Source: Fast Company
Author: Amy Leschke-Kahle
Despite economic headwinds, the U.S. still has a worker gap. At the end of July 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 5.7 million Americans are unemployed, coupled with 10.7 million job openings. That’s a lot of job vacancies.
And with the turbulent economy, it’s uncertain how long the talent deficit will continue. It could be the actual new normal, the talent tsunami that many have talked about for decades. Regardless of how long this trend lasts, what’s clear is that, right now, we have a math problem.
There are simply not enough workers to serve customers, design applications, make products, and do all the things organizations need to do. The talent market is competitive at every level. And this will continue even as the market conditions change. Finding the right employees (and holding on to them) will continue to be as important as it is today. After all, employees make or break an organization’s success.
The new workers entering the workforce in 2022 and people returning to the workforce provide a fantastic opportunity to add talent to your organization. But in today’s market, attracting these workers requires new thinking and adjusted practices. With many options to choose from and shortened hiring timelines, job seekers have more power than ever before.
While there are no magic answers to solving the talent shortage, there are a few things you can pay attention to as an organization to increase your chances of attracting the best workers. Here are some ideas.
1. Differentiated talent brand
The same old, same old is not going to cut it. What makes your organization stand out? Every organization has core values, claims a great culture, and aspires to be committed to growing careers. You have to be bold and real-world and identify how your values and the values of your potential employees align. These days, talented employees want to work for companies that share the same mission and values as them, and the onus is on the employee to showcase that alignment.
2. A supportive culture
Culture is tricky. Skeptical employees often see culture as a series of statements that describe what an organization wants work to be like.
But employees can tell when an organization sells them a false promise. To create a supportive and attractive culture, you must focus on how your organization treats employees. Employees want to be treated like grown-ups and be in an environment to do their best work. What that looks like will be different from organization to organization, industry to industry. It might be a four-day work week for knowledge workers or the ability to take PTO in two-hours blocks for cycle workers so they can work and take care of personal needs on the same day.
3. Pay equity
Yes, money matters, both to new hires and incumbents. It’s tempting to offer candidates a larger salary than an incumbent or existing employee. Resist.
You’ll be sabotaging your existing workforce for the sake of trying to get the new employee to say yes. Acquiring talent is both time and resource intensive. You don’t want to hire new talent at the expense of losing your tenured employees. Remember, new employees who see how great you treat tenured employees will want to be one of them someday.
4. An engaging environment for learning and development
Most important, embed the practice of frequent attention into the fabric of your organization. The data is incredibly clear. A recent analysis of our client data showed unequivocally that employees who receive weekly attention from their managers are more likely to be fully engaged, and employees who are fully engaged are more likely to stay at an organization. Talented employees want to work at a place where they can continue to learn and grow (and be encouraged to do so).
The power balance of work has shifted, at least for right now. Employees and candidates have choices. We all want and deserve to work for organizations that pay fairly (for new and existing employees), that value each employee’s unique contributions no matter where they sit on the org chart and treat employees like grown-ups.
For many organizations, this means unwinding generations of doing the opposite. And those that choose not to do so will be left behind.
Amy Leschke-Kahle is the vice president of performance acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company.
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