By Ann Berberich, VP of Practices & Talent


If you don’t solve the problems of your past, they will follow you into the future.

Just about every news outlet these days is reporting out a job market filled with ongoing scuttle about massive shortages in the labor market, pent up hiring demands and a new normal in attaining talent loyalty. Historically, this notion has been a cyclical theme aligning with whatever local or global disruption is occurring at that point in time – it’s something we’ve experienced for generations in the past and will continue to see for generations in the future.

Fair to say that every business out there is experiencing some level of organizational movement in parallel to the current market conditions, whether it be people, process or product related. The current movement and impacts are proving to be more powerful than usual and meaningful change in any case tends to disturb culture in some shape or form. This is especially true when dealing with an influx of hiring where significant role appointments are being made throughout the company. The volume of change and size of an organization can influence the impacts, but there is no question that any and all personnel shifts will inevitably create some type of distraction or collaboration hurdles that must be overcome.

In a job market like we are experiencing today, the increased pace of hiring to either manage to retention or to growth can make it difficult to keep up with effective integration of new employees into the culture, and the speed at which overcoming hurdles can take place before the next wave hits. This factor can easily be described as one of the most challenging parts of any transformation, regardless of an organization’s maturity.

When it comes to winning the war for talent, employers need to take significant action by offering unique opportunity advantages and benefits, flexibility, enhanced branding, and most importantly, dedication to post-hire retention. Being nimble and proactive in the approach to address ever-changing necessities of people is simply one aspect of the focus required to help land your company on the list as a top employer of choice.

We must also keep the bigger picture in mind, as there is a significant investment that goes into the hiring process and the pursuit for top-tiered talent. Niche skills and specialties have become even more intense regardless of how enticing your offering is. All the while, people can be described as the most unpredictable products around. Like it or not, a level of imperfection lies within us all and often times there are decades of underserving tendencies and behaviors that follow us around if left unresolved. Although many of the current market reports are looking to pin acquisition and retention efforts entirely on the employer’s shoulders, I would heavily contest this belief. Should it really be the sole responsibility of the employer to drive and maintain a winning culture for all to enjoy?

My ecosystem, for instance, is a services-oriented world; one where each department can be considered a life blood of our collective success. We all benefit by maintaining a strong, healthy and collaborative culture. Our entire operational purpose is to display innovation, efficiency and functional excellence amongst our internal “customers” and external customers. If we don’t work this model in unity, not a single member of the team shall reach a victorious finish line.

In this case, shouldn’t it be obvious that it is all of our responsibilities to establish and re-establish a robust level of trust, collaboration and conviction that will keep us focused on the pursuit of service-oriented greatness? Rinse and repeat this methodology as often as needed and most especially in overdrive when new team members join to integrate them as quickly as possible.

While it may be true that the leaders of an organization should be setting examples through actions, communications and values for others to adhere, can an organization really achieve the optimal or desired outcomes if the employer is alone on the culture journey? Can culture creation or cultural change be achieved through top-down mandates alone? It would seem to me that we are smack dab in the middle of a similar type of debate globally, and I think we already have our answer on how well that is going.

Ultimately, it’s a choice to be a part of the solution and it’s also a choice to take a chance and run off chasing whatever one may think is going to be the next “big” thing. In my area of specialization, I can assure you with confidence that each and every individual has an opportunity for personal growth and development on this professional voyage. As we are dealing with a job market at large experiencing the same exact challenges across the board, new faces and cultural shifts evolve daily – this concept cannot be out run.

So, my recommendation is to slow down, put on whatever types of pants it is that you identify with, do the work, and overcome the hurdles together with the team already beside you. All great working relationships take effort to develop a shared perception of what is important and valued within the organization. Extend hearts and habits collectively and go forward together as one team.