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Retaining employees amidst digital shifts: Hopeful or hopeless?

Retaining employees amidst digital shifts: Hopeful or hopeless?

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While tech lay off news is abundant, and this means potential talent is infusing back into the unemployment market, the truth is, the talent war is far from over. If anything, the grabbing and poaching of talent has only gotten more and more intense. One of the hardest aspects for companies today is to retain talent. In fact PWC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of 52,195 workers in 44 nations and territories has shown that one in five are likely to hunt for a new job in the next 12 months. 

Harder still is when employees leave companies amidst transformation plans. In a panel discussion at Digital Marketing Asia 2022, Lisa Askwith, chief people officer, Love, Bonito, asked panellists at different stages of their digital transformation how they have been altering their talent strategies to keep them on board. 

Charlotte Allen, global eCommerce excellence lead at Mondelēz International, said that her firm has been focused on creating an atmosphere of learning through doing - especially in emerging areas such as digital finance, which is current key for the organisation.

“We've been focused quite a bit in careers within digital finance. We know that people learn best through doing, so for us one loop is making sure people have key learning experiences, whether through a short term project or, more formal role within digital commerce. This has been really important to us,” she said. She added that more recently the company also realised that the people working digital commerce love what they do, and the company wants to keep those panels within the organisation as well.

"We've started to do a bit more in the space of working with them, so they understand exactly what that experience can do for their career,” she said.

Meanwhile, for a brand like Shiok Meats - championing sustainable, healthy meals by growing meats from stem cells instead of farming them, the brand is still early in its branding and marketing transformation journey, said Brenda Hobin, global marketing director at a cell-based seafood and meat company Shiok Meats. Hobin key to recruitment is to hire people who are already motivated and who want to make a difference. Providing an environment for these employees to thrive is then on the employer. 

Hobin has also been focused on Gen Zs and said that she needed to look at a metaphorical mirror and ask herself what she needed to know to work well with the new generation entering the workforce, and see the world through their point of view.

Hobin added that given the high attrition rate with Gen Zs, she is always communicating with the younger workforce on what their goals are and she could craft the job around what motivates them. Touching on the controversial topic of poaching, Hobin added that as an employer she is also "really happy" when her team members are poached as it means that they are thriving and have done a "very good job", which can be a testament to the manager. 

She added that employers must be open to also really hearing what these employees might not enjoy as well. Moreover, the environment that managers have been groomed in, with what employees expect today has undergone a fundamental shift. As such, more managers are needing to adapt to the mindsets of the emerging workforce.

Moderator Askwith added, “Check whether the goals your employees have aligns with your values and your purpose. We've gone through a massive shift with our people. Additionally, we are throwing digitalisation, and obviously here today, we are talking about marketing as well, which is another big dynamic on top of that.".

Corinna Choong, senior director of marketing and communications at Singapore University of Technology and Design, said giving her team the freedom to thrive on creativity and trying new things with innovating experience has also worked well for her. Choong also added that human interactions cannot be overlooked, and companies must be intentional in the way they craft cultural interaction - rather then expect it to flow naturally or organically, especially in an era of hybrid workforce.

Related articles: 

Mondelēz names SEA president
Mondelēz to increase ad spend in 2022 to push visibility and innovation
Interview: Behind Love, Bonito's bold activewear acquisition, and upcoming US plans
Love, Bonito rebrands activewear brand butter. after acquisition
Shopee reportedly makes cuts to SG office, marketing team to be impacted

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