At a glance:
- The Great Re-Evaluation has redefined what employees are looking for in their role, and from their employers.
- The mining sector faces several unique talent attraction and retention challenges in the Great Re-Evaluation.
- To attract and retain talent mining organisations must prioritise and deliver on their employee value proposition.
There has been considerable discussion about the Great Resignation (also touted as the Great Reshuffle), which saw large numbers of employees throw caution to the wind and walk away from their jobs. Less seems to have been said about an equally significant cultural shift – The Great Re-Evaluation – that’s still unfolding in workforces worldwide.
The Great Re-Evaluation echoes growing desire from employees to be thoughtful and intentional around:
- The types of organisations they choose to work for;
- The organisational culture they want to be part of;
- What they really want from the organisations that employ them; and
- Prioritising jobs that offer preferred work locations and arrangements.
“All of these changes reflect the fact that employees are in the driving seat,” says Ivan Zuvela, a Partner for Gerard Daniels in Asia Pacific. “Both the Great Resignation and the Great Re-Evaluation have encouraged employers to examine their culture, and to look more critically at how they attract, retain, develop, support and remunerate the talent they need to take their organisation forward through all of this change.”
Navigating these changes can seem daunting, particularly for industries like mining where businesses already face talent shortages, geopolitical drivers and many other challenges. Here Ivan shares insight into how mining organisations can address the challenges that the Great Re-Evaluation brings.
The growing influence of ESG
As part of The Great Re-Evaluation, people have become even more focused on building purposeful careers in organisations that value their people and honour their ESG commitments. Employees are also increasingly turning to roles that allow them to make a difference, to give back and to progress the energy transition.
“We’re seeing mining sector talent choose organisations that provide opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers in environments that promote ESG, and where there is a genuine commitment to physical and psychological safety and wellbeing,” says Ivan. “Employees are also looking for a sense of belonging in their workplace that’s underpinned by a genuine culture of empathy, diversity and inclusion – a shift that encourages mining organisations to prioritise and deliver on their employee value proposition.”
Giving back to attract: the great branding challenge
A significant people challenge sits alongside this sector’s growing focus on ESG and sustainable mining, and its need to overhaul the brand and perception of the mining sector.
“To attract talent, mining must grow its brand and reputation as a modern, technologically-advanced and sustainable industry, focused on producing raw materials to decarbonise the planet, as well as decarbonising its own operations and future projects,” says Ivan. “Businesses must also enhance the diversity of their talent to address these issues, and to futureproof the mining sector workforce.”
Talent retention through technology
In addition to branding and ESG drivers, technology will continue to shape and challenge the mining industry and its workforce. “Growing automation and the transition to hybrid and remote working environments have already positively impacted some mining business operations,” says Ivan. “To continue attracting top talent, mining companies must provide opportunities for people to work flexibly, and in technologically-advanced environments.”
“Having fully-autonomous operations and almost all human operators working remotely would increase workforce safety, efficiency and productivity,” he continues. “This shift would also reduce the need for people to relocate to remote mine sites, and support the development of more centralised, lifestyle-friendly (and potentially family-friendly) mining workforce hubs, for better work-life balance.”
Using performance metrics to grow and retain talent
Growing employee exhaustion and burnout was one of many factors that led to the Great Resignation, with employees feeling pressure to always be ‘on’ and ‘responsive’, and to maintain the appearance of productivity. Mitigating this issue will be critical to attracting and retaining future mining sector talent.
“The introduction of hybrid work models has helped to reduce turnover and improve productivity, and to redefine what organisation value from their employee contributions,” says Ivan. “Organisations must also redesign performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to align with these new ways of working, with greater emphasis on work impact rather than the time spent working.”
Investing in skills and talent development
Developing and advancing talent is another major retention factor. To attract and retain a new breed of talent, businesses must engage early in the recruitment journey and consider how to:
- Clearly define any potential career paths and progression opportunities.
- Help employees to move frequently across geographies and functions, as other heavy industries seem to do so well.
- Use cross-industry groups and mentoring programmes to share best practice and uncover development opportunities and professional development paths.
- Focus on increasingly important executive traits and transformational skills, like adaptability; innovation; change management; compassionate leadership styles; and stakeholder management.
Restructuring remuneration strategies and roles
Challenging economic conditions, growing inflation and the rising cost of living have put additional pressure on the already difficult task of attracting and retaining mining sector talent. These issues have also brought executive pay into focus, and highlighted the need to review wider remunerations strategies.
“To remain competitive mining companies must reimagine their benefits packages and adopt practices proven to increase retention and maintain morale,” says Ivan.
“This might mean increasing the benefits that enhance employee wellness and productivity, like comprehensive medical insurance, health and fitness reimbursements, free mental health counselling sessions, expanded paid time off and flexible work arrangements,” Ivan continues. “While some of these benefits have greater short-term costs, retaining top tier talent will deliver a long-term return on that investment.”
To discuss your talent attraction, retention and remuneration strategies, connect with Ivan or reach out to your local Gerard Daniels team.