Powered by People: The live discussion

Jitesh Patel, CEO

Our Powered by People report discussed some of the challenges facing business leaders when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but just how are business leaders responding?

How are business leaders reacting to the ‘Great Resignation’?

For the first time since 2019, we brought this discussion to life with an in-person panel of recruitment professionals and industry experts. At Preqin’s home in Victoria’s Verde, we delved into the findings of the report, exploring subjects such as hybrid working, employee wellbeing and company culture. The panel shared their experiences to understand the different ways businesses can overcome the great resignation, and why the workplace matters.

Chaired by Sandy Lindsay MBE, Katy Leeson, MD of Social Chain, was joined by Ryszard Nowobilski, VP of Talent Development at Preqin and Jitesh Patel, CEO of Peldon Rose. From understanding why the battle for talent is sharper than ever to the role of the workplace in embodying a company’s beliefs, the overarching message was loud and clear: putting people first is the key to success.

The great awakening

For many business leaders, the events of the past two years brought with it challenges unlike those faced in a generation. Opening the discussion, Sandy explains,

“In 20 years of business, I have never had a business year like the last two years. It's been at best weird and at worst absolutely terrifying.”

Adding that everything about the world of work has changed, Ryszard thinks that business leaders should consider this moment in time as ‘the great awakening’,

“People are realising that the world around them is changing, that what they need from their business and their work life is different than it was before. That's what’s driving the ‘great resignation’.”

But what are people now searching for?

“People want to belong,” suggests JP, “and the place you work is a statement to where you belong, just like our homes are a statement for each of us.”

The pursuit of purpose

Not only in life, but within the world of work, Katy believes that workers are in ‘pursuit of purpose’, and the ‘great resignation’ is partly driven by the search for an organisation whose purpose aligns with our own.

“We’ve had time to question what’s important to us and the workforce is reconsidering what it means to belong. What is my purpose and what makes me happy?”

It’s therefore important for business leaders to truly make their purpose clear. JP shared how, in his experience, this comes from having a strong system of values and beliefs.

“The values and beliefs of a business are demonstrated via every mode of communication available, whether that’s the spoken or written word.”

It’s clear though, that this is not enough.

“Then, it comes down to behaviour. The workplace provides an opportunity to showcase those values and beliefs, to put them on display. Even offering your people a great cup of coffee when they arrive at the workplace is a way to show your team that you value them.”

Create a culture to be proud of

The expression of a business’ values and beliefs culminate in the establishment of a strong company culture, which the panel unanimously agree plays a huge role in the battle for talent. Ryszard explains,

“People’s job choices are no longer determined solely by money. People are looking for a workplace that will have a positive impact on them. Here at Preqin, we are working hard to create an environment that people really want to come to.”

“If you create a culture where people want to come into the office, then you don’t need to be setting mandates. During the hiring process, part of the USP of the company will be the workplace. It's a chance to invite prospective employees into a space to see and feel what the company has to offer.”

Understanding that there’s no one-size-fits all approach to culture, Katy believes that properly supporting the workforce is all about individualisation.

“If you have someone who doesn’t want to come into the office, the first question I would ask is, why? I see the benefit of people coming together physically for a number of reasons, but support is bespoke. It’s important to dig into the reasons why someone doesn’t want to be part of that collective.”

While there’s no silver bullet to overcoming the challenges business leaders are facing when it comes to engagement, talent attraction and employee wellbeing, the workplace is a good place to start. As JP concludes,

“The Powered by People report has crystallised many of the conversations we have been having for 15 years. We have always said that a healthy and engaged business is underpinned by a culture that supports it and ultimately, the workplace drives this.”

What’s next for 2022?

It was brilliant to bring people physically together to discuss some of the biggest factors influencing workplace design. We enjoyed delicious breakfast, fresh juices and quality coffee from Social Pantry, an organisation committed to making a positive difference via employment and sustainable catering. With event imagery captured by a talented young photographer from Mediorite, we look forward to more in-person discussions in 2022 and beyond. Stay tuned for more...

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