As we navigate new waters, it is still all about the people

Almost every company is navigating new waters; one where nearly everyone has been rethinking not just how they work, but why they work and where they work. All the evidence is suggesting that we are in the midst of the one of the greatest periods of change in work patterns that we have witnessed.

One can debate whether this has been good or bad but, as we stand, employees hold a position of power and companies do need to be prepared to think differently on the people piece.

It is anything but straightforward. Many have argued that the pandemic would provide a dose of reality which would see a new generation of leaders emerge. This may well be the case but there is also a realisation that many have created their own “realities” and enjoyed the new work-life balance which has emerged with the result that it maybe has stunted development.

It is no coincidence that many leaders have complained that many of their middle management teams have just not been as accountable and forward-thinking as would have been desired during such a time of crisis. There seems to be a split between those who have risen to the moment and those who have stood back – but history will suggest that this has long been the case and is nothing new. The question to be posed should be – how do we engage teams once again and support the development of those who do want to excel?

Hospitality’s success has long come through the development of its talent through internal promotion and development. It is an industry which can proudly boast many CEOs who have risen from humble beginnings. It is a factor which the industry should be proud of. The cuts in development budgets have naturally seen less and less emerge from humble beginnings and surely this needs to be changed as hospitality is about human skill, care and empathy as much as the need for higher education. The challenge must be to open the doors to all talent.

This next period will see many questions their processes and start to embrace new ideas around workplace culture so that they can engage and retain employees in the year ahead. This is not a time for critique but for finding new solutions to meet modern demands. It is well known that employees are open to change and the battle for companies is to retain talent.

Back in the 1990s, most research would show that the factors which would retain talent would see a commitment to talent development and support as the primary factor in retaining talent. Companies do need to now start to place the human asset first once again and to invest in talent development – but it does need to be different to how it has been in the past. Budgets have been cut over the last twenty years and this does not need to be reversed to a level.

Research suggests that over 40% of employees are seeking new roles so the challenge to employers is to provide professional development opportunities which will change the balance of power, retain and attract the best talent.