By now, almost everyone has heard of the mass exodus of employees happening globally, formally coined the “Great Resignation.” Employers certainly have. Businesses everywhere are losing some of their best talent in droves, all in the face of persistent staffing shortages due to the pandemic — just in time for Career Development Month.
For employers who have lost talent because of the Great Resignation and are now trying to attract the most qualified replacements, here are four ways to set yourself apart and stand out as a place people want to work:
- Cultivate an authentic employer brand.
One of the most important parts of business is employer branding. It’s also one of the most often overlooked. Whether your business is actively cultivating its reputation or not, that reputation exists and is an influential part of prospective employees’ decision-making.
Strong employer branding requires authenticity. If you try to paint only a rosy picture of your workplace and employee experience, you won’t be able to deliver on your promises. This is a recipe for disaster. It gives employees a reason to leave and gives your company a bad reputation when those employees share their frustrations. Not exactly a good talent attraction strategy.That said, if you’re looking to craft an authentic employer brand, be ready to share all about what it’s like to work at your company — the good, the bad, and the in-between. Be honest about the upsides and the challenges. When you give prospective employees a full, transparent picture of yourself, it establishes trust and compels only the best-fitting talent to join your team. According to Bryan Adams, CEO and founder of global employer branding agency Ph.Creative: “Some jobs ask more of employees than others. That will always be true, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The key for organizations is to be mindful of the company narrative surrounding culture instead of painting a false picture that doesn’t reflect reality. Authenticity is crucial.”
- Focus on DEI.
Another key part of attracting talent is prioritizing — and making clear how you’re prioritizing — diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Prospective employees care deeply about working for employers that make diversity and inclusion a focus. As a result, companies everywhere are touting DEI initiatives — but some are more talk than action.
Making DEI a cornerstone of your business is good and necessary, but if your promises to foster a diverse, inclusive, equitable workplace aren’t backed up with action, you risk looking like a dishonest, inauthentic, and performative employer.So how can you ensure you’re prioritizing DEI in an authentic, meaningful way? Start by ensuring your anti-discrimination policies and employee manual are updated to reflect your DEI expectations. Host roundtable discussions regularly to see where people see room for improvement and what they think is going well in the company’s DEI work. You should also offer regular training and workshops on different DEI topics to ensure continuous education is a part of the work you’re doing. Ultimately, whatever you do, just be sure that it’s intentional.
- Showcase your company culture.
Prospective employees want to work for companies that have good cultures. In the current job market where workers have more power, it’s important to make your culture a priority — whether that means improving a weak or toxic existing culture or highlighting a great one that you’re proud of.
If the former is the case for your company, there are a number of ways to change your culture for the better. Before diving into them, though, it’s important to note that any culture change will require more than updated policies or workplace mandates; it requires a collective shift in heart and mindset.
To make concrete and positive changes in your culture, start by identifying areas that need work. This lays the foundation for you to understand what is at the root of certain cultural weaknesses and identify how to fix them. Once you’ve done that, work on fostering connection and purpose, which is the center of all lasting change.
- Offer a flexible workplace.
Finally, just as prospective employees want to work for a company with good culture, a strong reputation, and a focus on DEI, they also increasingly want — and expect — flexibility. The pandemic transformed the way we work. Many employees had to start working from home overnight, and, under the circumstances, employers were forced to extend more trust and flexibility than ever before.
Workers want that to last. For many employees, the flexibility afforded by the pandemic allowed them to be both productive team members and human beings. When you as an employer offer flexibility, you signal to employees that you trust them to do great work and take care of life’s responsibilities. People with appointments, caregiving, and other responsibilities appreciate knowing they are trusted to balance work and personal obligations.
Bryan Garey, vice president and chief human resources officer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University says: “The new workplace will require a recognition of the ‘whole person paradigm,’ where work is part of life and not compartmentalized to create the illusion that everything is in a different silo. All workers have become accustomed to it, and the new majority workforce, Millennials and Gen Z, will gravitate to cultures that celebrate this intersection.”
The Great Resignation is real, and it has impacted employers in every industry. But hope isn’t lost. Show prospective employees that your company is the best place for them to share their talents. It takes work, but when done well, it has the power to turn hard times into something great.
Written by Rhett Power.
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