Three approaches to attract and retain top talent during challenging times.
By Jasmyn Farris
The pace of hiring in the United States continues to surprise economists who anticipated a slowdown in the face of the current economic uncertainty. Even when layoffs in industries like tech make headlines, according to the Conference Board these workers are quickly rehired in sectors that are still clamoring for talent. While employees might be more hesitant to quit their jobs in search of other opportunities than they were a year ago, it’s still a tight and competitive labor market. This makes it important for employers to cultivate an environment that attracts top talent, encourages engagement or connection, and promotes excellence.
Company Culture is a Powerful Recruitment Tool
Companies that foster a culture of support, awareness, and sensitivity toward their employees, and celebrate their diversity through inclusionary practices, send a clear message to potential recruits that they provide a welcoming environment where everyone can thrive. Companies that leverage these differences can also contribute to building a strong and more cohesive workforce.
Communicating this inclusion message starts early in the recruitment process with intentional language in the job posting. Talent acquisition teams and hiring managers should collaborate to craft compelling descriptions with market-tested titles and DEIB-forward language. There should also be cohesion between interview panel members when it comes to job posting strategy, timing, interview questions, market pricing, and candidate evaluation to ensure transparency throughout the recruitment process.
Transparency goes a long way in building a company culture that prospective and current employees find attractive. Market-informed and transparent total compensation packages and customized job offers enable companies to truly put the individual first, resulting in a human-centered approach that elevates a company’s value proposition.
Talent acquisition teams and hiring managers should collaborate to craft compelling job descriptions with market-tested titles and DEIB-forward language. There also should be cohesion between interview panel members when it comes to job posting strategy, timing, interview questions, market pricing, and candidate evaluation to ensure transparency throughout the recruitment process.
Engagement and Connection in a Changed Workforce
Though COVID-19 forced many companies to switch to remote workplaces, a new challenge has emerged post-pandemic. While some companies have chosen to stay fully remote, many are calling their employees back into the office full-time, or offering them a hybrid option, which can result in confusion and some tension. First and foremost, employers need to alleviate this tension by developing a firm policy and sticking to it. Though this might rankle some, a clear path forward will help realign some of the workplace cultures that COVID-19 displaced.
No matter the office situation, however, employers and HR professionals must find ways to consistently foster connection across the workforce by investing in live interactions—like company-wide meetings and team-building activities. That starts by challenging assumptions and communicating with employees to understand their perspectives and needs through action-oriented feedback loops, including culture roundtables, pulse surveys, employee engagement surveys, and stay interviews. It’s important to allow for both real-time and asynchronous feedback collection. Live feedback allows for nuance that isn’t captured when employees have more time to reflect individually, while asynchronous feedback may be the only viable option for remote workers.
By engaging directly with teams, analyzing their feedback, and focusing on solving the issues at hand rather than assumed ones, HR and management can address the diverse needs and preferences of employees effectively, and create a more inclusive workplace environment where each employee feels valued for who they are and what they bring to the table.
Excellence Across the Board
Employers hope and expect excellence from their employees. That’s why it’s vital to provide them with unique benefits that encourage them to be and do their best. In many cases, a competitive salary alone is not enough of a motivator. A total rewards package that goes beyond standard health and dental—think travel, fitness, and lifestyle benefits, as well as short-term incentive awards and home office support—can be a critical differentiator in a competitive job market.
Employees expect excellence from their employers. Investing in operational excellence is the most straightforward path to becoming an employer of choice. This means using clear and transparent data to inform growth; creating effective hiring and retention strategies; and implementing processes that allow decision-makers to make timely, informed, and confident decisions about the key issues that impact employees and their work. Providing opportunities for workers who excel to participate in the strategic planning process can also pay dividends as both a reward and recognition tool, and a source for new ideas in the leadership ranks. Ultimately, a workplace with strong operational processes creates a sense of strong leadership, which potential recruits and current employees will gravitate toward.
Hiring and retaining the right workers will always be a challenge regardless of what’s happening in the world. The current economy and job market adds another layer of complexity that HR professionals and managers must contend with. Building a corporate culture of inclusion, transparent communication, and operational excellence all contribute to crafting an employee’s sense of value. And enabling them to be active stakeholders in the company’s future, leveraging their expertise to problem-solve, and supporting their ideas creates a true sense of belonging integral to any retention strategy.
Jasmyn Farris is the chief people operations officer for iSeatz .