by Tonushree Mondal, Strategic HR Executive, Talent, Culture and Leadership Consultant
In recent years, a few geographical pockets in the world in particular are witnessing significant economic growth. In the US, it is in places like Dallas, Cambridge, Florida and the Carolinas. In Europe, countries like Ireland, Malta and Romania are considered the top three fastest growing economies based on reports by the World Economic Forum and Politico. It is Laos, Phillipines, Cambodia and China as far as Asia goes. Using Ireland as an example, taxes at 12.5%, the uncertainty associated with Brexit, the ease with language amongst other factors has served to make it a chosen destination for many technology, financial services and pharmaceutical companies that continue to establish or expand their footprint there.
What booming economies do, however, is create significant challenges in the attraction and retention of talent and organizations often find themselves with a revolving door of talent. Operating in these hypercompetitive job markets, therefore requires an even stronger focus on creating the right foundation through HR practices that serves as the glue for people to want to belong. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you reflect on results from your internal climate surveys or external Glassdoor comments.
Has your culture been clearly defined?
Culture and micro sub-cultures exist in any organization. The questions become- Is it the espoused or desired culture? Has it been clearly defined and embraced by the organization? Being explicit about Culture through Core Values and Behaviors is important, yet at the same time making sure that employees understand and embrace it is what makes it stick.
Does your culture feel authentic?
Are the water cooler conversations reflecting what is stated as your desired culture? If culture is what happens when no one is watching, then every meeting, conversation and action should truly reflect it. This is where the most dissonance occurs causing employees to leave because disconnects with the culture if unchallenged, create disillusionment and pain.
Do you have strong leaders steering the organization?
Leadership roles in hypercompetitive markets are critical roles. They need to be visionary and agile and build the right culture and capabilities in a fast-paced environment. Defining the right skills and making sure the person selected is indeed the right person, is important for an organization anywhere it operates, but more so in hypercompetitive markets to face the market and talent headwinds.
Are you building a strong Leadership Pipeline?
Career development opportunities should be made available for all employees, but better results are seen when there are strong talent review processes in place to identify critical roles and key talent and moving them around more strategically to grow them as business leaders. The cost of hiring and re-hiring from the outside is significant and organizations that put in place the right approach to identifying and developing talent from within, eventually build more sustainable businesses.
Employee Career Development
How transparent is your career framework?
Employees often leave for better career options. Organizations miss an opportunity when they do not transparently share what career options are even available. Transparency of career opportunities more often than not retains most of the population that might have been walking out of the door. Defining the career philosophy, illustrating lateral and vertical growth options and skill expectations is the minimum sufficient criteria to getting this part right..
Does the career framework offer the right level of ‘head-room’ and ‘elbow-room’ for growth?
Vertical ladder climbing might still seem like the norm across employee groups but creating more rungs and promoting too quickly results in a vicious cycle of ‘grade-creep’. Determining the optimal ‘head-room’ for vertical growth and the right ‘elbow-room’ for lateral moves should be accompanied by strong governance to control the pace of movement.
While these are good people practices in general, the sense of urgency becomes more in hypercompetitive markets. There are direct costs associated with hiring, training and re-hiring, as well as moving fast with the business and not getting held back by talent challenges. However, there is also an indirect cost of the employment brand conveying a more compelling story to the external talent market. This can make it either a more exciting or disappointing place to come to work. All these need to be factored into your talent strategy to make it truly support your business strategy.
About the author
Tonushree Mondal leads her own global consulting firm specializing in the areas of HR Strategy, Talent, Culture and Leadership. Tonushree is a global leader with broad business outlook and experience, she has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles having lived in Asia and the US and partnered with senior executives in large global corporations across FMCG, pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, manufacturing and professional services firms.
Tonushree has an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, India in Human Resources and a graduate degree in Economics from Jadavpur University. She has published articles in WorkSpan, HRPS and spoken at WorldatWork, HRPS and the HR Tech Conference.