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Its OK to be Wrong: Bad Policies Drive Away Talent


Hiring is a dynamic process. Negotiations, budgets, career goals- they are all moving parts that change the outcome every single time you bring on a new employee. Everything from market conditions to global pandemics affects how we approach finding, on-boarding and retaining top talent.

Most recently, companies have made a push for hybrid & back-to-office plans for new or existing employees. Arguments for these arrangements range from unused office space to restoring company culture, perceived remote inefficiency to pressure from local governments.  Yet, no matter the argument, it impacts how you gain and retain talent. Some companies will be successful at bringing employees back into the office on a regular or hybrid schedule. Some will manage to get out of oversized leases, paving the way for remote work.  And some companies will just get it wrong.

If your talent is bailing and you can’t seem to replace them, it’s time to look beyond the actual hiring process and evaluate what is driving talent away.  It’s OK to be wrong. It’s OK to reevaluate policies. It’s OK to say that something didn’t work.  But it’s not OK to continually ignore bad policies for no other reason than that’s the way it is.

Recently, the Talener team decided to create a hybrid policy for employees local to their home-office. The idea was to create a collaborative environment where the teams could interact, bounce ideas off each other, use the office space, and ultimately be more productive in a cohesive team.  For three months, the teams came together twice a week.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the right fit for the current team or the current conditions.  Most team members were staffing veterans who successfully rode out much of the pandemic remotely.  The hybrid schedule didn’t increase productivity or sales numbers.  Yet, it did create new commutes, upset schedules, and ultimately some anxiety about making it all work again; the way we used to do it.

We had disrupted their process and their schedules. Through feedback from the teams, we understood that this wasn’t the right option right now.  This was not an attempt on their part to return to a remote-first structure. This was genuine feedback from people who have had their lives upended over the last few years, found balance in the chaos, and then we asked them to restructure their lives all over again without any real evidence that the hybrid schedule was more effective.

It didn’t work. It’s OK. We listened to our talent, we evaluated the benefits and drawbacks to this new hybrid schedule. We considered the current makeup of our team. And, we weighed how this new environment would impact our retention and hiring goals.

Talent is the core of every organization. Creating arbitrary policies that don’t fit your hiring goals limits your opportunities. It alienates staff who demonstrate successful work product time and time again. It makes your company less attractive to new hires when you can’t clearly demonstrate the need for, or the success of these policies.

Unemployment for technical talent is steady at 1.8%.  This pool of future and current technical employees is slim. They hold the cards when it comes to building and attaining their career goals.

Take feedback from your managers and employees seriously. Analyze actual success in lieu of perceived benefits. It’s OK to evolve, reassess and shelve policies that will keep your organization from meeting its mission-critical goals because of a talent gap.

View our recent case studies and gain an even greater perspective.