Businesses across the globe are still responding to the challenge of the “Great Resignation.” The volume of employees walking away from their jobs is unprecedented, and a major focus has been placed on cultural efforts to best attract and retain talent. In September, a phenomenal study entitled ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours was released by McKinsey & Company. This study focused on data around forecasted departures and another component of this study highlightedserious areas of misalignment pertaining to what employees value versus what employers believe that employees value. As business leaders it is our primary objective to meet the needs of our workforce and remove any barriers that inhibit their probability of optimal success.

"The incongruity of what employees want in their work environment and what employers think they want, is a catalyzing disparity that may lead to troubling outcomes"

My observations have led me to 5 specific keys that can be connected to drive an innovative and sustainable approach. These keys unlock the full potential of the employee experience and provide a stable foundation to launch your talent attraction strategy. See the below keys for more information:

1.Psychological Safety – Understanding and Measuring

2. Surveying Strategy– Collect and Assess

3. Authentic Storytelling – Craft and Communicate

4. Building the Bridge – Reflect and Connect

5. Brand Ambassador – Engage and Promote

Psychological Safety:

My introduction to psychological safety began with an in-depth review of "The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety" by Dr. Timothy Clark. This book has the basis that there are four critical areas of psychological safety to include; inclusion safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and challenger safety. For this article specifically I would like to focus on Dr. Clark’s definition for psychological safety. Dr. Clark defines psychological safety in four words;an environment of rewarded vulnerability. This was the first dot I was challenged to connect as it became increasingly clearfor employees to provide transparent feedback, they most certainly would need to feel safe to do so. Providing feedback of this nature is a significant act of vulnerability that must be handled with the utmost care.

Surveying Strategy:

As we navigate the digitization of global marketplace, we find innovative ways to gather insights and analyze data to understand the depths of organizational strengths and weaknesses. There are a variety of surveying tools that I would recommend for this key to include; census surveys, pulse surveys, instantaneous feedback surveys, and live surveying in alignment with targeted focus groups. Having a defined surveying strategy after ensuring that psychological safety is being monitored will open the feedback channels in a major way.

Authentic Storytelling:

Storytelling has become a more in-demand skill as it serves as a major connecting force from message to mind. After proper evaluation of data and insights you are left with measurable truths. Those measurable truths are the backbone of your cultural story, and the positive elements should be highlighted. Review the surveying trends that promote positive effects to determine what must be protected. When surveying we also run into negative or constructive trends that need to be addressed. If we do not address these trends, a signal is sent to the workforce that they are not being heard. The incongruity of what employees want in their work environment and what employers think they want, is a catalyzing disparity that may lead to troubling outcomes. Crafting and communicating an authentic story is essential to foster a connected culture.

Building the Bridge:

Once you have crafted your authentic story based on data insights, you must find a platform to share your findings for purposes of calibration. The platform can be atown hall, team huddle, digital newsletter, or some other mechanism used to communicate pertinent information. Calibration is a critical element and having a feedback loop embedded in any platform used is essential. This key connects back to the need for psychological safety to build the bridge with transparency. It is also wise to have a targeted communication strategy as you navigate complextopics and make provisions to incorporate an agile response plan should the need arise. Always follow up to close the loop on feedback received as the focus in this key is building enduring trust consistently over time.

Brand Ambassador:

Once you have effectively navigated the first four keys, you are in prime position to create a brand ambassador program. This program could be considered as a reimagining of the employee referral process that is directly connected to the employer brand and positive attributes of the work environment. Creating promoters internally provides a new avenue to recruit talent in a grass roots way via word of mouth, yet still allow social media channels to serve as an attraction accelerator. By communicating and leveraging connected platforms, you have positioned yourself to drastically improve the quality of your candidate pool. Brand loyalty is strengthened by a continued commitment to replicate the above listed keys anddrive a “people first culture.” The last and most critical piece of the brand ambassador strategy is closely aligning the employee experience to the customer experience to maximize brand impact and realize an overall increase to customer satisfaction.