How can businesses find and keep great talent?

In our last issue of The Pulse, we talked about the consequences of the declining rate of students enrolling in post-secondary studies. One of the impacts was that employers will continue to struggle to find qualified applicants to fill open positions. That means employee retention is more important now than ever. Business owners and managers would be wise to focus on giving their talent a reason to stay long term, where possible.  

In this issue of the Pulse, we look at what employees want, what some managers might be getting wrong, and how to foster a workplace culture that promotes longevity.  

It’s harder than ever to recruit qualified talent.  

You’ve probably heard that statement a lot lately, and there is some truth behind it. Following what has been dubbed the Great Resignation last year, a lot of jobs are open, and business owners are desperate to fill them. However, that’s not because talented job seekers don’t exist.  

According to Slate, many job seekers are unhappy with company policies, and many workers can accurately identify why recruitment is unsuccessful. In fact, it’s oftentimes the same policies that drive employees to leave.  

Let’s take a look.  

The price isn’t right? 

Slate found that businesses looking for new talent aren’t doing enough to make themselves competitive. In fact, they’re often asking for too much experience for entry-level jobs while “still operating on a model of underpaying and overworking at a time when workers have much better options.”  

Likewise, many of the employers aren’t changing their compensation policies to better match today’s realities. Examples workers gave to Slate include: 

  • Inadequate salaries to cover the cost of working in-person in expensive cities.  
  • Limited personal days with no room for negotiation.  
  • No COVID-related sick-time.  
  • Unreasonable experience expectations.  
  • Positions that are too demanding.  
  • Extremely slow hiring processes that can take weeks if not a month.  

No matter what your personal perspective on these issues is, this is the point of view of many workers in today’s world. And with a shortage of workers and abundance of jobs, companies are going to need to start meeting those demands if they want to recruit new talent and, more importantly, to hold onto existing employees.  

They key is adapting to the here and now.  

One of the big concerns should be, as an employer, do your employees have better options elsewhere, and could they leave you struggling to fill a role? What can you do to make your business more attractive to job seekers, but also to those you hope will stick around into the foreseeable future?  

Slate’s advice is to ditch the resistance to adapting to new conditions, and meet workers where they’re at, when possible.  

This is in your financial interest, too.  

Putting the extra effort into hiring the right people from the start, as well as keeping them around, is worth making some changes for. 

Research has found turnover costs companies $15,000 USD per worker. Likewise, stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 31% of American workers will leave a new job before the six-month mark.  

So why do employees leave? 

According to Connect Team, some of the common reasons listed in exit interviews and offboarding are: 

  • Low salary 
  • Poor benefits 
  • Lack of room for growth or career advancement 
  • Feeling of being overworked, lacking recognition, lacking challenge or motivation, etc.  
  • Dissatisfaction with management 
  • Poor work-life balance or company culture 
  • Inflexible scheduling and lack of remote options 

What will make them stay? 

If you want to avoid the cost of turnover, here are some strategies you can take: 

  • Begin early with a thorough onboarding process that includes establishing goals for their first week, month, three months, year, and so on. Give every new hire the opportunity to raise questions and concerns in a safe way.  
  • Pair newer hires with seasoned employees to act as a kind of mentor while they adjust to the workplace.  
  • Make sure your employee has all the tools they need to succeed in the role.  
  • Establish a healthy line of communication between newer hires and their managers/supervisors.  
  • Celebrate wins and milestones. 
  • Build a workplace culture that prioritizes professionalism without stress or tension. This includes promoting a healthy work-life balance for all employees, and yourself, and making respect a primary value in the workplace,  
  • Ask for feedback and act on it. 
  • Practice team-building activities or outings. 
  • Offer additional training and professional development opportunities. 
  • Work to earn your employees’ trust and honor it.  
  • Challenge your employees in a positive way that promotes their growth.  
  • Offer flexibility with schedules and hybrid working models, if applicable to your business. This is especially important when research has found, as of 2021, 74% of the U.S. workforce would be willing to quit their job for the opportunity to work from home.  
  • Don’t make sudden changes to your employees’ routine/role – change is good, but not if it’s going to give your employees whiplash.  

At the end of the day, the important thing is to listen to your employees and treat them with the consideration they need to do good work for your business.  

In conclusion… 

The labor market is always in flux. Sometimes there are fewer jobs than seekers, but right now it’s the inverse. Employers will have to make changes and amendments to their set habits and policies in order to attract new workers and encourage them to stay.