The Covid-19 pandemic beginning in 2020 has affected more than this nation’s health. Between supply chain shortages and employee changes in almost every field of work, many companies suffered. A large issue began when people did not want to physically go to their jobs in fear of contracting Covid-19 from contact with others. Some companies accommodated their workers by adjusting their positions to be remote. But, this was not possible in every field of work, and many workers left inflexible jobs for jobs that could make such accommodations. In addition, Covid-19 unemployment benefits were initially so generous that many found not working at all to be more lucrative than actually working.
In the wake of such an employee shuffle, businesses everywhere lost employees to higher-paying, culturally attractive positions. Any company slow to the trend of adopting innovative strategies for retention is hurting. A combination of these factors has resulted in a very difficult era for businesses, in the area of attracting and retaining their employees.
Early in 2022, employers across the country were surveyed about various employee attraction and retention topics, and more than 150 organizations of various sizes and industries responded. Their responses help provide insight into the many trending strategies used to attract and recruit new employees. Predictably, most employers (87%) responded that it has been a least somewhat difficult to attract new talent in today’s labor market. With workers’ desires and priorities having shifted during the pandemic, employers may be required to think outside the box and adjust their talent strategies.
What do workers want?
Workers from the 150 organizations were surveyed, and asked what they were looking for in an employer. These were the results:
Competitive compensation – 83%
Competitive benefits – 58%
Flexible schedules – 40%
Career development opportunities – 30%
Strong company cultures – 24%
What do employers want?
The 150 employers were asked what they were looking for in employees. These were the results:
Reliability – 61%
Experience – 39%
Knowledge – 39%
Technical skills – 37%
Professionalism – 30%
What strategies are employers using to improve employee attraction?
Offering an employee referral program – 45%
Offering additional compensation – 41%
Expanding benefits – 31%
Offering bonuses – 30%
Offering more upskilling and development opportunities – 28%
What Businesses Can Do:
Train and Secure Excellent Leadership
There’s nothing that will drive away employees faster than bad leadership. As a great leader, you should be able to tell who will make a great manager in order to retain your company’s talent. Be intentional and get leadership training. Great leaders are rarely the result of just higher-performing employees being promoted or are by chance strong leaders. While you likely have a few managers operating as strong leaders, most need training on how to engage, inspire and retain employees.
Foster a Culture of Inclusivity
Staff at every level of a company can affect the overall happiness of an employee, and this is where company culture ties in. Making strategic hires of people who won’t negatively impact any other employee’s experience is critical. Everyone should accept a no-tolerance policy for bullying, harassment and discrimination. Isolate non-team players, help them understand the value of respecting co-workers or help them find another role.
Employers must take on more responsibility for employees’ mental well-being. A major factor causing attrition is burnout. Some strategies to remedy this include providing flexible work hours and locations, encouraging PTO use for a strong work-life balance, and creating more employee training and development opportunities.
Focus on Diversity
Interest and value of diversity has increased monumentally in recent years. At the bare minimum, companies must have a concerted diversity effort. Does your executive leadership team represent the rest of your workforce? Has there been a strategic effort to bring diversified talent to your organization? What kind of training and certifications are being added to onboarding or continuous learning curriculum? What is your organization’s public stance on diversity? Are you celebrating this on your website, social media and job applications?
Being intentional about diversity is critical for attraction and retention goals. These efforts should include employees, partners, leadership and even community events.
Provide Opportunities For Growth
Good employees won’t stay if they don’t see any future in advancement, whether in career opportunities or salary growth. In today’s competitive market, talent can move horizontally to the same role in another company and get a significant increase in salary. Remember how much power the talent of today has. Companies need to do whatever it takes to keep their people happy if they want them to stay. Consider retention or project-based bonuses to reduce attrition. It can take up to double an employee’s salary to find their replacement, so it is in the best interest for everyone to make sure your talent stays where they are.
Retaining Quality Values, Community, and Purpose
Today’s talent pool takes corporate values seriously. Having a shared purpose across the organization makes it much harder for employees to want to leave, as a larger driving goal adds a job incentive besides strictly money-making. Fundraisers and volunteer work are examples of ways to incorporate a feel-good incentive for employee retention.
New Out-Of-The-Box Thinking
While the above strategies may help with talent attraction and retention, they only work if applied on a consistent basis. Here are a few bonus tactics on how to get the most from your recruiting and retaining efforts:
• Be open and engage with past employees. Employees may realize a new gig is not all they hoped it would be. This provides a unique opportunity to welcome them back. It’s important to continue a positive experience with an employee even during the offboarding process. You never know who may consider coming back or refer their friends.
• Encourage referrals: Do you pay referral fees to existing team members? While we do not hesitate in paying, often, 25% of a new hire’s salary for a placement service, we balk at referral fees exceeding $1,000.
• Be easy to find: How big is your social media network? While growing your social media presence is critical in today’s virtual world, most do a poor job of leveraging social platforms for talent attraction. At my company, we routinely use social media to post jobs, share insights about our culture and make it easy to apply for positions in our career portal.
How BRG Can Help
PEOs have proven to be trustworthy partners to help make critical decisions and allow businesses to maintain and thrive. While unavoidable setbacks such as the Covid-19 pandemic continue to present new and ongoing challenges, a quality certified PEO such as BRG Advisory Group can help your business through uncertainty by recommending ways to attract and retain employees, and prepare your business for what’s ahead. Call us today at 800-971-3006 or fill out our online form to find out how BRG Advisory Group can help your business thrive!