We’re in the middle of an unusual talent market. Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs, a phenomenon being dubbed the “Great Resignation.” But with companies reversing pandemic-related hiring freezes, a record 9.3 million jobs are available. Landing the right talent is as competitive as it’s ever been.
Why it’s so hard to find great talent.
Consider this: In an average year, the voluntary churn rate at companies is 15%. This year, that rate could more than double. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index found that 40% of professionals surveyed are considering leaving their job. This is the sort of stat that should make hiring managers excited, right? From my experience, I’d take this with a grain of salt.
Just because a professional is considering a career move doesn’t mean they will leave their current company. And the ones who are actively searching for new jobs may not be the right match for your business needs.Yes, some professionals are open to new opportunities. But with a high number of open positions, top performers aren’t afraid to be picky.
Money helps, but it isn’t everything.
Professionals certainly move into new positions for higher salaries, but it usually takes more than money to keep people around for the long haul — myself included. I’ve worked remotely for many years, so I know how key a flexible work environment can be. For the vast majority of employees, working from home has changed how they think about work. It’s helped us re-center our work/life balance.
Some professionals who embraced remote work during the pandemic are craving continued flexibility– and when employers require them to return to the office, they aren’t afraid to quit. Others are searching for opportunities that bring them closer to family or to a new location with a lower cost of living. Still others are seeking positions that are more professionally fulfilling or better aligned with their values.
I’ve also seen situations where a candidate is interested in a change of scenery, but their current company counters with a better offer and the candidate decides to stay put. This offer may include a salary bump as well as desired perks, like a more flexible schedule.
With all this in mind, it’s going to take a bigger effort to recruit top talent into your company.
A fresh approach to flexibility.
Companies have long focused on making their culture attractive to help recruit people. Offering the ability to continue remote work goes a long way. As I’m writing this, my dogs are currently trying to play (or maybe eat) my new kitten. I wouldn’t get to see such a sweet scene if I were in the office all the time.
Flexibility matters, whether in the form of continuing remote work or being open to unique schedules that fit your employees’ lifestyles and responsibilities. By being okay with remote employees, you’ll also be tapping into a broader recruiting base than your immediate geography, resulting in better hires.
You can also bring a more flexible mindset to how you structure your job offers. For example, some companies offer attractive stock options for employees with a vesting schedule designed to incentivize retention. For public companies with a track record of success, adding stock options to an offer can be a win-win: additional compensation for the candidate and increased likelihood the new hire will become a long-term employee.
Other perks for attracting and retaining talent.
Clear career paths and promotion opportunities are another important consideration. I spoke with someone recently that joined a new company in the defense industry and almost immediately noticed there was no path for him to grow.
It’s tough enough to start a new role. Most candidates don’t join a company to sit on cruise control — they want to continue learning and growing. One way to meet this need is through an annual education stipend that employees can use towards learning new technical skills, acquiring industry certifications, or improving their leadership.
Other perks like on-site gyms or paid fitness center memberships, child and pet care, or stipends for home offices make your company look more attractive. I’ve seen some creative ways to offer benefits, too. I’m working with one client that has season tickets at the local baseball stadium. As a perk, it gives employees those tickets — right behind home plate. It’s hard to top that experience!
How is your company navigating the current talent market? I invite you to share your experiences in the comments below.