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Attract and Retain Talent in Strong Job Markets

April 17, 2019 | Tools & Tips

With a thriving economy and record low levels of unemployment, finding and retaining top talent has rarely been more challenging. In fact, employee confidence in the labor market is so high that The Wall Street Journal notes, “Workers are choosing to leave their jobs at the fastest rate since the internet boom 17 years ago and getting rewarded for it with bigger paychecks and/or more satisfying work.”

With competition for top talent at its peak, now is a good time to assess your hiring capabilities and retention strategies to make sure you can attract qualified job seekers and keep the people you’ve invested in around for the long term.

Five Ways to Improve Your Hiring Potential

  1. Do Your Research: Staffing and recruiting firms often provide salary guides by job title and geography to help employers ensure they are offering competitive compensation. These guides are usually available for free in print or online. You can also talk to a benefits broker to get a sense for what other companies are offering in terms of healthcare, 401(k) match, paid time off, and other benefits.
  2. Create a Careers Page: Keep an up-to-date careers page with current job openings, an overview of the benefits of working at your company, and highlights from employee testimonials. Today’s younger employees want to know about their workplace environment. Incorporating independent reviews from third-party sites like Glassdoor is also a terrific way to credibly convey your culture to job candidates.
  3. Use Feedback to Grow: Use sites like Great Place to Work, Vault, and The Job Crowd to find out what past employees think about your company. Use their feedback to grow and improve, and then share their positive reviews on your website and social media channels.
  4. Address the Issues: Don’t be afraid to address your company’s pain points or opportunities for improvement during interviews. If a candidate asks a direct question, give them an honest answer. People want to know that they work for a transparent company that is willing to confront its challenges head-on. But, honesty doesn’t just apply to your weaknesses; share your company wins, too!
  5. Leverage the Press: Highlight key victories and milestones, and celebrate them publicly. You can do this through social media platforms or press releases. When job seekers search online and find content that reinforces the quality and culture of your firm, they may be more likely to join.

Here are Five Ways to Retain Current Employees

  1. Invest in Personal Development: Russ Jundt from Conserva Irrigation writes the following about the importance of creating a nurturing workplace: “We needed to be intentional about creating an environment in which they would want to call home — a comfortable lily pad.” For Russ and many others, investing in employees (even though they may not stay long) isn’t a waste of money, but rather a critical component of improving performance and boosting retention. Looking for ways to further your employee’s personal and professional development will go a long way toward keeping them satisfied at your company.
  2. Communicate and Give Feedback: Connect with your people. Don’t let them feel like they can only talk to you during annual reviews. A culture that fosters open communication, embraces creativity, and provides real-time feedback will help keep employees happy and productive.
  3. Give Praise: People want to feel proud, challenged, and connected to a higher purpose through their work. Take time to connect your team’s day-to-day tasks with the larger mission of your company by holding town halls, celebrating small wins, and acknowledging people publicly. Dan Ariely, a social scientist and New York Times bestselling author discovered that “When we are acknowledged for our work, we are willing to work harder for less pay, and when we are not acknowledged, we lose much of our motivation.”
  4. Perform Random Acts of Kindness: Something as simple as bringing in free bagels can boost morale and let your employees know that you care about them. Look for ways to celebrate the everyday so that they feel excited and refreshed about their work.
  5. Provide Training: A recent survey by IBM Smarter Workforce notes that 84% of employees in Best Performing Organizations are receiving the training they need compared with only16% in the worst performing companies. Find ways to make training engaging and to equip your employees to produce better outcomes. You can do this by hosting speakers and seminars, providing stipends for college courses, or sending staff to industry events and conferences. Use a coaching culture to attract millennials (and with more than 1 in 3 in the workforce right now, we need to adjust our training modules to interest them).

What if an Employee Leaves Anyway?

Even with competitive salaries and benefits, some of your employees will still decide to leave for new opportunities. When they do, make sure to do an exit interview so you can learn what they are looking for in a job and use that learning to build a stronger culture within your organization.

A Great Place to Work is Always a Great Place to Work

While it is more difficult to hire and retain employees when the economy is strong and jobs are plentiful, you’ll always be able to land top talent if your workplace provides opportunities for team members to grow and learn, to feel valued and cared for, and to find meaning in their work. By developing intentional strategies to show current and prospective employees that your company cares about its people, you’ll be an employer of choice in any market.