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Talent Management In A Hybrid World

One of the biggest issues that HR departments have faced is the ability to attract and retain emotionally intelligent, skilled people. The type of employees that can not only deliver great service and results but who also contribute positively to the evolving culture. Hybrid working has shifted how talent is recruited, forever.

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According to Microsoft, only 15% of organisations had policies that encouraged flexibility of workforce pre-pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, that percentage has quintupled to 76% as organisations realise that hybrid working is now expected by employees. The days of full-time, office-based work are now a thing of the past and talented people can now market themselves on a global job board. In the face of this, organisations will have to work harder than they have ever done before, to manage and keep hold of them.

Employees are on the look out for opportunities to move and take advantage of these new conditions right now. According to one report a quarter of people will be looking for a new job post-pandemic, whilst almost half will look to leave their current employer if they don’t offer a hybrid working approach.

And into this equation will come forward thinking organisations who have realised that they have an opportunity to build a hybrid working culture and approach that becomes a competitive advantage, attractive to skilled people from around the world. Sydney-based technology organisation Atlassian is one such example.

Prior to 2020 Atlassian had relied heavily on being able to employ highly skilled people from around the world and help them to relocate in Australia. The pandemic (and Australia’s immigration rules) meant that they had to rethink their approach.

In 2021 they implemented a ‘Team Anywhere’ approach', to transition to a fully distributed workforce. This approach contains three elements:

  • Work Flexibly: Working with managers and teammates to determine where and how work needs to get done and establishing the routines and habits to ensure that it does
  • Re-imagine Teamwork:  Rethinking how teams interact and the tools use to do so, virtually and in-person (when restrictions allow)
  • Talent Everywhere: Establishing global talent pods to actively search for diverse, talented people to contribute to culture and results

By implementing this approach, not only can Atlassian tap into a richer pool of talent, but it is also improving the productivity and effectiveness of its teams by providing them with the opportunity to choose how, when and where to do their work.

Atlassian is just one example and there’ll be many others too, so HR Managers cannot afford to be complacent. They will need to lift their talent management game, ensuring that they have an approach that is attractive to potential candidates, technology that supports collaboration and a culture worth belonging to.

What to consider to ensure talented people are retained

  • Culture development

    Culture is, and always will be, the number one determinant for team and organisational success. HR managers should ensure that culture redefinition work is planned for 2021 and beyond, because ‘the ways we do things around he’ has changed significantly in the last 12 months.

  • Hybrid Working Policy

    Many senior managers are playing a waiting game rather than acting proactively in implementing a hybrid working approach. Talented people aren’t going to wait around to see what happens, decisions need to be made and communicated clearly.

  • Onboarding

    Having taken the time to hire people and assuming that a return to the office isn’t imminent, HR managers need to take an innovative approach to onboarding to ensure that experiences for new staff not only meet expectations, but exceed them and set them up for success.

  • Technology 

    It’s not enough to have implemented Microsoft Teams and changed your background to a virtual one. Consideration must be given to investing in tools that can contribute to collaboration and training programs to show staff how to use them productively.

  • Support for home costs 

    The average cost for setting up a home workspace is $660 and this is necessary to ensure that a productive working environment exists and staff adhere to health and wellbeing policies. HR Managers need to decide how much support is given to staff to be able to do this.


The expectations of employees has changed significantly since the beginning of the pandemic and HR Managers need to respond swiftly to ensure that they retain the very people they need to be successful now and throughout future crises.

Author Credits

Colin D Ellis is best-selling author of 'The Hybrid Handbook: How to Set Yourself Up for the Future of Work' and helps organisations around the world to transform their working cultures. You can find out more about the work that he does at www.colindellis.com.

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