Solving the Great Resignation with a Return to Basics - Part 1
Starting in 2021, a new phenomenon swept over the U.S. labor market known colloquially as the Great Resignation. Due to the pandemic, the market created favorable conditions for workers to quit their jobs at near-record levels in search of better opportunities. Recruiting and retaining skilled talent has always been challenging for companies, but it has never quite been as strong a challenge as it is now during the Great Resignation. In a recent poll among Cartus clients, 71% shared that they experienced some turnover or resignations within the last two years. In a recent Bloomberg poll, 38 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in the last year!
COVID-19 caused giant priority shifts in the labor market that still affect organizations today. The U.S. job market is currently in what is called “hot for workers”, meaning they are seeking better opportunities amid the high demand for labor, with a greater work-life balance, bigger paychecks, and an overall focus on holistic wellbeing. Many jobseekers today have greater access to new labor markets and wider work options. They have greater power to choose how, when, and where they work, and who they work for. Conversely, companies are aggressively competing to attract talent and are having to make concessions to the labor force.
Opportunity to Widen Talent Pool
While this paradigm shift has led to a very competitive landscape, there is a silver lining for employers. The fact that more jobs can be done remotely gives them a wider talent pool to draw from. Many employers are no longer bound by having to recruit from where their “bricks and mortar” offices are located, meaning they can find talent in other cities or even other countries. Whether or not employees can consider widening their talent pools with remote candidates, employers must be more competitive, flexible, and responsive to the needs of workers to fight against the great resignation.
It’s important to remember that a competitive employer focuses on more than just compensation when attracting candidates. Multiple studies over the years have demonstrated that the maintenance, or “hygiene” factors of employment such as salary or benefits don’t play a large role in employee motivation, unlike factors such as challenging and meaningful work, recognition for a job well done, security, and a friendly, engaging work environment.
These motivating factors can be demonstrated to candidates during the application process. Companies have a great opportunity to demonstrate their values by treating applicants as valued and wanted at the onset of the process, even if they aren’t the right fit for the role. One sure way to show this is by reducing the hiring process time and making it more efficient and transparent. Just like how you treat prospective clients, prospective candidates should always be treated with respect. Their time is valuable and top applicants will simply drop out if the process is daunting and long, or little information is provided about the company’s culture, salary expectations, and personal growth.
Employer Branding is Key
Human resource professionals should also pay close attention to the organization’s brand, as we have found that employer branding is more important than ever. Companies that are perceived as more flexible, have an attractive dedication to work/life balance, and are employee-friendly, attract candidates who are motivated by those personal factors. One way to show flexibility is to provide opportunities for remote work.
While the HR space is full of strategies for remote workers, not all job roles are suited for remote working. For jobs such as these, consider allowing the attractions of the work location help recruit for the job. Many creative employers are redesigning their job sites to link to descriptions of local amenities, housing and schooling options, area attractions, cultural events, and recreational activities. A well-crafted job site describing the positive features of a community indicates a respect for work-life balance, and a sense of belonging. It also creates excitement for potential employees. A way to really bring this home is to demonstrate how the actual company is connected to the local community. Some companies offer local discounts to gyms and restaurants, are involved in local charity events, and hold retreats to neighboring parks, theatres, and music performances.
The Final Word
The bottom line here is quite simple: happy employees lead to more productive employees, which leads to increased profitability. When people are happy, fully engaged, and performing at a top level, companies reap the rewards and they are less likely to leave to find better opportunities. Remembering this during all stages of the recruiting process can help you find the candidates you need to grow your business. Even during the great resignation.