Attract And Retain: How Companies Can Change Strategy

Revenue and delivery-led organizations want employees to perform at pre-pandemic levels. On the other hand, maintaining consistent employee morale in the work at home model remains a challenge.


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HR leaders are in a unique situation today. On the one hand, organizations are growing at a rapid pace. Revenue and delivery led organizations to want employees to perform at pre-pandemic levels. On the other hand, maintaining consistent employee morale in the work at home model remains a challenge. These directly translate to monitoring and transforming two key areas – talent engagement and talent acquisition. Both have their own set of unique challenges and need solutions that are easy to implement, and outcome-driven.

Today’s Challenges

The pandemic has run havoc across talent engagement and acquisition. So far, we have seen two waves of the pandemic. Wave-1 was when we were all thrown into the unknown. Organizations responded by invoking Business Continuity plans (BCP) and implementing the work at home model. Just as we were out of it, Wave-2 took everyone by a bigger surprise. Its impact has been at an unimaginable scale imagined of and in these crises hit times, it is HR who has taken centre stage and helping organizations deal with a peculiar situation where it is not only the employees but also their immediate families who are in its circle of influence and need attention.

In addition, the paragraphs below capture the key areas where HR is stretched and challenged.

Talent Engagement:

. Digital fatigue: The physical hi-touch events of the past have now acquired a digital flavor. While HR might have its arsenal filled with planned programs, digital fatigue is creeping in, and poor participation is hindering realization of intended results.

. Additional roles: HR is now at the center of managing an organization’s response to the pandemic. They are working round the clock to ensure employees are vaccinated, supported well from an organizational perspective. From drafting policies on the go, to speaking with all employees, tracking the ones who are unwell and ensuring they receive proper medical attention they are donning multiple hats and stretching themselves too thin.

. Motivation: The second wave of the pandemic has hugely affected employee morale. Almost each employee is seeing his or her immediate circle being affected by the pandemic. The challenge for HR is to ensure they are supported well and are at their highest morale to perform optimally. There is a need to look beyond existing employee needs and wants to include unchartered areas like mental being.

Talent Acquisition:

. Newer ways of recruiting: Business continues to grow, and there is a need to hire to fill in these requirements. Almost every organization had to migrate to digital channels and hire remotely. This has thrown up challenges for HR themselves, to adapt quickly to newer ways of recruiting and simultaneously ensuring hiring targets.

. Ensuring the right fit: Since the past year, recruitment is predominantly done through digital modes. Organizations have been struggling to evaluate candidates across technical, functional competencies, culture and value alignment, and behavioral fit. Existing frameworks of evaluation had to be relooked at and newer models were brought in pace. While many of them have got it right there are still many who are struggling. The impact of hiring decisions will be seen in near future.

. Right mix of employees: The pandemic has seen many organizations move to a flexible workforce model with the aim to lower employee costs. As the job market settles down, HR leaders need to arrive at the right mix. This is challenging to many as they have become accustomed to these flexible staffing models.

Way forward

With the pandemic slowly subsiding, there is no clarity on when remote working will end. Many organizations are planning to move to a hybrid model to functioning. However, requirements from an organizational perspective will continue to remain the same.

HR Leaders can tackle this unique situation by using a core and dynamic framework. This framework will keep the function agile and help address any unknown people issues arising. The core would consist of foundational frameworks like employee value proposition and its constituents, technology, and processes. The dynamic part would consist of a nebulous set of policies that will change as per the need to include flexible strategies and engagement plans.

The below captures the key areas HR should look at from a fresh perspective to make a difference, to lead in a digital age.

. Reinforcing employee value proposition: It is extremely important for HR practitioners to do a onetime exercise and document the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An effective EVP will address the ‘Why’ and ‘What’ across the dimensions of culture, career, compensation, and engagement. HR and company leadership needs to reinforce the EVP constantly with the employees and update it on a regular basis. This will ensure the leadership and employees are on the same page.

. Adopting the right technologies: As organizations get diverse and global, HR leaders will need to adopt the right digital tool and technologies which will harness the power of AI to be able to read patterns and suggest changes. With the adoption of the new normal way of working, it is imperative to collect employee feedback on a real-time basis using such technologies and ensure timely interventions.

. Robust processes: The key to the successful functioning of any organization is how well they have mapped processes to remove inefficiencies. A well-structured HR function should map the employee life cycle and structure processes around it. This will help detect issues early in the lifecycle and identify solutions, ensure agility, ultimately showing outcomes on both engagement and talent acquisition.

. Culture: Often overlooked and taken for granted, HR leaders need to keep revisiting the very culture that exists in their organizations. Leadership should walk the talk when it comes to living the culture. Used and implemented well, culture when showcased rightly is a great tool to retain and attract talent.

. Digital age benefits: As employees adopt digital ways of working, their needs are also constantly changing. There is an immediate need to restructure the benefits package and make it relevant. These could be structured gender-wise, pertain to financial benefits, or compensation. HR should push the envelope and structure compensation to go beyond the normal and include innovative concepts like wealth management benefits.

. Branding: Identify those channels where the employees (current and potential) typically prefer to spend their time. A presence in these channels with the right messaging will send the right signals, aiding brand recall and visibility, which will assist in talent acquisition.


The coming years will see a rearchitecting of existing ways of work, be it in engagement or acquisition. Organizations will stand to benefit by adopting a core and dynamic model in their HR function. The HR teams themselves would need to upskill on these. What would make this quite effective is a robust communication strategy, be it from leadership or HR leaders. By constantly engaging with the workforce, HR leaders have a unique opportunity to be change agents and create a culture relevant to today’s times that will make their organization truly agile and a great place to work.

(The given article is attributed to Rajesh Balasubramanian, Head of People and Culture, India- Accolite Digital and solely created for BW People Publication)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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