Employers in cybersecurity and almost all other sectors continue to struggle to find and hire sufficient numbers of talented workers to keep their enterprises healthy.
More than 47 million people quit their jobs in 2021 during the height of the “Great Resignation,” according to HR Executive. And despite the fact the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, many of those employees who walked out the door last year are NOT returning to their previous jobs. As a result, many companies are turning to innovative strategies to keep employees happy, as traditional minor perks no longer seem to be working.
However, many of these attempts to retain employees will ultimately fail because they don’t address the root cause of the problem. The fact is, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t responsible for the increase in resignations, although it did exacerbate it. This trend is primarily due to the greater value that employees now place on working at an organization whose mission they believe in, where they feel valued, respected, and heard, and where they have liberties to work remotely, at least some of the time. Firms like Slone Partners Cybersecurity recognize these important dynamics and partner with companies in all sectors to identify, secure, and retain leaders in crucial cybersecurity, operational, and technical roles.
Harvard Business Review reports that the recent change in employee attitudes is largely due to the aging workforce. A greater number of workers is approaching retirement age when many people reevaluate their work/life balance, especially those providing care for family members. These factors often incentivize people to switch jobs within the same industry, even if they don’t leave the workforce altogether. Older workers are also less likely since the pandemic to return to on-site positions, either because of health concerns or a reluctance to surrender the flexibility they’ve enjoyed by working remotely.
Addressing issues of employee retention requires organizations to understand what matters most to employees about their workplace identity and corporate culture. Research by the MIT Sloan School of Management and CultureX analyzed the descriptions employees made about their employers by using natural language understanding, a type of artificial intelligence (AI). The results showed how strongly employees felt about various elements of corporate culture, which researchers used to determine the most important factors in determining employee satisfaction with culture. These elements may be grouped into the following categories:
Today’s employees know the value of their work and expect to be treated with respect. They also want to work in a position that matches their qualifications and allows them to develop their skills. However, many employees aren’t in such a role because employers often fill vacancies without regard to personality, motivation, or skills. Gartner reports that only one hire in five has the skills needed for their current job and future career. Therefore, companies must work harder to properly ascertain their employees’ skills, motivations, and aspirations more precisely. High-performing employees want to be valued, and their value increases when they are in a position where they can succeed. Providing ample and substantive professional development opportunities can help accelerate new skill development, enhance employee satisfaction, and improve retention.
Slone Partners Cybersecurity works closely with its client partners to assess the skills, capacities, and potential of candidates to fill important leadership positions, and in assessing culture to ensure that newly hired leaders will align with the company’s core mission, vision, and values so that they are more likely to remain with the organization for years to come.
Employees assign more responsibility for their successes and failures to their company’s C-level executives than to their immediate supervisor, according to the MIT Sloan study. However, employees still expect their direct boss to support their work and go to bat for them when needed. Supportive behavior is therefore one of the most critical traits a manager can have when it comes to retaining employees.
Companies should assess their managers to determine their leadership, empathy, and ethics. Managers with deficits in these areas should receive personalized performance plans that provide the additional training they require or be reassigned to non-managerial roles. Those managers who are equipped to succeed are more likely to be happy in their roles and remain with their organization.
As one of the nation’s premier executive recruiting firms, Slone Partners Cybersecurity delivers top leadership talent to its clients in all sectors, including cybersecurity products and services.
The pandemic has greatly increased employee expectations in terms of career mobility, both in regard to moving to different roles and scheduling their workday. However, many employers are still failing to provide their employees with personalized progression plans as employees return to the office following the pandemic. Furthermore, a recent study by Pew Research reports that almost 60 percent of Americans would prefer to work at home most of the time. These findings show that companies should survey their employees to assess their preference for remote work and offer appropriate accommodations, especially for their top performers. Slone Partners Cybersecurity’s recruiters understand that a workplace culture that includes mobility and flexibility is a must-have for many top performers.
Benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and bonuses are important forms of compensation for most employees. However, base salary is still extremely important, especially in an inflationary economy. With talented cybersecurity leaders in such high demand, college graduates with master’s degrees are earning north of $200,000 and salaries for top positions like CISOs are even more noteworthy. Talented cyber professionals certainly have a lot of leverage in this market, but employers must be careful to balance their need for top talent with their obligation to be fiscally responsible and not to capitulate to outrageous salary demands. At Slone Partners Cybersecurity, we serve as a third-party buffer during contract negotiations until a fair agreement is reached.
It does not appear that the nation’s workforce will return to its pre-pandemic dynamic anytime soon. The new reality, in which employees have more power to negotiate the position they want, is something that companies will have to wrap their heads around. And it is something that the professional cybersecurity recruiters at Slone Partners Cybersecurity understand very well as they source cybersecurity, operational, and technical leaders for organizations in almost all sectors, including critical infrastructure, banking, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and public utilities as well as for companies that specialize in cybersecurity products and services.
Contact us today to learn more.