In 2020 we will continue to face talent shortages and skills gaps, with the job market remaining as competitive as ever. The BLS reported that today’s unemployment rate is 3.5%, and that rate has decreased every year since the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The voluntary quit rate is 2.3%, the highest in 15 years. We need to give people a reason to work for us and a reason to stay.

The who, what, when, where, why and how of creating a phenomenal workforce is all about people. That means we need to work on both candidate and employee experiences — on ways to source, hire, engage and retain. Here’s how:

Everything recruiters do needs to be accelerated and intensified. We’re going to be leaning on super-recruiters who embrace the power of data, and use it to forge strategic decisions based on the reach of automation and the depth of analysis. According to the Harvard Business Review, an analysis of 17 studies of applicant evaluations shows that a simple equation outperforms human decisions by at least 25%. With this approach to recruiting we may be able to actually conquer bias, at least more than we have already.

The shortage of workers is going to make employers look out of the box to create deeper talent pools based on different criteria: the potential for growth will be more important than the potential for filling a static role. To mine deeper talent pools means we’ll need a digital rolodex with a farther reach. 

We’ll be breaking open the model of the workplace: instead of having everyone in one place, they’ll be all over the place. To get the best talent, employers will offer positions that are remote and flexible. In a competitive job market, this new model will be especially necessary to attract Gen Z, who will comprise 36% of the global workforce by 2020. Being digital natives who grew up in an internet-centric society, the members of this generation expect remote and flexible working arrangements.  

To keep a great hire engaged, it’s simple: provide a standout experience. Come 2020, make sure your culture holds up to scrutiny, clarifies expectations and embraces employee goals. Make sure employees understand not only the expectations regarding tasks, but also the behaviours expected, and make sure your managers are on board with fostering employee and team growth. Highly engaged employees are 21% more productive. 73% of disengaged employees are actively looking for jobs, compared with 37% of engaged employees. When it comes to workplace culture, there’s no in-between; it’s either a lose/lose or a win/win.

Glassdoor’s Diversity & Inclusion Study 2019 found that 49% of employed adults in the U.S, U.K, France, and Germany have witnessed or experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace. For employers to commit to inclusivity and diversity it should begin at the top: by educating leaders and managers, and should include a commitment to diverse hiring practices, listening to employees, and making a workspace physically accessible and ADA compliant. 

The onboarding experience is a key differentiator in how employees perceive a company, engage with the job, and stay involved with your business objectives. First lessons and impressions made are critical in determining how your hire feels about your organization. Offer onboarding that’s flexible, fixable, accessible, self-guiding, and secure. 

Then, let’s work on tending our talent rather than managing it. Psychologists explain tending as intentional relationship-building that increases a sense of community and wellbeing. Harvard Business Review notes that tending goes a long way in mitigating the “workers as machines” phenomenon common in certain industries. Further, it makes employees “sticky” to an organization. 

We’ll also see forward-thinking organizations raising the bar on employee wellness offerings. Daycare, education, eldercare, mobility — wellness means enabling our workforce to function better in their daily lives. Companies would also be wise to ask their employees what they want and need, and try to use a benefits and wellness platform that offers flexibility and responds to the needs of four or five generations working side by side.

What else? How’s your workspace? Today’s digital workspace can be a hyper-siloed experience: the average employee spends nearly 65% of any given workday on busywork and in meetings, 20% searching for information and 15% doing what they want and are paid to do. 2020 should see a shift to a more cohesive workspace and seamless experience. A great physical workspace is equally important, and employers will continue to rethink the cubicle with open spaces, a pet-friendly environment, and loads of in-office perks — including spaces that resemble coworking spaces. 

Finally, focus on growth. 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report. From internship to management here must be a sense of upward movement — if they don’t see a route forward they’re find one outside your doors. Consider ongoing, self-service, on-demand learning opportunities. That sense of the future should never stop.

2020 earmarks a new decade and undoubtedly it’s going to surprise us. But let’s aim for good surprises — and that includes making our own employees happy. 

Source: Forbes