The US is currently enjoying the lowest unemployment rates since the 1950’s. To say that talent attraction and retention is currently difficult would be a bit of an understatement. According to a recent Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Business Summit” report, 70% of all small businesses within the country report facing difficulty in finding and retaining skilled talent.
The job market has shifted, and it is currently candidate driven. That means that there are more jobs than qualified candidates, so high performing candidates can be in the driver’s seat and will typically have multiple offers to choose from.
In terms of Supply and Demand, there is a greater need for talent than jobs.
In order to effectively compete for stellar candidates, companies need to address these factors head on, and consider new ways to attract and retain talented employees.
Without further ado, here are 4 proven ways to attract and retain great employees.
The 9-5 Work Mentality is Dead, Let it Go
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends, you will have realized that millennials represent the largest workforce segment in the United States. With new blood comes new ambitions, ideals, and expectations. According to a survey published by the Center for American Progress, three-fourths of all respondents strongly favored workplaces that offered a flexible schedule ranging from working fully remotely, to half work-weeks from home.
Whether that is an option available for high-performers or everyone within the company, businesses open to less traditional schedules have a substantially higher chance of attracting top talent.
After all, as long as the employees are productive and able to meet deadlines, should it really matter where they physically conduct that work?
Invest in Your Employees
The wave of “employee investment programs” came crashing down soon after businesses sought new ways to reduce “extra” costs. However, investing in employees is something that pays off big dividends in the long run. Support and encourage your team to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge base. They will inevitably use this newfound knowledge for the betterment of the organization, in addition to delivering a strong message that you believe in them as an individual enough to invest in them.
A typical result of investing in employee’s skill sets and education is that the employee will become more productive and loyal to the company that invested in them.
Companies that fail to incorporate such programs will typically experience higher turnover rates. A study carried out by Harvard Business Review makes this abundantly clear.
After interviewing 1,200 high-achieving employees, researchers found that a lack of coaching and support were amongst the primary reasons for such employees leaving an organization!!
If you want your employees to think of their job as a career with long range plans, show them that you are committed to invest in them.
Show Your Appreciation
Older employees certainly appreciate the occasional acknowledgment for their hard work, and newer employees absolutely need to be regularly updated regarding their performance during their initial on-boarding.
Providing clear, consistent feedback is critically important if you want to have employees that are enjoying their work and are confident in their abilities.
Study after study shows that one of the most important factors in job satisfaction is having a crystal-clear understanding of what their immediate supervisor expects from them, and confidence that they will be alerted if they are not doing something correctly.
Remember, acknowledgment—whether done verbally or via email—costs absolutely nothing. Giving out small tokens of appreciation goes a long way in increasing motivation.
A good thing to remember when managing people is to make a point of reprimanding in private, praise in public.
Praise costs nothing and has massive benefits. Make a point of finding a minimum of one great thing that your employee is doing and shine the light on them at the very least, once a month.
It also pays to think outside of the box. While $100 bonus is always appreciated, spending that $100 on lawn service, meal services, pool upkeep, or some type of service that will give someone the gift of time is often times the best gift of all, because chances are they would not buy it for themselves.
There are all kinds of ways that you can infuse your team with positive energy, without it costing an arm and a leg. It is startling to realize just how few US based companies actually do the most basic things, to honor their workforce.
Speed up your Interview Process
Good candidates have never had a long shelf life, and with the current job market, strong candidates are having an increasingly short availability window.
While no company wants to feel rushed into making a hiring decision, it is still important information to have, to know that many companies are speeding up their interview process.
If you interview someone and believe they are a strong match, but want to put that person on hold while you interview other candidates, it pays to be aware that chances are that candidate will be receiving other offers when you are waiting for other candidates to interview.
There is a certain momentum in interviewing, and you want to always have your candidate feel that they remain engaged in the process.
There is a monumental difference between having them scheduled for the next step and having them linger.
On the first scenario, they are engaged in the interview process and moving forward, even if they have to wait a week before the next actual meeting. On the second scenario, with no further scheduled meetings, they are left to wonder if they are even still considered a viable candidate, and then feelings of rejection and anger and defensiveness come into play.
ALWAYS schedule next step to ensure that the interview process is moving forward if you are interested in a candidate.
If you need to buy yourself some time when evaluating other candidates, be sure to have the next step in the process scheduled, so the applicant feels that they are in your interview process and will remain engaged.
You will not be competitive in landing top tier talent if your process takes longer than one month.
Time Kills Deals is an old saying in the sales arena, and it is never truer than in today’s job market.
Get in touch with ISC
International Search Consultants (ISC) is one of the leading executive recruiting companies in the United States. They’ve been helping companies fill critical roles with ideal candidates since 1999.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants and can be reached via e-mail at or via direct dial at 888-866-7276
Lisa Finch is an Executive Recruiter with ISC, focusing on Financial Services as well as the Energy industry. Lisa can be reached via e-mail at or via direct dial at 888-771-1488.