Employee engagement is the top challenge for business leaders in 2022, according to a survey of senior managers by Fastnet Executive Search, one of Ireland’s leading executive recruitment and search firms. Of those surveyed, 88% cited employee engagement as the most critical challenge over other issues such as digitalisation, supply chain disruption and sustainability.
When asked what the key priorities are for developing employee engagement, responders — of which 80% are in the life sciences sector — listed the following in order of importance: connection to the organisation’s purpose (77%); autonomy and trust (67%); continuous learning (58%); and flexible working (57%).
Éimhín O’Driscoll, Managing Partner of Fastnet Executive Search, has been partnering with major employers in the life sciences sector for over 20 years, said: “In today’s dynamic environment, business leaders are facing unprecedented volatility in recruitment and retention, and we are not surprised that employee engagement is arising as the stand-out challenge. Jobs are more complex, organisations are transforming, and new talent models are emerging based on purpose and meaning.”
Éimhín added: “People want to work in organisations that are creative, empowering, purposeful, and passionate. In our experience, having the right leaders in place is crucial for the development and growth of high performing teams, elevating organisations from good to great. The right leaders create environments where learning is a priority, where ideas and feedback are shared authentically, and people feel a meaningful connection to the value they create during their workday.
“While job scope and reward packages continue to be key drivers for candidates making significant career choices, candidates are focusing more on the purpose and values of prospective employers and adopting a more thorough approach to understanding company culture from the earliest stages.”
The survey also found that 40% of respondents had worked in a different industry in their last role, highlighting a change in how companies value adaptable skills and culture fit over industry specific experience when hiring leaders.
“When conducting business critical searches for senior executives, our clients are increasingly seeing the benefits of attracting leaders from diverse backgrounds in improving employee engagement and trust and ensuring new perspectives and innovative thinking on their leadership teams.
Éimhín added it is widely accepted that the Workplace of the Future will be very different from what we have known, presenting both opportunities and challenges. “We have come through a period that has facilitated an exceptional chance for deep reflection and reassessment,” she said. “Rather than succumbing to the temptation of a ‘return to normal’, I feel it is an opportune time to be brave, innovative, and creative in defining our future way of working.”