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Talent Is More Scarce Than Capital. How to Attract and Retain Great People. Employee engagement has morphed from "nice to have" luxury to "must achieve to survive". Key ways to create and foster a better worker culture.

By Brenda Pak Edited by Matt Scanlon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Companies with strong work/employee cultures don't happen by chance. Instead, they deliberately place high value on making sure team members can bring their entire selves to work. A great many Millennials and Gen Z members no longer see a job as a means to simply get a paycheck, but as an integrated part of their lives. So, creating strong links to an individual's purpose benefits both them and the company alike – and could be the very thing that differentiates an organization in a time of post-pandemic uncertainties. According to McKinsey & Company, companies with strong culture generate three times higher total return to shareholders than those that don't.

Take a stance on purpose

As leaders continue organizing for the post-Covid future, they are beginning to understand that purpose can no longer be relegated to high-level intentions or catchy slogans. Many are grasping that the great challenges of our time — such as climate change, wealth inequity and disintegrating trust in institutions — are, in part, a by-product of what's often considered a winner-takes-all economy. Increasingly, businesses are expected to take the lead in addressing these issues, creating a more sustainable and equitable world. According to a March, 2020 article in the Pew Research Center's Factank, 52% people of color will not work for a company that fails to address racial inequality. It is therefore crucial for leaders to truly listen to employees and stakeholders to identify issues that mean the most to them.

Related: The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion During Uncertain Times

Treat talent as scarcer than capital

Traditional models of full- and part-time employment in static locations with set times are being upended. The market for talent is increasingly competitive, and remote working and the gig economy have changed the way labor works, likely indefinitely. Workers are finding other meaningful ways to thrive, lending their skills in creative ways through technology and in ecosystems with flexible schedules. Companies now need to think creatively about how to reach top talent, whether by becoming part of a tech-enabled marketplace or offering different incentives as they recruit future workers. If companies want to stand out, they need to focus on what is making the current talent pool motivated and focus on how to keep employees purpose-driven and connected.

Related: Employers Need the Freshen Up Their Playbook In The Fight To Attract and Retain Talent

Use data-rich tech platforms and tools

Organizations that invest in data-rich tools and platforms can gain valuable insight into the wellbeing of their employees and can take the corresponding action to increase employee connectivity and purpose. In a 2020 Harvard Business School Pulse Survey report, 82% of companies indicated that employee happiness on the job is significantly impacted by how well workplace technology performs. In order to answer key questions such as how it makes itself more attractive to candidates and retain diverse top talent, a company needs the right technology tools and partners to establish a strong employee support system.

Accelerate learning as an organization

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that agility and flexibility in a company is crucial to survival. So, enterprises should spur teams and individuals to learn from failure and embrace risk and new ideas. But, for this learning to occur, companies need to create an environment of safety that allows people to learn from both failures and successes. This type of environment can only be reinforced from the top. If such adaptive learning is developed and enforced by managers and other leaders, it signals to teams and individuals that learning is now a priority for the entire organization.

Brenda Pak

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO and Cofounder

Brenda Pak is the co-founder of BackPac, a B2B diversity and inclusion platform that helps companies build inclusive cultures.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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