Human Capital & Startegy-II

Recruitment And Retention In The Remote Work World

Companies must flex to the demands of today’s freshly empowered workforce or risk missing out on top talent entirely.______By Belinda Jones

Finding talent is hard – and keeping talent is even harder. What many have been calling the Great Resignation is actually closer to a “Great Reshuffling,” as workers seek out the best opportunities at a time when their skills are particularly valued. The end result for employers? Recruitment and retention challenges unlike anything that’s happened before. To succeed in this kind of environment, it’s imperative to be grounded in the current global talent realities. Firms should also understand how to attract top talent in a remote-first and/or remote only recruiting environment. Finally, no company can expect to retain their new hires (or even their existing staff) without giving careful attention to today’s top engagement issues.

Global talent realities to understand

Every developed economy in the world is scrambling to find competent, ready-now talent. In 2021, the US saw more job postings than at any time in history, while Canada’s postings are some 60 percent above pre-pandemic levels. Austria’s vacancy rates are up 3-fold, while Switzerland is facing 6x the vacancy rates and Japan, long-resistant to foreign workers, has opened up all 14 of its industry groups to outside talent for the first time ever after experiencing severe staffing shortages throughout 2020 and 2021.

The talent, unfortunately, is well aware of its status as a hot commodity. To millions of established firms used to treating workers like they were cheap, easily replaceable widgets in a grander machine, this is an utter reversal of decades of corporate culture. How has this reversal come about? One can’t simply blame COVID. COVID was an accelerant on a fire already burning. Jobs have been getting more complex for many years, requiring higher and higher skill sets for success in role. This makes hiring more difficult, since training gaps can be large and require long investments to fix.

At the same time, thanks to demographic shifts and changes in how younger generation view work-life balance, there are fewer highly skilled workers available, and most of them want to work fewer hours than their predecessors. Retiring workers thus can’t be easily replaced. Plus, thanks to COVID, a large tranche of “edge case” workers decided to leave the workforce ahead of schedule.

The net result? Labor costs are rising for employers, and increasing amounts of perks are available to workers as enticements to sign on with a new firm. Prospective new hires know that if they aren’t offered the salary or benefits package they want, there are many other opportunities available. In the US, the typical worker accepting a new role is enjoying a 10 to 15 percent pay raise, while in countries like New Zealand, switching jobs could net an in-demand worker up to 50% more in salary alone.

Attracting top talent in a remote work world

With talent freshly aware of its value, how can top talents be recruited? Money alone won’t do the trick, nor is it feasible for firms to always attempt to outbid all other options. Instead, firms need to offer employees more of what they want in a way that’s accessible to online browsers connecting with the firm on a virtual-first footing…

So, what does the typical worker these days want to see from a firm online? Many are shopping for firms that share their values, that “walk the talk” on key issues, and that offer meaningful opportunities for career advancement. This means that firms must be able to clearly articulate their values, live up to their missions, and back up development promises with real promotions. The impact of living up to expectations can be huge. According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report, companies that include culture elements in job postings attract 67% more attention from potential candidates. Firms that can match corporate diversity or ESG statements with real-world reports of impact or repeat industry awards are also getting more attention from candidates, as are firms who have positive reviews for career development on sites like Glassdoor.

Retaining talent by leveraging the power of engagement

Of course, even the best online reviews have to be matched by day-to-day experiences. Firms who don’t match their employee experiences to their online recruitment promises get to watch all their freshly hired talents stream right back out the virtual front door.

How to keep them? Ensure there’s a good culture match before they are even hired! This might be as simple as making sure the vegan isn’t tasked with overseeing the sausage line, or as complicated as matching the fiscal libertarian with the right kind of accounting job. If there’s a fit between the values of the person and the values of the firm, the level of buy-in will be so strong, the company will almost have to work hard at creating disengagement!

Beyond the culture match, firms can create deeper engagement by offering meaningful opportunities for career development and advancement. If possible, each employee should have a point of contact on the talent management team who can help direct their career and match them with relevant in-house opportunities for growth and promotion. As Gallup reports, 89 percent of employers think employees leave for more money but in reality, only 12 percent do. The real tipping points in staying vs. leaving an organization come down to job satisfaction, quality of the daily experience, and perceived opportunities for advancement.

Concluding thoughts

Today’s workers are scarce and empowered. Firms that want to recruit them – and retain them – have to flex accordingly. Money alone won’t do the trick (though higher salaries rarely hurt). Instead, firms should strive to live their values, actualize their mission statements on key issues, and provide lots of opportunities for meaningful advancement. In this way, companies can recruit and retain the talent they want, even remotely, building a competitive talent advantage that only grows as time goes by.