Recently Enterprise Care presented at a webinar on the Great Resignation topic and governance issues more broadly.

While acknowledging that this Great Resignation phenomenon is real and present overseas, it seems yet to have a real presence in Australia . Whether it emerges with greater force or not is a difficult prediction.

What the Great Resignation issue does do, however, is to encourage the attention of leaders to be more focused on people. Of course our focus ought to be always on our people but it is a good reminder that people are the key to all healthy organisations.

Not surprisingly, given the uncertainty cloaking people’s intention surrounding their present employers, that an issue involving talent within organisations has been identified as top of mind at the PwC 2022 Corporate Directors Exchange.

On an annual basis, PwC’s Governance Insights Center brings together public company board members and key business leaders to discuss critical corporate governance at the Corporate Directors Exchange.

PwC reported that “One of our key takeaways from this year’s event is that human capital and talent management issues are top priorities for many boards.”

The report noted that talent management was nominated by 44% of directors as the top risk. To put this in context, cybersecurity was second at 30%. So, it is clear that a shortage of skilled workers and the need to upskill employees is the prominent risk to be addressed by boards and senior leadership groups.

The big picture is Your Present and Future Workforce Needs

While a focus on the more narrow issue of the Great Resignation may be tempting, often issues are more complex than wrapping it up in a simple notion of a resignation itself.

The challenge is to understand whether one action can be linked to a single reason for a problem’s emergence or existence. The factors sitting behind the rise in employees searching for new roles, for greater flexibility and for an employer who cares is important to better understand. For until this is better understood then our ability to manage our people will be the poorer.

Regardless of the presence or otherwise of the Great Resignation, every organisations’ leadership needs to be across the present and future workforce needs within their operations.

The further question is what the boards are doing about having a clear understanding of their own company’s workforce capability specially to ensure the successful execution of its strategy. If it is accepted that talent management is more critical than ever, then many Boards need to strengthen their oversight.

Questions that Boards and Directors should ask

Some of the critical aspects that Boards and Directors need to be across include:

  1. Is our organisation as a whole, in need of any internal talent changes in order to continue to support the strategic goals?
  2. What is our organisation’s leadership strengths?
  3. What are the most critical/sensitive positions in our organisation
  4. How were these critical/sensitive positions identified?
  5. What is our current leadership development program?
  6. What are our future – short and long term – leadership needs?
  7. What is our present workforce plan?
  8. What is our present plan to retain and reward our staff?
  9. Is our present compensation program appropriate to attract and retain key staff?
  10. Do we have clear line of sight and regular informative reporting of our talent management program?

Takeaway Points

In summary, Boards can have confidence in their governance of talent management issues when:

  • a designated senior staff has responsibility for the organisation’s talent;
  • at least one Board member has experience and knowledge of talent management and its importance to an organisation meeting its strategic goals;
  • talent management is captured in strategy discussions and any new initiative includes consideration of talent; and
  • the Board monitors clear talent management metrics across an annual program.

In our experience, too often governance failures occur when Boards fail to put in place proper oversight indicators and then ensure that they are tracking over a set period, generally annually.

Interested in finding out more about how we can assist your organisation to monitor these critical indicators? Contact us at info@enterprisecare.com.au for a personalised proposal