The Great Resignation of 2022, which saw some 50 million workers quit their jobs in search of better working conditions, is gradually tapering off. In 2023, the number was down to 30.5 million as of August.
The good news is that hiring rates continue to outpace resignations. According to data from the US Chamber of Commerce, leisure and hospitality was the hardest-hit industry when it lost 837,000 workers in September 2023. They quickly recovered though, as the same data reports that the sector hired some 1.1 million people in the same month.
This means that despite what you may have heard on the news and rants online, people are still willing to work. What changed is that the talent pool has become more aware of better opportunities elsewhere and that loyalty to one employer isn’t always the best option.
So if you are a business owner today, you can’t just stick to the status quo. Based on my experience in HR and now as a Career Coach, here are 4 things that businesses can do to cultivate a great working environment, attract great talent, and retain the stars they already have.
Today’s workers strongly value good work-life balance. They value their long-term health and are more willing to risk job security if it means they can spend more time with their loved ones or pursue hobbies that are beyond their professional lives. If your business model allows it, look into adopting remote work policies that allow employees to work from the comfort of their own homes or any location of their choosing.
Studies have shown that remote working can boost productivity and make the team feel more valued. In addition, with the rise of new technologies, it’s now even easier than ever to manage your projects, collaborate virtually, and keep communications strong online. Fully remote is often the top request but if it’s not possible, adopting a hybrid model would also be a great step forward.
If you want lifelong learners in your workforce, then you need to walk the walk and provide opportunities for them to acquire new skills. This can take the form of continuous learning opportunities that align with the evolving needs of both the employees and the organization.
You can offer access to workshops, training programs, and relevant courses to allow employees to expand their skill sets and stay current with industry trends. Some of the best online learning platforms include LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, DataCamp, and more.
Alternatively, you can establish mentorship programs to pair seasoned employees with those seeking to enhance their skills. Besides facilitating knowledge transfer, these mentorship programs also help create a sense of community and camaraderie among your staff, strengthening your organization. Top talent want to learn so it’s up to management to provide them with the right opportunities.
You’ve probably heard of the saying that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. If your business has a higher turnover rate than you’d like, then it’s a good idea to look at your management team and see their effect on the team. The truth is that most people aren’t born leaders. Most of the time, managers mean well but aren’t equipped with the right communication and leadership skills to lead a team.
But just like all skills, communication, and leadership can be taught and learned. By providing hands-on training for managers, you showcase that you are committed to cultivating a strong workplace culture and actively investing in your people.
You may not see the return immediately after a training session but will see the effects it has on their team over time. This eventually will lead to improved morale among your employees, increased efficiency and communication, and better retention of your star talent.
Sometimes the answer to attracting and retaining great talent goes beyond pay. Of course, an increased salary will always be welcomed but here are other benefits that you can add to the workplace to show your employees that you care about their wellbeing. Hint: it’s not another ping pong table or a new coffee machine in the break room.
For example, you can create a great workplace by expanding maternity leave or introducing childcare services, giving the parents in your workforce more flexibility and support. Family-friendly policies contribute to a positive work-life balance, making your company an attractive destination for individuals seeking not just a job but a fulfilling career.
Given that your goal is to keep your employees for the long term, it’s also a good idea to introduce paid sabbaticals for team members who have been with you for 5 years or so. Giving your loyal employees the chance to go on sabbatical can help them recharge, pursue personal interests, and return to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm. This not only shows appreciation for their dedication but also recognizes the importance of work-life integration, a hallmark of a great workplace.
Running a business is hard, especially during these unstable times. However, if you can keep attracting good talent and retain the ones you already have, you have won the hardest battle. Remember that your business will go as far as your team will take it. Take care of them, and they will take care of you. Good luck!
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