Chief Executive Insights

3 Steps to Attract Top Talent in an Increasingly Tight Labor Market

  • Just like it’s a seller’s market in real estate, it’s an employee’s market in the workplace.
  • With that in mind, providing basic wellness plans and flex schedules is no longer going to cut it if you want to build an extraordinary employee base.
  • According to IES’ Sara Jensen, securing top talent requires that employers be more accommodating regarding where and when employees work.

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses either to close their doors permanently or wait out the storm, the economy is roaring back to life. Unfortunately, many companies are having trouble filling critical positions as the number of job openings rises and more people quit their current roles. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of “now hiring” signs in the last few months (or have even put some up for your own organization).

If you need to bring in top talent, how can you ensure your company is top of mind for those looking for new positions? Table tennis and nap pods aside, the traditional ways to attract talented employees haven’t changed much over the years. Competitive compensation, comprehensive benefits with wellness and PTO perks, a great company culture, and opportunities for growth are all still important and should be prioritized. However, the pandemic introduced employees to a new major benefit: working from anywhere.

Embracing Change in the Workplace to Attract Top Talent

In an increasingly post-pandemic world, more applicants than ever are looking for flexible remote work policies. According to Citrix, 88% of employees want complete flexibility in terms of work hours and location, and a survey by LiveCareer found that 29% of respondents would quit if required to come back to the office. As workers abandon their current jobs in search of the flexible lifestyle they now know is possible, employers will need to be strategic about maintaining productivity while meeting these employee demands.

Companies that fail to acknowledge this workplace transformation and the changing nature of work risk a mass exodus of talent that jeopardizes their very existence. Even the most seemingly desirable companies in the world aren’t immune. Apple, for instance, is facing backlash from some of its employees for a return-to-work plan that requires employees to be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays starting in September 2021.

It’s not necessarily the hybrid approach that earned the criticism, but instead the fact that the tech giant failed to incorporate employee feedback into the design of the program. Workers want to feel like they have the freedom to choose where and when they work, and decrees from high up that don’t take this into account are likely to be received poorly.

Employees are controlling the market, and leaders must fulfill workers’ needs to attract top talent in an increasingly competitive hiring environment. The following steps will help you fill key positions and keep employees around as long as possible:

  1. Provide flexible work options.
    Remote work options offer more flexibility than you might think. For example, you might allow local employees to work from home two to three days a week while remote hires in other locations can work from anywhere. And if you do ask employees to come into the office, let them do so on their terms as much as possible. Maybe an employee who loves to travel wants to work on-site three days in a row so they can visit new places for a longer period. When you allow employees to choose their days on-site, you empower them to live the lives they want — which goes a long way toward retention.
  2. Keep company culture at the forefront.
    Company cultures will inevitably shift with the adoption of a dispersed, remote workforce, but culture is still a critical element in attracting top talent. As you look for different ways to attract talented employees, be sure to communicate the mission and values of your company, the chances for engagement with co-workers and teams, learning and development opportunities, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and more. These facets all play an important role in creating your company’s unique culture and employer brand, and that culture will attract and retain employees whether they’re on-site or scattered across the globe.
  3. Leverage technology effectively.
    When you adopt a hybrid or remote workforce, your organizational growth and employee engagement are directly tied to how well your workplace technology performs. Effective tools foster collaboration and ignite innovation, whereas lackluster implementations frustrate employees and hamper productivity. As we enter an era of work where a flexible remote work policy can be the difference between a deep talent pool and a shallow one, it’s worth investing in the solutions that empower employees to work from anywhere at any time.

    It’s an employee-driven market, and companies that ignore this trend and fail to listen to their workers might lose them. Employees are making clear demands for continued flexibility, and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t be effective anymore. To navigate this new environment and attract and retain top talent, companies will need to reimagine how work gets done and come up with flexible remote work policies that meet the needs of their critical workforce.

Written by Sara Jensen.

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Sara Jensen
Sara Jensen is the vice president of business development at Innovative Employee Solutions (IES), a leading global employer of record in more than 150 countries specializing in payrolling and contractor management services.


Sara Jensen is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.