Shika Bhatnagar

Are You Offering Thali or Buffet? Aligning the Talent Expectations Gap | Shika Bhatnagar | HR Director -HR | Noventiq

Shika BhatnagarThe modern workplace is undergoing rapid transformation, leading to a significant shift in the expectations of both employees and employers. This evolving landscape has given rise to a growing ‘Talent Expectations Gap,’ which reflects the disparity between what employees desire from their jobs and what employers are providing. This gap can be likened to the difference between a Thali and a Buffet – both offer a variety of choices, but the flexibility and selection vary considerably.

The Growing Talent Gap

The widening talent gap is driven by several factors reshaping workplace dynamics. Today’s employees seek more than just competitive salaries and job flexibility; they desire meaningful work, career development opportunities, a healthy work-life balance, and a workplace culture that aligns with their personal values. A survey research by Deloitte with UK professionals highlights that 80% of employees consider workplace culture and engagement critical to their satisfaction. We are seeing this in companies all around the world, including India. Employees want to feel there are part of something, they want to relate and to have a connection with people they work with and with the values and mission of the organization they are part of.

Conversely, employers face numerous challenges in a fast-paced business environment. They require employees who can quickly adapt, possess the right skills, and contribute effectively to the company’s objectives. Balancing these needs while meeting employees’ expectations is a complex task.

The ‘Expectation Gap’ affects every aspect of the modern workplace, underscoring the importance of aligning expectations to foster a productive and cohesive work culture. Unmet employee expectations can lead to dissatisfaction, low morale, and high turnover rates. Conversely, when employers’ expectations are unmet, it can result in decreased productivity, poor performance, and a negative impact on the bottom line. According to Gallup, “when combined with actively disengaged employees, low engagement costs the global economy $8.”8 trillion dollars, or 9% of global GDP.”

Bridging the Gap: Key Strategies

To bridge this gap, organizations must adopt adaptable and open-minded people strategies:
• Flexibility: Flexibility is an implicit expectation for modern employees. Creating a stable culture within a flexible system is challenging but essential.
• Developing a Personal Brand: Empowering employees to build their personal brand within certain guidelines enhances their career opportunities and strengthens the company’s reputation.
• Inclusion: Diversity involves numbers, but inclusion impacts how people feel. It starts with ensuring that all voices are heard in meetings and decision-making processes.
• Empathy: Fostering a culture of well-being and understanding through caring leadership, regular feedback, and supportive policies is crucial.
• Dealing with Bias and Ageism: Balancing enthusiasm and expertise is essential. Organizations must value both youth and experience, avoiding undue emphasis on either.
• Equal Pay for Equal Work: With approximately 200 million women in the Indian workforce and 20.7 million pursuing higher education, achieving pay equity is imperative. Companies must ensure equal pay for equal work with the same qualifications and skills.
• Competency: Balancing loyalty and capability is vital. In the long run, organizations with higher capability levels are more likely to succeed.

In my opinion, narrowing the talent expectations gap requires a deep understanding of evolving workplace trends and a commitment to creating a work culture where both employers and employees feel respected and satisfied. By addressing this gap, organizations can foster a productive and dedicated workforce, ultimately enhancing their overall performance and success.