GGFL Beyond the Numbers Event

GGFL Beyond the Numbers Event

Photo:  Josh Engel, GGFL managing partner, and Eric Termuende, author of Future of Work


Winning the talent war

There are two things that employees dislike: Change and things that stay as they are.

So said Future of Work author Eric Termuende, guest speaker at GGFL’s second annual Beyond the Numbers event, held at Dow’s Lake on May 22.

GGFL invited Termuende to give our business clients the opportunity to hear his views on how to address the talent shortage – a situation many employers consider to be a crisis.

With a nod to inspirational speaker Buckminister Fuller, Vancouver-based Termuende urged the GGFL business audience to think differently when trying to attract and retain new talent – or, as he put it, win the talent war in the face of fierce competition for the best and brightest employees.

(Fuller, by the way, is famous for many of his quotes including: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”)

Which, more or less, was Termuende’s point.

“Don’t think work-life balance,” he said. “Think work-life integration because when you hire you’re not just hiring someone for a job, you’re actually hiring them into a lifestyle.”

Termuende spoke about creating ‘communities’ of employees and not ‘teams.’

Teams, he explained, are groups of people with self-interest; communities are groups of people who have each other’s backs in pursuit of communal goals.

Key to creating those communities within a company is to attract and retain the right type of employees, he said.

And a key to attracting and retaining the right type employees is to start with job descriptions that go beyond the conventional and into a more holistic description of what a job and the related lifestyle entails.

Termuende quoted one poll that suggested just 17 per cent of Canadians felt engaged at work – evidence, he said, that employers need to put more effort into explaining to prospective employees ‘what they’re getting into’ and better understanding what makes those prospective employees tick.

Against an image of the now defunct Palm Pilot – released in 1997 and the first entry into the mobile world – Termuende spoke of the increased power of modern devices and the reality that most new recruits will be ‘connected’ during, and way beyond, conventional office hours.

An integrated work-life philosophy would mean accepting that work would get done – well and on time – but not necessarily in the traditional time slots.

In a job description, signalling a willingness to be flexible is key.

And accommodating change within a workplace culture need not be radical, he said.

“A small, one-degree change can make a huge difference,” he added.