Attracting and Retaining Talent is an Emerging Concern for Resilience

From the earliest days of the pandemic, supply chain issues were front of mind for many organizations. Whether it was finding toilet paper to stock bathrooms or the ability to access necessary supplies for product development or service deliveries, most organizations have been supply-chain focused for the past two years.

But, according to a recent Gartner survey, there are new business continuity concerns emerging for organizations of all sizes—how to attract and retain talent across most industries, especially in the areas of resilience, crisis management, and cybersecurity.

According to the Gartner’s “Emerging Risks Monitor Report,” talent issues are among the top concerns for executives this year. And it’s not just about attracting and retaining talent. The report indicates that executives are also worried about their organization’s abilities to meet new and evolving employee expectations as work environments evolve from changes spurred by the pandemic.

These concerns now outrank issues with supply chain disruptions, new ransomware, lingering COVID-19 impacts, and inflation.

What Does Normal Look Like Today?

Prior to the pandemic, for many organizations remote work was far from the norm. Historically, especially for many non-technology based organizations, remote work was an exception, not commonplace. But, the pandemic’s social distancing and shelter-at-home orders forced many into rapidly adopting this new way of work. For many, it was a matter of switching to a fully remote or hybrid remote model or risk operational failure.

As the pandemic moves to endemic stage, many organizations still struggle with getting a grasp on what a modern work environment will look like.

While some have opted to return to mostly on-site work teams, many have realized the benefits of remote work where others have embraced a hybrid of on-premises and remote work options for their teams.

But, doing so, increases a range of new and constantly evolving risks that can negatively affect operational resilience, especially for teams that were already stretched thin in trying to manage and mitigate risks in a purely on-premises environment.

These new work environments are forcing organizations, many for the first time, to consider the health, safety, and other benefits for employees who aren’t regularly on-site.

As such, employee demands and expectations are changing as well. While many employees have enjoyed the benefits of not having to commute to an office daily, others want the opportunity to engage with coworkers face-to-face on a more routine basis.

These are becoming important issues for organizations looking to fill existing positions, expand roles, and retain existing talent.

In fact, BCI’s 2022 Horizon Scan Report finds that a growing number of organizations are focusing on lack of talent and key skills when planning for incident management. Many organizations expect it to have a higher impact and likelihood than in the previous 12 months.

And, for those struggling to keep up, many employees are throwing in the towel in what some analysts have called the “Great Resignation,” where employees are quicker than ever to leave one organization for a better opportunity at another, specifically in terms of more flexible work schedules, better work-life balance, and better pay and benefits.

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Mitigating the Great Resignation

While finding qualified people to fill roles within business continuity and related professions isn’t new to the industry, some organizations may be struggling with the post-pandemic staffing challenges they face today.

So, what can your organization do to mitigate some of the challenges caused by these changes?

While the answers vary based on a range of issues for your organization, the simplest answer is rooted in moving from a static thinking of company-first to also considering employee needs and concerns in your strategies. Today, it’s all about adaptability to be able to attract and retain the employees you need in this market. That’s because, at least for now, it’s no longer about being an employer-focused market. It’s about meeting and exceeding employee expectations to ensure you have the talent you need to shore up resilience management.

What does that entail?

Tips for Attracting and Retaining Talent

First, if your organization hasn’t already made key decisions about if you’re going to return to on-premise full-time or offer remote or hybrid options, now is the time. Remember, that old way of thinking that employees are less productive if they work from home has long been debunked. Not only have most employees proven they can tackle challenges successfully outside of an office environment, but many want to continue to do so.

In terms of keeping existing employees happy and bringing new talent to your team, be sure to carefully evaluate how these options fit into your ability to meet customer, industry, and stakeholder expectations, while addressing what a majority of your current and future employees want to deliver the best services to you.

Make sure out-of-sight is not out-of-mind. Finding effective ways to recognize and empower employees who do good work is challenging enough when you’re face-to-face often. It’s even more difficult with employees who work remotely. That’s why, in context of talent attraction and retention, it’s important to develop effective reward and recognition strategies that don’t just honor employees for a job well-done, but also motivate them to stick with you and promote your organization as a great place to work.

Also, don’t forget about how much these new work environments can contribute to employee burnout. Many struggle with knowing when the work day is over, especially when their office is within the space where they live.

To attract and retain qualified workers, be sure to establish clear expectations and policies regarding work hours, roles, and requirements. Encourage employees to embrace a work-life balance so they don’t chronically feel like they must be “always on” to meet job requirements.

As with your resilience management program, balancing the new demands of current and future employees will require a flexible and adaptive approach, one that meets the needs of both your organization and the people you want to work with you.

Want more insight on how the current staffing challenges are affecting resilience management and what you can do to attract and retain qualified professionals? Check out this great episode of Castellan’s “Business, Interrupted” podcast: “Maintaining Business Continuity in the Great Resignation with Tara Davidson.”

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