People

Slack survey explores how to win the war for talent

With light at the end of the tunnel on an office return, organisations now asking how they can best attract and retain talent in the knowledge economy. A new report offers a framework

There are three key elements that will shape the post-pandemic workplace – flexibility, connectivity and inclusivity. Incorporating all three into workplace strategy for knowledge workers will result in increased retention and a clear point of differentiation in the ‘war for talent’.

That’s the verdict of a new report from The Future Forum, a consortium that helps companies adapt to the new economy set up by tech collaboration specialist Slack Technologies.

The report called, ‘Winning the “war for talent” in the post-pandemic world’ presents the findings of a poll survey of 10,000 knowledge workers across USA, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. The survey results reinforce the key message that the war for talent will be won by providing a framework to support employee calls for a more flexible, connected and inclusive workplace.

Flexibility

The report argues that it is the responsibility of leaders to provide the appropriate guardrails to ensure flexibility in the workplace. The survey found that 63 per cent of companies are planning some form of hybrid model, but only 33 per cent of those surveyed feel prepared to navigate this new way of working.

While the report argues that it is paramount for organisations to adopt a workplace strategy that supports flexibility, it also warns against a danger of creating ‘faux flexibility’ or a remote ‘second class’ – that those coming back  into the office might revert back to the norms of dominating both meetings and career mobility whilst remote workers fall behind.

Connection

As organisations piece together their workplace strategies, it has become clear that a key part of a leader’s role in the new era of work is to ‘connect’ people. The report states that forging connections is no longer the sole role of an internal events team or HR department; it’s a core part of every leader’s job in an organisation.

The report argues that the nucleus of organisations has shifted from the physical HQ to a digital headquarters, and companies that make wise investments in technology are seeing high returns in employee productivity and culture.

This is supported by the survey results that indicate that employees at companies with an ‘innovator’ and ‘early adopter’ approach to adopting new technology ranked the highest across every metric, including ‘my work-life balance’ and ‘my productivity at work’.

Inclusion

The Future Forum report states that, while flexibility is what employees want and connection is what makes it happen, inclusion (or a sense of belonging) is why it matters. Employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds (Asian, Black, Hispanic) hold a higher sense of belonging when working remotely, compared with working in the office, relative to their white counterparts.

‘The hybrid model is essential for organisations that are dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion…’

The survey also reports that Black, Asian and Hispanic employees have lower levels of trust in their manager and their peers, and nearly half of these groups ‘feel pressure’ to let their employer know they are ‘at work’. Working mothers score lower than men on a range of metrics including managing stress and having a sense of belonging.

Whilst a hybrid model can offer a more equitable experience for employees, it can also make traditional management more challenging with tasks such as trust building, career development for team members, and active programmes for sponsorship.

Read more about Slack’s ‘Winning the “war for talent” in the post-pandemic world’ report here and download the full report here.

Matthew Myerson is Development Director of WORKTECH Academy. He formerly worked for Blackstone Property Management where he led the marketing team at Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work.
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