With employees having more job opportunities to choose from, 91% of human resources (HR) leaders are increasingly concerned about employee turnover in the coming months.

This is according to a survey of 572 HR leaders in July 2021 by Gartner, while a Gartner survey of 1 609 candidates between May and June 2021 found that nearly half of today’s applicants are considering at least two job offers simultaneously.

“As the economy continues to recover from the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations are facing a very different — and extremely competitive — job market than years past,” says Jamie Kohn, research director in the Gartner HR practice. “While many are experiencing a record number of open roles, companies are also trying to mitigate pent-up employee turnover.”

To gain competitive advantage in today’s war on talent, Gartner recommends the following:

Align flexibility to employee and work needs

To remain competitive, employers should consider the different forms of flexibility – daily work hours, work location or the length of the workweek – they can offer to retain and attract top talent.

“Flexibility is no longer a perk to offer employees, it is now the expectation,” says Kohn. “Organisations that provide employees with greater choice will win the war for talent.”

HR should help business leaders determine flexibility options based on the specific context of their work. Gartner research shows that performance improves when employees are given flexibility over where, when and how much they work.

Help employees think broadly about career opportunities

To expand employees’ growth opportunities, HR leaders must help managers conceptualise the potential career paths of their direct reports generally – not just specific next steps.

This approach allows leaders to go beyond their employees’ current skill sets and help guide them based on personal interests, business growth opportunities and experiences.

Managers should also encourage direct reports to have career conversations with neutral mentors and coaches who can help them think creatively about the development opportunities available to them within their organisation and how to approach them.

Hire for potential – not just experience

In a competitive labour market, organisations must stop thinking about replacing specific employees and instead consider what skills the larger organisation needs to succeed in the future.

To start, HR leaders must identify long-term talent gaps at the organizational level and partner with business leaders to acquire the needed critical skills. This includes finding skills outside traditional career paths, both inside and outside the organisation.

“Organisations often overlook the potential within their own organisation,” says Kohn. “Improving internal mobility can help employers find employees with adjacent skills, boost diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and tap into non-traditional talent pools that are outside customary recruiting hot spots.”