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Inflection Point: Companies Must Innovate Talent Management Strategies to Ignite Employee Engagement

Companies race to innovate for market competitiveness, but it is evident they are not putting the same emphasis on transforming traditional talent management practices that will strategically impact overall productivity. The World Economic Forum’s State of the Global Workplace report, employee engagement continues to hover at 23%. Further, a staggering 59% of the global workforce is still “quiet quitting” - doing the bare minimum to not get fired, while 18% are actively disengaged. Gallup research estimates this disengagement is costing the global economy $8.8 trillion in lost productivity.

Here are five ways to revolutionize talent management strategies and reignite employee engagement, thus boosting overall efficiency and productivity across the company.


Develop individualized solutions to improve employees’ work-life balance


Hear me out before you scream, “Yeah, good luck!” Employees view their lives holistically, expecting proactive measures from employers to promote balance, which contributes to their overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being. While companies may offer resources for mental and emotional health through vendors like Lyra or Better Up, providing generic solutions alone is no longer sufficient. Companies must recognize one size does not fit all and must adopt a more personalized approach, no matter how big the company, to support their employees.


This was highlighted when a podcast created an uproar in discussing a fake manager complaining that their employee couldn’t attend an 8:00 am meeting because it interfered with the employee’s workout class. What if that employee had a neurodivergence such as ADHD and exercise helped him focus? Would it be different if the employee needed a blood transfusion every morning to stay alive? Disability laws protect employees and provide for accommodations, but not every need rises to that level of formality.


Solution: Empower managers with resources and tools to understand diverse employee needs and overhaul policies, such as remote work guidelines, to prioritize employee goal achievement and maxiumum productivity as the primary measures of success, rather than emphasizing face time or physical presence. This involves:

  • Training managers in how to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with their employees while also fostering empathy and support.

  • Educating managers about neurodivergence – which includes 15-20% of the world population, enabling managers to leverage individual strengths rather than making assumptions about needs for optimal performance.

  • Reassessing work guidelines to ensure they enable each employee to contribute maximum value to the company while safeguarding their emotional, mental, and physical well-being.


Integrate Career Development into Organizational Talent Planning


While companies have historically emphasized that employees bear full responsibility for their own career development and advancement, this approach is increasingly inadequate, especially for newer generations of workers who expect their employers to provide individualized career development. Employers must move beyond generic career pathing documents and siloed talent and succession planning which don’t look at transferrable skills across an organization, and don’t consider employees’ aspirations.


In my role as a career and executive coach, I've had countless conversations with leaders who have been tapped on the shoulder for promotions their whole careers, which always came with a higher title and salary, masking that these opportunities only fully served the company’s interests. While fully capable of performing in their jobs, these high-powered professionals, some even occupying C-Suite positions, are now contemplating leaving their companies, and taking critical company historical knowledge with them, because they seek something they don’t feel their current company cares about – their career fulfillment.


Solution: Develop internal career coaching programs to help employees identify their own aspirations and integrate career coaching metrics with organizational talent planning and succession planning. Caring about employees’ growth isn’t just good for business, it will foster long-term employee fulfillment and retention. 


Shift From Reactive Employee Relations to Proactive Team Coaching


While many companies rely on reactive measures, such as employee relations and employment legal teams, to address complaints about illegal behavior or policy violations, proactive coaching is often overlooked as a valuable investment to increase engagement and productivity because it is hard to prove ROI on risk management.

Proactive team coaching helps employees resolve conflict, miscommunications, and misunderstandings before they escalate and erode trust, diminish morale, and reduce collaboration, ultimately impacting the overall working environment and productivity. In my role as a team coach, I’ve observed intelligent and diligent leaders and employees becoming triggered, frustrated, and enraged, attributing negative motives to their coworkers' or managers' behavior. Without a safe space for employees to openly communicate how behaviors make them feel, these perceptions of mistreatment linger, leading to further communication breakdowns, and potential risks such as claims of harassment or a toxic work environment, putting the company at risk.


Solution: Invest in internal or external team coaches which help with interpersonal dynamics, including addressing underlying issues before they escalate, to cultivate a positive working environment conducive to productivity and trust.


Stop expecting employees to effortlessly adapt to change


Navigating change, whether significant or minor, is inherently challenging. While leaders may grapple with managing the communication of layoffs, new organizational structures, or shifts in priorities behind closed doors, they often overlook that effective change management entails more than just announcements.


Far too frequently, leaders who have been privy to impending changes for months mistakenly believe that the process concludes with employee notifications or companywide announcements. However, that moment marks the beginning of change for employees, and leaders must actively engage, establishing safe forums for discussion about concerns. That means answering questions with the same empathy the one-hundredth time as they were answered the first time.


Solution: Invest in internal or external change management experts to coach leaders in assessing change, devising employee engagement strategies, identifying supporters and resistors, crafting consistent messaging, and developing comprehensive change plans to seamlessly implement both small and large-scale changes to prevent amplified disruption to the company.


Realign DEI Trainings to Creating Connections


While DEI policies and best practices are essential to promote diversity, rectify inequalities, and foster inclusion in the workplace, traditional DEI training methods, such as guest speakers, workshops, or educational sessions, often fall short in addressing historical biases. Further, studies show knowledge is quickly forgotten because these methods lack actionable follow-up steps.


As a result, companies should move beyond superficial DEI training that “checks a box” and prioritize fostering genuine connections among employees. With hate, bias, prejudice, and racism on the rise, it is imperative to cultivate connections that can mitigate negative preconceived beliefs and biases from permeating the workplace and impacting productivity.  

Solution: Companies need to invest in team coaches to facilitate consistent employee connection and community both functional and cross-functionally beyond sporadic offsites and team building events. This will increase collaboration, employee engagement, performance, and overall employee well-being.

The era where employers considered work distinct from employees' personal lives is long gone. Companies must break free from outdated practices and marry talent management strategies to employee’s personal needs and growth. Companies which embrace innovative talent management strategies that prioritize their workforce's well-being and fulfillment alongside business needs will not only attract and retain top talent but also earn loyalty and superior productivity.

To innovate on your talent management strategies and implement any of these talent management strategies, reach out through the contact button above.

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