How the talent troll will thwart your transition to a hybrid workplace

We are emerging into a world of hybrid workplaces: designed to support a shifting combination of in-office and remote workers.

In this new world, the talent you want has different needs and priorities than in the old. They want flexibility, autonomy and freedom from brittle processes, fixed roles and hierarchies. But as lockdown restrictions ease across the country and people start returning to the office, there are powerful forces of habit and inertia that will strive to thwart companies’ transition to a hybrid workplace.

One such force we call…the Talent Troll!

The Talent Troll: one of the seven monsters in our eBook

The Talent Troll will smash any organisation to pieces that is still trying to hire people as if they were simply cogs in a machine. And as job opportunities begin to open up, companies that are better set up for the future of work (i.e. flexible, hybrid/remote, skills-based employment) will steal your best people.

In this blog, we will explore three ways that the Talent Troll threatens your organisation and what you need to do to defeat him.

(Pssst… the Talent Troll is not alone! There are many other beasts that want to foil your plans for the future of work. Our latest eBook, The Great Return to the Office: The Seven Monster Threats That Will Thwart Your Successful Transition to a Hybrid Workplace, gives the gruesome details of these monsters, the carnage they can wreak in your organisation and, most importantly, provides guidance on what you can do to stop these beasts in their tracks!)

Let’s dive into the threats that the troll poses as well as how you can help defeat him!

How to Enrage the Talent Troll and Lose Your Best People

1. The troll will ravage any organisation that sticks with static job roles and descriptions

In the 20th century, businesses worshipped at the altar of efficiency.

In the new hybrid workplace, their faith is misplaced. Efficiency, it turns out, is very brittle. And in the face of the sudden shocks that businesses must withstand in a constantly shifting, crisis-stricken world, RESILIENCE is the new source of competitive advantage.

And we can see this in the world around us: the companies that adapted most elegantly to the Covid-19 pandemic were those that quickly redeployed their talent: they gave their people permission to tear their job description to pieces and turn their hand to whatever needed to be done. Your approach to talent and people must shift from brittle efficiency (one person, one skill, one role) to adaptive resilience (flexible, hybrid, skills-based roles).

Talent Troll Threat:

As people look for fresh opportunities in the post-pandemic uplift, they will prioritise companies that can offer jobs fit for the new world of hybridity and resilience. The Talent Troll will crush any organisations that are creating rigid, brittle job roles that focus on efficiency, rather than making flexible, skills-based hires that build resilience.

The Solution:

Redefine job roles: rather than fixating on rigid job roles, focus more on the skills you need, allowing your people to move and explore more freely within your organisation.

Emphasis autonomy: Give people permission to go beyond their job description and to turn their hand to whatever needs to be done.

Create an opportunity job board: help people find opportunities and projects outside of their immediate job role to build skills, networks and resilience.

2. The troll will attack if you ignore the new, global talent pool

As hybrid workplaces become the norm, talent pools will go global. This means two things:

  1. More talent: you have a much wider range of talent to choose from
  2. More competition: top talent will have more companies trying to attract them

The talent stakes are rising. The goldfish bowl is getting bigger, but also more crowded.

In order to attract and retain top talent, you need to be able to hire confidently from anywhere, knowing that your technology and organisational structures are properly set up for truly global teams.

Talent Troll Threat:

If you aren’t set up for the future of work, you’re going to lose people to new competitors from around the world who are ahead of the curve. The troll will tear you apart if your technology and processes can’t handle the new global talent landscape!

The Solution:

Transform your hiring strategy: you have to reimagine your recruitment for a global talent context in which your next big hire could be from anywhere.

Create a seamless digital/physical interface for social networks: employees need to be able to network seamlessly whether they are in the office or remote through seamless social interfaces

Ensure guidelines for remote/hybrid teams: blended teams of home, office and remote workers will be a firm fixture in the future of work. Clear guidelines will be needed to ensure that no one is left behind and that an us vs them culture does not emerge between factions.

3. The troll will laugh in the face of companies that treat their employees like static, fungible resources

The old world tried to design a machine (a company) and then hire cogs (human beings!) to fit that machine. This overlooks the environment in which this machine operates, and as the environment changes—often radically, as now—the cost of this approach becomes all too obvious.

The world is getting less predictable. Disruptive events of all shapes and sizes are increasing in frequency. Everything from pandemics to changing customer demands. In this context, a new approach is needed: transforming how you view your people to see them as intelligent nodes in an ever-shifting network, rather than static cogs in a fixed machine.

Talent Troll Threat:

Any company that tries to design and build a rigid organisational structure and drop humans in like they were static cogs will be insufficiently resilient to withstand the Talent Troll’s onslaught. They will lose people to more flexible organisations that can better deal with volatility and uncertainty (not to mention provide more interesting and varied jobs!).

The Solution:

See your people as intelligent cells, rather than static cogs: put structures in place that gives people permission to respond to their environment, trying new and different ways of working, rather than following ‘the process’.

Create structures that enable fluid reactivity, rather than rigidity: allow people to collaborate and organise freely across the organisation, for example, rapidly forming/dissolving teams or create project-specific squads with members from different teams.

Successfully Transitioning to the Hybrid Workplace of the Future

Are you ready to face the Talent Troll as you wind your way towards the hybrid workplace?

In our new eBook, join Whitebeard the Future Worx Wizard on his quest to slay the beasts that imperil the future of work! 

Check out more of our insights