Engaging and attracting the post-pandemic workforce : By Sabine Ehm, Thought Leadership and Research Manager, Locatee
As the workplace landscape continues to shift, the corporate real estate (CRE) industry must become cognizant of the new individuals who are now entering an uncertain and unprecedented workforce. Roughly 4 million students were expected to graduate from college in the 2020-2021 school year – a figure that does not reflect the number of individuals seeking new employment for varying reasons. The issue of how to attract workers to the office is now compounded by the question of how to attract them there in the first place as well as retain them in new environments.
An Influx on the Horizon
The professionally diverse nature of today’s workforce and the constantly shifting landscape make this a complex issue. In addition to new graduates, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reported that 6.2 million workers were unable to work after their employers were forced to close down their businesses. Further, a recent Microsoft survey found that 46 percent of today’s workers are considering a career change and that 20 percent already have since the start of the pandemic.
These factors demand that corporate leaders identify ways to attract and retain employees – particularly those who have recently experienced displacement. Though the pandemic poses uncertainty in this regard, this does not mean that the issue is out of employers’ hands. In fact, listening to and interacting with today’s workforce is key to discerning what today’s potential employee expects out of a work environment and how they can be made to feel secure in their careers.
The CRE Industry Steps Up
There are signs that the significance of this issue is not lost on today’s leaders. “Engage and Attract: The Office, Reimagined,” a recent webinar by workplace analytics solution Locatee, provides evidence of this. It featured CRE leaders across a broad professional spectrum exploring elements of full-office working, strategies to promote a safe return to the workplace and initiatives companies can pursue in order to attract new team members. The discussion yielded several key points:
“Covid has taught us lots of lessons about human beings and how important it is to meet our human needs,” explained Gloria Mamwa, Regional Head of Property, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank. “Thinking holistically, we must be able to meet our colleagues and people in the workspace in a very positive way and cater to their experiences based on their own lifecycles.”
“Through the lifecycle of an employee, up from pre-recruitment all the way through to resignation or termination and 7 years past retirement, how are these employees being interacted with, how are they being cared for, delighted, recognized, developed and listened to, throughout the duration of the interaction with your brand and company?” added Brittney van Matre, Workplace Strategy Consultant and Founder of Create the Future of Work.
“We should also be focusing on unique experiences that talk to the brand,” added Tim Ahrensbach, Head of Workplace Experience at Lego Group. “A lot of our colleagues have missed that connection to the company – its values and its purpose. Making sure that you’re not just creating cookie-cutter experiences that you’re rolling out, but creating experiences that connect to the brand is really important.”
Understanding The Relevant Data
One area of consensus is that modern CRE companies must begin gathering and prioritizing information as it pertains to the employee journey. Factors such as where these workers were employed previously, what they hope to achieve in their careers, which unique experiences will allow them to benefit their companies most and what their needs are as individuals are only a few methods of individualizing the employee experience. Another key metric is occupancy and workplace utilization data, which allow us to keep a finger on the pulse of the CRE landscape and make informed decisions based on recent trends. These are datasets that many companies do not have, cannot find, or are unsure that they need.
There is still time for CRE leaders to gather this information and act upon it in time to meet growing needs. However, the first step is understanding its importance and uses, followed by identifying actionable next steps. Locatee’s recent webinar is just one example of where to find critical guidance in these areas, and this level of data gathering and discourse will continue to be a service to the greater CRE community through 2022 and beyond.
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