By Barb Ward

The pandemic has forced organizations and their leaders to rethink and reconsider their values more than ever before. Tough questions – and actions – have had to occur in order to simply survive. And, as we move through the after-effects and consider how “The Great Resignation,” (the term coined to describe vast numbers of employees currently resigning from their positions) has impacted things, it becomes apparent that the landscape of our organizations has changed drastically, and it is likely to continue changing. Not only have our physical environments changed, but employees are demanding more from their employers – and many are willing to walk away if their demands are not met. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult for organizations to recruit and retain top talent.

Consider this, as Covid unraveled our country overnight, employees were forced to deal with situations never before encountered, ranging from balancing work and family life as they worked from home, feelings of both personal and professional isolation, fear for the safety of family and friends who could not work remotely, and higher levels of job insecurity as certain jobs were deemed “essential” and others not, and as many were uncontrollably furloughed.

Now, as we examine how to move forward, many people have redefined where and how they are willing to work, what they are willing to do, and perhaps most importantly to organizations, who they are willing to work for.

As people are looking to re-enter the workforce or are re-evaluating their current job situation, many are more closely examining how organizations align with their values, and inclusive environments and leaders have become an increasingly important ingredient in the recipe for the right organizational fit. What’s more, the pandemic has highlighted individual’s expectations that the organization’s values align with their own, and an environment of inclusion is often at the top of their list.

In short, recruiting and retaining top talent is going to require inclusive leaders who foster the right environment. To make sure you are in the right space, or can move towards it, the first step is to consider the fabric of your leadership, do they foster the right environment?

An inclusive leader:

  • Invites contributions from their teams
  • Creates a climate of psychological safety, which in turn, encourages others to speak up and share their thoughts
  • Is open to, and empowers others to share differing perspectives
  • Exhibits emotional and cultural intelligence
  • Is self-aware and understands their personal biases
  • Builds trust within their own team and across teams
  • Stands up for what’s right even when it’s difficult

The future starts now. Are you ready?