Tackling employee risks through a resilient career ecosystem


Tackling employee risks through a resilient career ecosystem | Insurance Business America

“Organisations will need to think about staffing creatively to be successful”

Risk Management News

Kenneth Araullo

New insights from WTW highlight the opportunities, advances, and results that organisations can expect when tackling employee risks through a resilient career ecosystem.

In the evolving landscape of employment, the traditional, vertical career paths are increasingly giving way to more dynamic and multi-directional trajectories, reminiscent of dome-shaped jungle gyms. This shift reflects the changing nature of careers, now characterised by movement and diversity, offering employees various avenues for professional growth. In response, organisations are reimagining their career ecosystems to cater to these evolving employee expectations and preferences.

For employers, the stakes are high in adapting to these changes. The cost of replacing an employee can be as much as three times their average salary, emphasising the importance of retaining talent. Modern career paths demand a more flexible and supportive approach from employers, who can benefit from aiding employees in navigating their career journeys.

Research indicates that providing clear career opportunities and growth experiences significantly enhances employee engagement and retention. WTW’s integrated Career Ecosystem offers a framework and tools for employers to support their employees in successfully managing their careers, even when these do not follow traditional patterns.

How to achieve a resilient career ecosystem

The current career renaissance is influenced by a mix of economic, business, and generational factors. WTW global work, rewards, and careers expert Catherine Hartmann notes that with the aging population, organisations must creatively approach talent acquisition and retention. Companies failing to engage with these evolving career dynamics risk being left behind.

“The implication on the workforce is that organisations are going to need to take a transformational approach when they think about filling the ranks with the talent available to them, both internal and external. Much of that talent is going to be hitting retirement age all at once. There are different dynamics relative to global trends, but overall, it is safe to say that in the medium to long term, organisations will need to think about staffing creatively to be successful,” Hartmann said.

Meanwhile, WTW global work, rewards, and careers expert Amy Sung said that career perceptions vary among employees, with some seeking skill development for marketability, while others aim for long-term association with a single organisation.

“When leaders at an organisation focus on longevity of employees’ careers, all of their people programs are geared towards growing and retaining employees,” Sung said. “Some organisations are taking an alternate view; leaders in these companies may try to maximise an employee’s time with them, growing their skills and expanding their experiences. Sometimes this is for a future role with their organisation or even a role outside the organisation. It seems non-intuitive, no doubt. Retaining employees may save money in the short term, but when employees leave but boomerang and come back to an organisation, they bring greater, richer experiences to the table.”

WTW global work, rewards, and careers expert Ragini Mathur supported this statement, adding that organisations should tailor their career strategies to suit various demographics within their workforce.

“The first step for an organisation is to define what careers mean for them and then to create a career strategy,” Mathur said. “This often differs by industry and the organisation’s lifecycle stage. We should not just assume that when we say the word “careers” that everyone is on the same page. We also see that organisations are customising their career strategy for the various demographics in their organisation.”

The importance of employee attraction and retention

Hartmann also touched on the impact of organisational culture on employee retention and attraction. As companies evolve, particularly with the exit of baby boomers from the workforce, adapting their culture can make them more appealing to former employees who might return with new experiences and ideas.

“As the baby boomers leave the work force, many organisations, when projecting five years out, are deciding that they need to reset direction,” Hartmann said. “This shift, when authentic and led from leadership, can help make a former or previous employer more attractive to those looking to switch. With all of the employee movement, these boomerang employees are more common, and often understand the old culture, but could also be prominent in shaping the new culture – bringing new energy and experiences to the table.”

Looking at careers innovatively involves viewing them as a collection of diverse experiences. Hartmann describes modern careers as expansive “jungle gyms,” offering various progression paths. The challenge for employers is to create an engaging and dynamic framework for employees to navigate this landscape.

Sung noted the importance of a structured infrastructure in making sense of various job roles, levels, and skills. This clarity is crucial for both employees and managers to understand and engage with career opportunities within the organisation.

To implement a successful Career Ecosystem, Mathur suggested starting with an infrastructure audit to identify and address critical pain points. Employers should prioritise areas such as equitable pay, benefits, or learning and development based on their specific organisational needs. Building a career ecosystem is a gradual process that requires patience, agility, and the involvement of key stakeholders.

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