Take a minute and look around. You’re witnessing a historic moment. Right now, as you read this on your monitor or your phone, it’s happening. The change is almost imperceptible and—simultaneously—impossible to ignore.
What’s going on? The business world is shifting from the “Information Age” to the “Age of Talent.” And, we’re all part of it.
The values of the Information Age—knowledge-gathering, efficiency, and technology—are still essential to business. But people—employees and other talent partners—have become the priority. Of course, organizations have always “valued” people, but this time it’s different. Talent is now the biggest competitive advantage, the not-so-secret weapon, and the scarcest resource.
How’d this happen?
The events of the last couple of years have led to mindboggling evolutions in business. Sure, there were technology breakthroughs and innovative new products; but the biggest changes were around how, where, when, and why we work. Necessity forced organizations to focus on their talent resources in unprecedented ways, and experiment with giving talent:
- Workplace autonomy and flexibility.
- Increased interaction with senior leaders.
- Exposure to new challenges and ideas.
- A larger voice in their organizations.
As a result, businesses learned they didn’t have to choose between people, productivity, and profitability. Instead satisfied, fulfilled talent resources are the key to productivity and profitability.
So, what’s next? People-first workplaces.
Organizations weren’t the only ones learning new things. Individuals were considering their jobs and careers in a new context. The floodgates of possibility opened. After all the flexibility, autonomy, and choice, there was no going back. Employees, consultants, and contractors have new expectations and increasing power to get those expectations met.
To attract or keep talent in this new environment, smart organizations will need to create a people-first strategy. The critical components of a people-first workplace are:
- Purpose: A compelling reason why the organization (and each person’s work) makes a difference in the world.
- Vision: The future the organization wants to build and each person’s role in getting there.
- Empowerment: The flexibility to make decisions and choices about their work within clear guidelines.
- Engagement: Satisfying work that keeps people learning and growing.
- Community: Supportive, diverse colleagues that work together and learn from each other.
A people-centered approach doesn’t just satisfy employees, it is a boon for organizations, too. Organizations that empower talent have improved creativity, increased employee motivation, more trust in leadership, and are up to 21 percent more profitable.1 Organizations that don’t evolve will be left behind.
It’s time to be bold.
It’s the dawning of a new era. Although some pundits are wringing their hands and muttering about the “turnover tsunami” and the “great resignation”; this is an extraordinary opportunity. If you look closely, change and optimism are in the air. There’s never been a better time to do something extraordinary in your organization or in your own career.
Even if it feels like you’re still catching up from pandemic pandemonium, now is the time for action. Work on creating a people-first business by:
- Revisit your purpose and vision. Update them or create bold new ones that today’s talent will want to follow.
- Spend time with your workforce. Get their opinion on what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible.
- Look for ways to accelerate empowerment, engagement, and community.
- Then, give your people the freedom and flexibility to do great work.
Take charge of your career. Your talent is more valuable than ever before. If you haven’t already:
- Define what you want from your career and how work affects your life.
- Explore career options that meet your work (and life) goals.
- If you’re working at an organization, discuss your career goals and preferences with your manager.
- Look for a work environment that provides purpose, vision, empowerment, engagement, and community.
People-first work isn’t a trend or an anomaly. The Age of Talent is here to stay. And, the best part is: it’s good for all of us. It leads to better business outcomes, better work-life balance, and more fulfilling careers. So, what are you waiting for? You only get so many chances to be a history-maker.
Salo is a nationwide talent firm that’s focused on building a world that works better together. When we match an expert talent in finance, accounting, and HR with an organization—we propel both forward. We call these interactions “Meaningful Experiences.” With every interaction or engagement, it’s our goal to Make it Meaningful™.
1. Employee Empowerment: Definition, Benefits, and Factors, Achievers