Acquiring, engaging, and retaining qualified talent continue to be top priorities for today’s employers. At the same time, the current workforce is highly discerning when it comes to choosing where they work.
Employees are looking for companies with outstanding reputations as stellar employers. They’re looking for employers of choice.
Becoming an employer of choice requires a strong employer value proposition (EVP) outlining the value and benefits your organization delivers to its employees, such as:
- Meaningful work
- Career progress
- Career development
- Work-life balance
- Employee-centric leadership
Strong leaders within an organization play a critical role in activating an organization’s EVP. It’s their ability to bring the EVP to life that enables the organization to become an employer of choice—making it desirable to potential employees while encouraging current employees to stay.
However, research shows that although most leaders have the right operational skills, many lack workforce management capabilities. This diminishes EVP and hampers talent acquisition.
This article highlights how the development of leaders improves EVP, boosts talent acquisition, engagement, and retention; and, most importantly, turns your organization into an employer of choice.
See Leadership Through New Eyes
As the next generation workforce emerges, there are telling trends that outline a shift in employees’ expectation of leadership.
A recent Gallup survey finds that 70% of the variance in a team's engagement is influenced by the manager. Furthermore, the traditional role of an employer as a command-and-control function doesn’t work for today's workforce.
Today’s workforce expects those in leadership roles to be more of a coach than a boss.
Improve Leadership with a Mindset Shift
Many CEOs feel their organization’s leadership lacks the skills and capabilities needed to move the organization forward. A leadership skill gap can contribute to employees’ lack of trust, development, progression, and to attrition.
This can have huge repercussions not only to a company’s financial and operational success, but also to its bid for employer of choice status.
A 2022 Gartner, Inc. survey shows many HR leaders believe effective organizational leaders focus on the human aspects of building relationships, developing and inspiring staff, leading change, and listening to and engaging with colleagues.
Leaders who can bring EVP to life excel in three key areas.
Human leadership focuses on developing leaders who can be authentic, empathetic, and adaptive. Today’s workforce wants leaders who are approachable, genuine, and trustworthy, who will hear them and let them share their opinions and feelings. Employees also want leaders who are transparent and capable of change.
Employee-centric leadership prioritizes employees and their needs. This typically includes employee engagement, autonomy, and creativity as well as a secure sense of identity at work.
The next generation of talent wants leaders who:
- Allow them to bring fresh ideas to their work
- Are open to new ways of working
- Help create meaning and purpose in their roles
- Tell them they’re adding value and contributing meaningfully
Talent planning allows leaders to be more in tune with employees’ internal skills, capabilities, and aspirations. Leaders who have this strength are efficient at evaluating staffing needs and understanding how to leverage career development within the existing workforce to meet those needs. Talent planning can also clarify the decision to seek talent outside the organization.
Developing Leaders with the Right Skills
Most leaders have the operational skills, knowledge, and experience to be subject matter experts; however, strong leadership also requires foundational competencies, behavioral attributes, and development skills.
When developing your organization’s optimal leadership persona, it’s important to evaluate and define required skills and behaviors needed to achieve the desired outcomes. These attributes should align with the organization’s EVP.
It’s important to consider operational skills as well as behaviors. Whether leaders need greater operational skills or behaviors is determined by the specific role, job description, job expectations, and outcomes. In some instances, industry and location may also be contributing factors.
Future skills include:
- People development
- Strategic thinking
Future behaviors include:
- Being trustworthy
- Being authentic
- Being empathetic
Employee outcomes can be:
- Improved performance
Build an Effective Leadership Development Plan
Developing leaders that embody your organization’s EVP and help the organization to become an employer of choice requires an intentional strategy and approach.
The following steps can help you frame your leadership development plan.
Evaluate Leaders’ Skills and Behaviors
This evaluation should look at specific positions, skills, capabilities, background, behaviors, and performance outcomes.
Define Skills and Behaviors that Support Progress
Consider the organization’s strategy, industry insights, and employee feedback to establish and define future-focused skills.
Create Progressive Career and Learning Plans
These should be meaningful, effective, and actionable. Career plans should be aligned to individual performance goals and KPI’s while creating behaviors that reflect EVP.
Launch Development Events
Include real-time scenarios and role-playing activities that encourage immediate feedback and actionable adjustments.
Monitor Progress Through Peer Observation
Use individual and team performance surveys and peer-to-peer reviews to gauge individual development and uncover new opportunities for growth.
We’re Here to Help
For more information on how to build a future-focused workforce, contact your Moss Adams professional.