During our most recent CMO roundtable, leaders unanimously agreed that finding top talent is their biggest challenge right now. A year ago, hiring managers had their pick of highly qualified professionals, many willing to take a pay cut or make other sacrifices just to have a job. The hard part of hiring was narrowing down the pool of great candidates.
Today, job seekers have the upper hand and are demanding more than ever. Employers unwilling to budge on their norms may find themselves losing out to businesses who think and act progressively, adapting to the post-pandemic needs of their people.
How do you make your company attractive to future employees? Here are six things to consider:
It’s time to get introspective. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential employee. What would be important to you in choosing a new job and new company?
Culture. If you had to pick one word to describe your company’s culture, what would it be? What is the tone at the top? Is the environment a bit more buttoned up, with a formal dress code, or are you a little more casual? Do you have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and policies? What about team-building activities and special events? Do you have a culture of appreciation where employees are recognized for their contributions? How is employee input solicited and valued?
Work/life balance. Right now, the more flexible you are, the happier your employees will be. Do you offer remote work options? Our recent findings show that a five day a week in-office requirement is a dealbreaker for a lot of candidates. If you can’t change your location requirements, do you offer flexible schedules or 9/80 work weeks? Other ways that companies are encouraging better work/life balance are offering time off for volunteering, paid parenting leave, on-site childcare, mental health days or even designated no-meeting days. If you’re really lucky, maybe your company will cover the cost of one of Busch’s new TreeWork spaces so you can literally work in the great outdoors.
Career pathing. Is there a clear path to promotions and career growth? If not, you may want to consider formalizing your goal-setting and performance evaluation procedures and establishing a regular review of job descriptions. Are you enabling career growth by adding responsibilities or providing learning opportunities? Offering continuing education and training is a great way to facilitate individual growth – and expand your team’s skill set while you’re at it. It’s also important to be aware of your history of internal promotions. Your HR department should be able to help you analyze your own trends in promoting versus hiring externally.
Basic benefits, plus. These days, the benefits don’t stop at medical, dental and vision coverage, although having killer insurance is something candidates still consider to be highly valuable. But there are some pretty interesting “extra” health-related benefits that companies are now offering: pet insurance, fertility assistance, and even death benefits (Google gives the surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50 percent of his or her salary for the following 10 years after his or her death).
Perks. This is the category of “fun stuff” – the things people don’t expect but will highly value if offered. We see companies offering things like:
- Free gym membership or fitness classes
- In-office visits from a massage therapist or yogi
- Catered lunches or free snacks
- Mental health days off
- Modified summer schedules (like ½ day Fridays)
- Beer Fridays (just like it sounds)
- Free Costco memberships
- Tickets to local sporting and concert events
- In-office games and competitions (not just ping-pong and foosball, think Scrabble tournaments and trivia contests)
Patagonia (who incidentally named their employee handbook “Let My People Go Surfing”) may take the cake for the most mission-aligned incentive. If an employee is arrested for peaceful environmental protest, the company will pay to bail them (and their partner) out of jail. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. If you think paying an employee’s bail is nuts, consider this: Patagonia has only 4% annual turnover.
Compensation. Do you offer competitive salaries? It’s a basic yes or no question, but it’s one of the most important things to any potential employee and the source of myriad apples-to-oranges comparisons for job seekers and employers alike. Salary is just a piece of the puzzle, but it’s a big piece and can’t be taken lightly. While you’re in the offer stage, think carefully about whether to negotiate over one or two thousand dollars. Having an employee walk in the door feeling valued is well worth the nominal hit to your budget.
More now than ever, companies, HR departments and hiring managers have to look inward, examine their values and culture, and really consider if they are offering their future employees everything they can to make them want to come aboard.
Once you’ve examined your company’s true self, there’s still another step: showing your true self to job seekers. Remember, you can’t just sit back and wait for the applications to roll in. Actively pursuing candidates through LinkedIn or other professional networks is critical to talent acquisition right now. Lead your job descriptions with a sense of your culture and vibe, not just lists of duties. Always include interesting benefits whenever you talk to potential employees. Make sure the About Us and Careers sections of your website really reflect who you are as a company and explain – explicitly – why yours is such a great place to work.
No matter what the employment market looks like, you can never lose by thinking about your company’s image to a prospective employee and offering the most you can possibly offer to someone who is going to soon be a part of the fabric of your company.
P.S. – Now that you’ve attracted this talent, your job as a hiring manager isn’t done yet. Be sure that your interview, offer, and onboarding processes continue to reflect your company’s personality and values. Requiring a candidate to go through six rounds of interviews, for example, is a big turnoff to a prospect (and disrespectful of their time – it’s hard to take off work six times for one single job opportunity). Also, if you’re unwilling to compromise on anything during the offer process, a candidate can feel like they are walking into a “company above all else” environment. Finally, take the time to communicate clearly with your new employee – introduce them via email, Slack, video or in-person so they can feel like they are part of the team. Happy hiring!