Axiomatic Consultants - Coming to poach your talent.


In April 2021, 2.7% of employees in the United States left their jobs. This represented a significant increase from 1.6% the previous year and is the highest level for almost two decades. Equally alarming, a Prudential Financial Inc survey of 2,000 employees conducted in March 2021, indicated that 25% of US employees plan to actively look for a role, in the short term with a different employer.

Why? What is causing employees to actively look for a new job?

Covid-19 is the obvious answer. The pandemic has resulted in employees re-imagining their lifestyle, re-examining their current job and benefits, re-focussing on their career path and re-considering where they want to live and work. Millennials are more likely to be considering these questions.

Remote working has furnished almost all employees with the opportunity to work from home. Initially, a work life balance was thought to be the advantage of remote working, but employees have since discovered that they are probably working longer hours. However, what this has demonstrated, is that remote working facilitates flexibility. A mother can now go to a child’s piano recital; although it probably would mean that those hours must be caught up in the evening.

All, or most, employers are grappling with the “back to the office” question and while the current consensus is to introduce a hybrid solution, this may not suit all employees. Some may want to work from the office full time, others may want to work 100% remotely- a dictatorial approach by the employer will lead to an exodus of top talent.

Axiomatic Consultants GlobeImportantly, the ability to work remotely has widened the talent selection pool for employers. A company in Dubai is thus no longer restricted to hiring from the Dubai talent pool but can now cast a global net. The corollary to this is that the competition for your talent is no longer restricted to Dubai companies but rather competitors from anywhere- Kazakhstan to the British Virgin Islands to Malta.  Beware: they are coming to poach your top talent.

Jonas Riddestrale and Kjell Nordsrom in their book Karaoke Capitalism, identified a frightening trend-

The talent market does not operate like markets for raw material. Competent individuals are unique and different. Economists would even describe the talent market as imperfect.

Power is now in the process of being transferred from the owners of financial capital to those in control of intellectual capital.  In the gold-collar niche of the labour market, firms may end up as price-takers-being forced to accept whatever fees or salaries talented men and women suggest.”

Unfortunately, there is no panacea, magic bullet or one-fits-all scheme which can be implemented to retain your top talent. However, one thing is certain; we have moved from the “Normal”, past the “New Normal” and are entering the “Next Normal” phase where we must change our preconceived long-held ideas and adopt an agile HR approach. Also, you must accept that talent is a crucial catalyst to unlock your competitive advantage and ensure financial success post the pandemic.

When considering retention mechanisms, the entire Employee Value Proposition is important but what is even more vital, is to anticipate the trend and immediately start implementing retention tools/ schemes for your top talent NOW – certainly before your competitors do.

Once again, there is no generic magic bullet scheme applicable to all companies but whatever you chose, it must:

  • identify your top talent. Not the talent from your old business model but rather those employees who will be crucial in building your business in the post-Covid business environment.
  • Whether the retention policy includes short or medium term monetary schemes, or a flexible remote working policy, it must be crafted to align with the strategy and financial constraints of the company; and
  • be designed in an adroit manner to act as a motivator which boosts productivity and concomitantly profits, while at the same time, effectively retaining your valuable top talent. And of course, prevents me and your global competitors poaching your top talent.

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