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Brain circuits

How to create a culture that attracts workers

Published 18 January 2022 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Labor shortages have become a pervasive problem across some industries and countries across the globe, and as the pandemic drags on employers are searching for the right incentives to attract and retain employees. But with younger generations refusing to work long hours and people everywhere grappling with COVID-19 burnout, pay and perks may not be enough for employees. The adage that employees don’t leave organizations, they leave terrible bosses is backed up by wealth of research studies. If you want to beat the competition in the battle for the best and the brightest talent, then take a hard look at the culture and working conditions that you create for your employees.

The exercise: do a survey of your organization’s leadership. Ask questions to determine their style and deeply rooted beliefs about how leaders should behave.

Do they know personal details about their team members?

Do they know what their team members struggle with?

Are they easily frustrated with employees who don’t deliver on time and without question, or do they seek to find out what lies behind someone who is underperforming?

Where do you yourself stand on these issues?

Companies need to focus on employee wellbeing as bosses attempt to create a more empathetic culture, one marked by leadership kindness instead of the command-and-control management styles of the past.

Evaluate your future working practices plan

Flexibility in work hours is another critical point in creating an environment that caters to employees’ interests. People have demonstrated an overwhelming preference for hybrid or fully flexible work hours; if you haven’t sat down with your human resources and operations managers to figure out a system to support this after COVID-19 subsides, it is time to do so.

Look beyond pay

Many organizations are offering benefits that increase employees’ health and wellbeing. These might include things like on-site fitness facilities, resilience exercises and classes, and output-oriented systems that could even include unlimited vacation.

Further reading: 

Three solutions to acute labor shortages post COVID-19 by Bettina Büchel.


Bettina Büchel - IMD Professor

Bettina Büchel

Professor of Strategy and Organization at IMD

Bettina Büchel has been Professor of Strategy and Organization at IMD since 2000. Her research topics include strategy implementation, new business development, strategic alliances, and change management. She is Program Director of the Internet of Things program and the Strategy Execution course.


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