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Flexibility, Reskilling: Talent Strategy Priorities

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Mon, 06/20/2022 - 12:16

Talent scarcity remains an immediate and long-term threat to individual companies and the Mexican economy. In a labor-led market, Mexican companies need to take actionable steps towards establishing or augmenting flexibility and reskilling incentives, according to Randstad’s Workmonitor Report 2022, or face the possibility of economic constraint. 

“At a time when talent scarcity is impeding so many employers, failing to meet the expectations of an enlightened workforce can be disastrous for organizations seeking the best people. Talent scarcity is here to stay — at least for the time being,” reads the report.

Mexico’s labor market has faced and battled tremendous adversity, a transformative experience that has undoubtedly disrupted the traditional dynamic between talent and employers. The empowered post-pandemic worker is characterized by a newfound autonomy and disposition to preserve a healthy work-life balance, even at the expense of their job or career. Those unwilling, or unable, to meet these new expectations, faced a mass talent exodus. In Mexico, this frustration was pronounced, ultimately leading 45 percent of respondents to quit their job as it failed to fit in with their personal life goals. This was 11 percent above the global average, according to Randstad.

This observed response indicates that while employees’ work expectations have been raised, only a handful of employers have been willing to meet their demands. An outstanding demand for 41 percent of respondents was a lack of workplace flexibility, driving them to quit over the past year. Cementing this labor-market  expectation were 42 percent of respondents who confirmed that they will not be taking future jobs that do not offer flexibility regarding working hours.

The past two years have been a handful of growing pains for Mexican companies including the implementation of new work models, an accelerated digital transformation, policy changes and the reformulation of their value propositions. Since offering workplace flexibility continues to be met with resistance by companies in Mexico, before making any decisive changes, Randstad recommends companies to implement a pilot program to collect and assess generated data. Based on the observed results, employers can confidently construct flexible work policies based on proven results, without the fear of undercutting productivity or team cohesion. Above all, these policies should be informed by what contributors need in terms of flexibility and should be continually adapted as their needs change.

“[R]ules and guidelines regarding presential work must reconceptualized, considering the inherent organizational function of the company and specific roles within it,” Marcela Domenzain Carmona, Human Resources Director Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, BASF told Mexico Business News. This is the immediate challenge of companies during this initial phase of the transition back to the office, an adaptation process that will likely continue until the end of 2022.

The digital transformation has also highlighted the risk of skill obsolescence, creating a sense of urgency among workers to upskill and reskill to remain competitive. Mexican talent regards training and development as the best way to future-proof their careers against changes like automation, mainly through an emphasis on digital training and improving their soft skills. An underlying factor is a greater ambition among 64 percent of Randstad’s respondents to pivot away from their current professional role and towards a new one, 24 percent the global average, according to Randstad. Furthermore, and at the benefit of companies, 45 percent of the Mexican talent is looking to advance their careers with their current employer, compared to the global average of 40 percent. These key performance indicators point at a situation where companies can retrain current staff to take over mid and senior level positions with greater assurance that they will stay with the company. This is a pertinent concern among c-suite executives, who have observed talent poaching grow into a rising trend, as reported by Mexico Business News.

“For potential hires with an adequate skillset, the experts are seeing an international ‘war for talent’ emerge. To win the war, companies must look toward the future, not just to retain talent but to be successful in their operations, too,” Karlo Mondragón, Chief Human Resources Officer, Grupo Salinas told MBN.

To make the most of this strategy, companies would benefit from conducting a skills audit and identifying what will be needed in the future so that they train and migrate talent accordingly. Once these gaps are identified, companies should aspire to align training programs with career roadmaps so that contributors can painlessly grow into new roles. Taking it a step further, organizations could significantly gain from individual career coaching, both as a means of identifying professional and personal goals of interest and improving retention, according to Randstad. As suggested, self-standing skilling and upskilling programs are an incomplete retention strategy that should be complemented with recurring career consulting to foment their commitment to an organization.

As internal processes, these indicators: flexibility and reskilling, infer that companies in Mexico have failed to consult their contributors to identify or prioritize retention opportunities. Working to address these unmet expectations represents an opportunity for early-adopters to build a holistic value proposition that considers both its external and internal incentives for the ultimate retention and recruitment strategy. This is especially important as Mexico’s labor market grows increasingly competitive with domestic and international demand.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Photo by:   Vectorjuice
Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst