on behaviour, and for them, the psychological systems that have been present on the market for decades are the solution. They often refer to the fact that they also have a psychological background and believe that their knowledge, which they learned almost thirty years ago, is still relevant. Although the organisations they manage have been bleeding from several wounds for years, this could always be explained by the fact that “there is employee turnover everywhere”. The other school represents modern thinking. They are continually looking for new solutions for how to get even more meaningful information about colleagues through one analysis at a time. They also studied psychology, have deeper knowledge than their older peers, but that’s precisely why they do not think their knowledge exceeds that of a team of ten or more people who work on a psychological system. They are the ones who believe in results, not in the past, and because they have very good self-criticism, they can meet modern expectations, which is validated by the tests they complete. Living in the past may indeed come with age, as time may indeed have passed by the traditional HR professionals above 50. But this does not mean that there are no 60-year-old professionals who can set an example for young people with their dynamism. There are such professionals! But they are few and far between. And this is now a serious competitive disadvantage for large multinationals. We can see that the smarter companies have already started purchasing assessments. They can also be seen replacing their existing systems with the latest and greatest.
PWC’s research highlights the new challenges faced by HR leaders. Who would have been worried about these challenges even a year ago? The study also indicates that 2021 will belong to psychological systems with real assessments. One thing can be said for sure: it is not the nicest or the most sympathetic system that will be the winner. In the end, honesty will win here too!