We are seeing a continuous evolution in talent acquisition as the pandemic fundamentally changed how we work. For some, this includes adapting to the creation of a flexible workplace culture and a reimagined approach to hiring. 

The demand for talent is at the highest level in our firm’s 25- year history. We are busier than we have ever been, assisting clients in diverse industry segments as well as companies of all sizes. Today, top talent candidates with proven experience and career progression typically have multiple job opportunities, so employers need to use every tool in their toolbox to secure that talent as quickly as possible. That includes offering the right salary, as those are increasing across the board, and enhancing their hiring process for expedience from interview to offers, as those dragging their feet will likely lose their first choice.

The fact that a company’s greatest asset is people rings true today more than ever before. This is especially evident in not only recruiting but retaining the skilled, experienced professionals. While many are focused on recruiting new talent and winning that competition, they should not take their eye off the ball when it comes to ensuring their culture is shored up to retain the top talent they have.

LBMC’s 2021 Business Outlook Report confirmed that finding and retaining great talent was the top business goal for organizations of all sizes and across industries. If leaders hope to win the retention battle, it is vital to keep their fingers on the pulse on the organization’s culture. While the increase of working remotely has added extra complexity to options and flexibility to the recruiting process, one thing that became particularly paramount this past year is the importance of a true culture fit for long term talent sustainability. The way to unlock the potential of the best person for the job is to find the best fit for the culture, because the candidate’s ideas and solutions will only work if they themselves resonate with those in that organization.

Make Staff Retention a Vital Focus

According to research commissioned by the Achievers Workforce Institute, a survey of 2,000 employed adults in February 2021 found that 52 percent are looking for a new job, up from 35 percent a year earlier. Individuals are more apt to seriously consider a job change if they feel they are not appreciated, not seeing the growth they desire or simply aren’t enjoying their position/work environment due to burnout. Today, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to focus on being as proactive as possible in retaining top performers. Some top employees are contemplating leaving for better offers or more fulfilling challenges, making the proactive role of management and human resources more vital.

Employee Surveys

Regular employee surveys are a useful tool to garner employee satisfaction as well as monitor key elements that employees value in the workplace. To be effective, surveys should be performed by a third party, and all team members should be assured their answers will be kept anonymous. However, be advised that you should implement regular employee surveys only if management truly intends to listen to the results and make a positive change where they are able; otherwise, surveys can backfire. Used effectively, this tool can enhance retention significantly with upper management’s quick response to employee concerns.

Low-Cost Job Perks

Now is also the time to restore some of those non-monetary, non-traditional job perks for team members. Telecommuting has become very popular in today’s work culture post COVID. Additional job perks could include awards, gym memberships, catered meals or company events. Academic reimbursements are also popular tools today as companies strive to ensure  top talent growth.

Retention Strategies

Companies that choose to look at retention strategies and ways to ensure their company culture is positive will have the greatest chance of keeping their best employees. They will be the winners as the cost of turnover is not cheap! Maintaining a policy of no salary increases or bonuses can potentially put you at risk.  When times were lean, team members may have been  thankful to just keep their jobs; however, those who may feel overworked and underpaid now will look at new opportunities, especially if  they fall into their laps.

Your bottom line can be improved by offering tools and programs that successfully reduce stress on teams, boost employee morale, and increase retention. We asked employees why they are happy or what is missing in their current role, and below are items we heard consistently:

  • Mentorship – This is the #1 request/desire from hungry candidates, and it is essentially free.
  • Wellness Programs – Stipend gym memberships, rewards for healthy habits, healthy/quick food options available in the office, nutritionists.
  • Women’s Initiatives – Speakers, group outings, book clubs.
  • Professional Development – Speakers on relatable topics, ongoing training.
  • Tokens of Appreciation – Free PTO day, gift cards around holidays, public acknowledgement of a job well done.
  • Community Service – Company-wide service days, company partnerships with local charities.

Give employees a reason to stay with these top motivators:

  • Flexible / Remote Work Hours
  • Advancement Opportunities
  • Job / Company Stability
  • Positive Culture
  • Competitive Pay and Benefits
  • Belief in Mission, Product or Service
  • Exciting and Challenging New Projects
  • A Good Manager
  • Advanced Technology

Do you have an onboarding process in place for new hires?

An effective onboarding process is important now more than ever, especially given that remote arrangements are the norm on some level for most companies. It is important to have an action plan in place to help new hires adjust to their new position and get off to a good start. A good plan should help new hires:

  • Acclimate to the workplace (both personal workspace and location of common areas like break rooms, etc.).
  • Get acquainted with who does what in the organization.
  • Understand the company and what it does.
  • Identify the company’s core mission and values.
  • Learn the systems and duties required for the job.

Along with the initial plan, which should be made available day one, there should also be parameters set to follow up on a 30/60/90-day basis or to have “mentors” in place to help identify if someone may be struggling.

Good employees are happy employees. Enjoying a new workplace and “fitting in” can be critical to a new hire. Create a buddy system and have someone help them acclimate socially, introduce them to others, or invite them to join a group for lunch or social activity. By having a solid onboarding plan in place, you are not only setting up a new hire for a great start, but you are making it easier on yourself and the team by managing expectations for everyone.

Best Practices for New Employee Onboarding

Remember what it felt like to get that “you’ve been hired” email or phone call? There was excitement. There was uncertainty. There was likely even a bit of hesitation or nervousness about what to expect. So, while you can surely relate to being the new employee, why not make every effort to ensure a pleasant and rewarding onboarding experience as an employer. Consider these best practices for new employee onboarding.

Offer a “Wow-Factor” Welcome

From the initial contact letting the employee know he or she is hired to the instructional communication about arrival on the first day, make the welcome communication process memorable. Consider crafting a fun welcome package to place at the team member’s desk or workstation on the first day or schedule a welcome lunch with the immediate team.

Structure the Schedule

Especially for the first full week, organize the new team member’s schedule so there’s little room for uncertainty or fear of what to do next. While you want to leave some room throughout the day to get accustomed to the new environment, processes, and procedures, it will help a new employee if they have a tightly structured orientation schedule to use in getting started. Don’t expect every new hire to hit the ground running.

Operate with an Open Door

Every new hire will have many questions at first. As a manager or supervisor, keep an open-door policy during a new employee’s first few days on the job, so that he or she can stop by and ask questions.. While your goal will be to prepare new team members in advance through your employee handbook and job-specific manual or notebook, relational learning can often be the fastest way to train someone in a new role. Also, allow new employees to offer feedback on their training experience. It’s an excellent way to improve your onboarding process along the way.

Gather the Whole Gang

Nothing will make a new employee feel more welcomed than a solid team spirit. Whether two, 10, or 20 team members, schedule some time for your whole team to be together during a new hire’s first week. It will be important for the new hire to interact with fellow coworkers to learn the roles each person plays with respect to their position. You can plan a fun, team-building activity or a simple team meeting in which each person introduces themselves and answers the new hire’s questions. Either way, the bonding time a new employee can gain with colleagues will help them get off to a great start.

The pandemic impacted the way we team, the way we think, the way we do business. Today, we are seeing the demand for talent and candidate’s mobility at an all-time high. We do not anticipate a slowdown in demand for talent as companies are trying to navigate in-office, hybrid or remote working team needs moving forward. Those organizations and candidates are partnering with experienced firms like ours- giving them a leg up in this vastly competitive talent war environment.