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July 01, 2024

Talent Attraction in the Era of RTO: A TA Leader’s Guide


The renewed push for Return-to-Office (RTO) policies created a challenging environment for Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders. TA teams now face the daunting task of replacing top-talent lost to RTO mandates, while selling new candidates on roles without remote work as a selling point. With RTO mandates on the rise, TA leaders need to know how to navigate these challenges, make the best of stringent policies, and, where possible, advocate for flexible work arrangements.

The Renewed Push for RTO

In 2024, a significant majority of companies plan to track employee attendance, with 8 in 10 firms with RTO policies implementing such measures. Notably, 95% of these companies indicate that non-compliance will result in consequences for employees. 

Some companies are experiencing public backlash as they enforce stricter RTO policies, including Amazon, where nearly 30,000 employees have signed a petition to fight the mandate. Some are even facing legal consequences as employees sue – citing health, disability concerns, and retaliation for union activities.

 

The Challenge to TA: Losing Top Talent and Recruitment Difficulties

Strict RTO policies are driving elevated attrition especially among organizations’ best and most senior talent, leaving TA teams to fill those vacancies. Many organizations report experiencing challenges with both attrition and attraction:

Making the Case for Flexible Work

Recent Veris Insights’ research reveals that remote work options are among the five most important benefits for candidates. Job seekers are at least 36% more likely to accept offers for hybrid or remote roles compared to strictly in-person roles. In some organizations, TA leaders may have the opportunity to advocate for more flexible work arrangements. Here’s how they can make a compelling case:

      • • Highlight Productivity and Performance: Emphasize data showing that remote work has maintained or improved productivity.
      • • Focus on Talent Retention: Demonstrate how flexible work policies can help retain top talent, reducing turnover and associated costs.
      • • Promote Inclusivity and Diversity: Argue that flexible work supports inclusivity and diversity efforts, accommodating employees with disabilities or caregiving responsibilities.
      • • Cost Savings: Showcase the potential cost savings from reduced office space requirements and other operational expenses associated with a flexible work model.

 

When Stuck with Strict RTO Policies: Making Lemonade out of Lemons

In many cases, TA leaders may find themselves unable to influence RTO policy directly. Here’s how to navigate this situation effectively:

      • • Leverage Incentives: Make the office environment more appealing. Offer perks such as happy hours, catered meals, upgraded office spaces, raises, and childcare benefits.
      • • Enhance Employee Experience: Focus on creating a positive in-office experience conducive to productivity and well-being. This could include ergonomic workspaces, wellness programs, and social events.
      • • Transparent Communication: Communicate the benefits and reasons behind RTO policies clearly and transparently. Help employees understand how these policies align with the company’s goals and their personal career growth.

 

The landscape of RTO mandates requires TA leaders to adapt quickly and thoughtfully. By leveraging data to advocate for flexible work arrangements, enhancing the in-office experience, and maintaining transparent communication, TA teams can successfully navigate these changes. Balancing the company’s objectives with employees’ needs will be crucial in retaining and attracting top talent.

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