Claudia Montgomery, managing director, PwC

Overcoming talent shortages

Use a human-centered approach to design a connected employee experience.

April 25, 2022

Credit unions are not alone in struggles to fill staff vacancies in the wake of the Great Resignation and the coronavirus pandemic, when more people evaluated their lives and priorities.

Sixty-five percent of the workforce was actively job searching in December 2021, according to PwC’s latest Pulse Survey. This doesn’t include those who aren’t actively seeking new employment but are open to opportunities that arise. 

“It all comes down to people,” says Claudia Montgomery, PwC’s managing director, workforce transformation. “When you don’t have people it’s hard to do business.” 

Montgomery addressed the 2022 CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference Monday in Orlando. 

The balance of power in employee-employer relationships has shifted, Montgomery says. In response, human resource (HR) leaders need to establish trust and purpose, develop and reward employees, and offer choice and personalization. 

Employees want five things from their employers: 

1. Flexibility. While employees want flexibility in where and when they work, not all job roles are conducive to flexibility. Employers must determine how to offer some flexibility to all employees, Montgomery says. 

2. Personalized rewards. With four generations in the workforce, employers can’t provide a one-size-fits-all benefits package. Understand the needs of each generation and what rewards will benefit them. 

3. Learning and upskilling. Invest in learning and development programs and provide the time to allow employees to take advantage of those opportunities. “Employees expect to learn the skills they need for today, but you must also invest in the skills they’ll need for tomorrow,” Montgomery says. 

4. A diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. Collect data, conduct an analysis, and address questions individuals have on topics such as workforce diversity and pay equity. Explain the organization’s commitment to evolving and becoming an inclusive work environment. 

5. A distinct and attractive culture. People want to be able to tie their day-to-day jobs to the organization’s purpose and meaning, Montgomery says. This is especially true with younger generations. 

Use a human-centered approach to create a connected employee experience and to understand what employees want and need. Having balance and consistency within your ecosystem fosters trust, which is essential for creativity and innovation, Montgomery says. 

“Trust is something businesses have on their side right now,” she says. “The way they took care of employees during the pandemic helped cultivate that trust.” 

HR leaders can cultivate trust and attract employees by being: 

  • Experience champions. A robust employee experience is the best defense against the Great Resignation. What experience are you trying to create? What does it feel like to be an employee? 
  • Digital leaders. Use data to create an informed people strategy based on fact. Make sure HR staff have the skills needed to support the data strategy and technology that provides consumer-grade experiences. * Decision partners. Be agile and able to move quickly to adjust to changing needs. Gather institutional knowledge. 
  • Decision partners. Be agile and able to move quickly to adjust to changing needs. Gather institutional knowledge. 
  • Capability builders. Create opportunities and time for employees to learn and develop skills along with mobility across the organization. Also, cultivate strategic workforce planning. 

“We have to think differently about skills and capabilities,” Montgomery says. “We have to help the business identify talent from new sources.”