Welcome to The 2020 Workplace: Attract, Develop and Keep Top Talent


By Nicole Girouard

There has never been a time where we have been so connected. Information is at our fingertips 24/7 and we can find out, learn about, talk about, critique, contribute to, and share everything in a matter of minutes with the use of the Web 2.0 and social media.

Across every industry, information has been democratized, and today’s employees now expect access to it in order to contribute fully and effectively. However, when we look at the majority of organizations, all of this valuable and relevant activity is happening outside of the organization, and the needs of employees are far surpassing the abilities of the organization to provide for them.

Future Already Present
In fact, we can see that many of the predictions made by the authors of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Meister, J.C., Willyerd, K., 2010) have already come to fruition, including:

  • Major shifts in the workforce demographic with the combined exit of Baby Boomers and the entrance of Millennials, with many organizations employing multiple generations at the same time;
  • Increasing recruitment efforts as the former practice of hiring talent based on geography has become more and more difficult to execute on, while the emphasis on global recruitment and remote workers has skyrocketed; and
  • Ongoing shifts in the traditional framework of hierarchy, job descriptions, and formal education requirements resulting from today’s ultra-connected, participative, and social learning environments.

So how can you ensure that your organization is keeping up with this rapidly changing landscape to attract and retain today’s top talent?

Attraction, Engagement and Presence Online
According to the Global Web Index, “97 per cent of online adults aged 16-64… say they have visited or used a social network within the last month…[therefore] almost every internet user can now be reached via this medium…”.

However, it is important to recognize that simply being present within these social media channels is not the same thing as actively participating, engaging, and contributing value within them.

Given that today’s worker has the ability to research your organization, your current employees, and all of their social interactions in a matter of minutes, the type of presence you have online is an important one if you want to attract great people.

Talent plays to your level of participation and quality of engagement online to gauge what it will be like to ultimately work for your organization. This naturally extends offline to include how you approach them to apply to positions, how present and mindful you are during the interview process, and how you handle the final outcome of the decision made.

It is also expected that you are actively participating in the conversations within your industry, contributing to the larger conversation, and providing thought leadership on relevant topics. Today’s innovative organizations recognize the importance of engagement, and have actionable strategies developed to address this need, as well as the necessary resources to execute them.

Retention, Leadership and Engagement
Once you have successfully welcomed someone into your organization, the ability to recognize them as an individual is what separates the innovative companies from most others.

Today’s worker is a highly-connected, socially-aware, and sophisticated individual with more options available to them than ever before. Just as your organization can now recruit globally, employees can now be employed globally, so creating a culture of excellence and leading with intention will be an integral part in retaining your team members.

This includes customized training plans, frequent and relevant feedback, continuous connectivity in a digital environment, and real access to the leadership team.

Today’s employees look to the leadership team as a success partner – someone who will help them grow and contribute more effectively to the overall organizational goals, and who will support and mentor them along the way.

Innovative organizations recognize the importance of cultivating leaders who are engaged, attuned to the individual needs of each team member, and perceive workplace opportunities through a growth mindset.

Of Participation and Expectations
What The 2020 Workplace truly highlights is the fact that we have become a participation society—and this fact is supported by the increase in usage of social media platforms that provide this opportunity.

Each popular social media channel today encourages individuals to contribute to an idea or conversation, and provides the ability for everyone’s voice to be heard.

Innovative organizations that provide the same level of engagement within the context of their business will not only provide employees with the ability to be heard, but will increase engagement and loyalty, as well as leverage the collective experiences and skills of their team members.

The ability to participate in the development and execution of company policy, as well as the opportunity to provide, and receive, real-time feedback, is now a fundamental expectation for today’s employee.

Focus on the Individual, Not the Job Title
As we move closer to 2020, it is important for organizations to remain open to emerging skill sets, experiences, and less traditional education pathways.

Leaders can emerge at all levels of a traditional hierarchy, and the importance of a rigid job description and prestigious title are becoming less of a draw for top talent. Instead, there is a premium placed on transparency, the opportunity to use new technology and develop additional skills, and an intrinsic motivation to create value.

Knowing this, the importance of hiring individuals based on culture fit and mindset first, and then actively providing ongoing learning initiatives, will not only attract highly motivated and skilled individuals, but foster a culture of learning and innovation well into the future.

The Bottom Line
While the landscape, and the way in which we attract and retain talent may be changing, there is one thing that will not change. Organizations are made up of people, and people want to feel appreciated, heard, valued, and supported.

Innovative organizations focus on their people first, and view technology and social media as a tool that they can leverage to meet them where they are, and move forward together.

Nicole Girouard is marketing director for the Dynamic Achievement Group—powering excellence through mindset, culture and leadership.

(PeopleTalk Summer 2017)

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