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Talent is Winning the War for Talent
Part 2 of 6

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Talent Attraction and Retention

If you have an interest in talent attraction and retention at a traditional company, even a new tech business with a great brand, you should be worried. Corporates are not winning the war for talent.

Your competition for talent is not your competitor or even another industry; it’s the lure of big ideas and entrepreneurial success, the attraction of professional freedom and work-life harmony.


Harvard Business Review calls this “The Rise of the Supertemp”, observing that “the surprise may not be that top talent is looking for ‘permanent temp work’, but that anyone who has a choice would want a traditional job.”

This is not a phenomenon limited to the younger generation of workers, as many of these independent professionals are at the top of their career and highly sought-after.
In the talent marketplace, talent increasingly calls the shots, seeking opportunities to be involved with challenging assignments, innovations ready for incubation and development assignments focused on future-proofing skill sets (Source: Gianpaolo Barozzi and Tom Lamberty, “Five Steps To Create The 21st Century Workforce Experience” in The Future of Work : Make the Future Work for You, 2015)

While established organisations may be challenged in creating truly entrepreneurial cultures to compete for talent, it is possible to implement workplace policies that encourage choice, autonomy and empowerment – providing opportunities to work on diverse assignments, in different areas, and with inspiring teams. However, for these environments to be successful, they need an enterprise-wide culture that values outcomes over inputs, participation and passion over ‘presenteeism’, and that demonstrates respect for people by trusting them to ‘do their job’.

Consulting firm Deloitte’s new office campus “The Edge” in the Netherlands
creates en entrepreneurial, empowered environment for 2,500 of its people, none of whom have allocated desks. About 25% of the building is dedicated to meeting and collaboration space, and the 1,000 desks are used only when needed. There are also places for socialising and networking, relaxing and for doing focused solo work.

The emphasis is on performance not place, creating an empowered and connected workforce focused on solving clients complex business challenges.

What does Coworking mean for CRE Leaders?

A flexible, fit-for purpose activity-based workplace provides a diverse mix of spaces and the ability to choose the space that best suits your needs and preferences – a very different model to the traditional hierarchy-based office environment and much close to the way coworking spaces operate. Minimise barriers between people, teams and departments to encourage porosity of ideas, enabling people to be challenged and inspired by the diversity of perspectives within your organisation. Provide ‘neutral’ community spaces for joint activities and interactions to allow different groups to more easily collaborate and innovate on projects.

In the next article, I’ll explore another facet of the interesting coworking impacts on workplace, particularly with an Asian twist!

This article was originally published by Caroline M. Burns, PhD, on May 28, 2016 at the series by Dr. Caroline M. Burns on Coworking and the Future of Work

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