If you’re struggling to hire and keep employees right now, you aren’t alone. Since April of 2021, more than a fifth of the entire non-farm job force quit their jobs. That’s over 33 million people! Unfortunately for managed services providers, that also means a lot of competition for top talent you need to keep serving your customers. Good news—there are strategies you can put in place right now to combat the Great Resignation and keep your company running smoothly.
I spoke with Tigerpaw COO Joel Vaslow recently about hiring and retention best practices that are especially key during this challenging time. Joel holds a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has spent over 20 years working for some of the largest companies in North America. Here are his top four areas to focus on in this current climate.
4 Strategies to Combat the Great Resignation
1. Be intentional about retention
The first step in reducing the impact of open positions is not having so many to begin with. That’s obvious, but the keys to retention might not be what you think. Sometimes businesses are quick to throw more money, perks, and benefits at employees to get them to stay. While financial needs and competitive pay and benefit structures are very important, money typically isn’t enough to keep a dissatisfied employee. Especially not when there are so many other options out there for them. And don’t you want to make your employee experience the best it can be for your entire team anyway?
Shift your mindset and be intentional about retention. Employees (and applicants, too) want to know what your company stands for.
“First, you need to get better at communicating who you are. What is your vision?” Joel asks. “We need to focus more today than ever on doing an excellent job of expressing where we’re going and why people should want to come with us.”
Another key to retention is making work more meaningful. People want to know the things they are doing contribute to something bigger.
“It is extremely important to somehow communicate the impact each and every employee has on the outcomes for their team and for the overall company. And doing this won’t cost you a cent.”Joel Vaslow, Tigerpaw COO
“Does this mean we have to have some world-beating technology? No. It’s about connecting daily efforts to the bigger company goals. For example, Tigerpaw employees know what impact their actions have on our business financials and how those results impact company plans. That level of transparency might not be a fit at every company, but it is extremely important to somehow communicate the impact each and every employee has on the outcomes for their team and for the overall company. And doing this won’t cost you a cent.”
2. Get creative and consistent with recruiting
Hoping great talent will find you because you posted an opening on a job board isn’t enough in the age of the Great Resignation. Most job postings are pretty much interchangeable: a blurb about the company and a standard job description with roles and responsibilities. That’s a wasted opportunity to make your job opening stand out from the rest. Take a look at your current job postings to see if there are ways to make a bigger impression.
Next, you must have a Careers page on your website. (If you don’t, create one now—people who are interested in your company should have ready access to information about why it’s great to work there.) Try to view your page from the perspective of a job seeker. Use language that is approachable and fits your brand voice, whether that’s buttoned-down or humorous. Include your review ranking from sources like Glassdoor. Make sure the page is one that surprises potential hires in all the right ways. The Tigerpaw Careers page is full of notable examples for you to draw inspiration from. Need more inspiration? Check out this Career page for Palantir which walks candidates through the interview process. It does a fantastic job of managing expectations and preparing candidates for what to expect.
These days, however, with top talent being ridiculously hard to find, even a creative careers page is not enough. You must proactively go after the talent you want. That means being constantly on the lookout for top talent and not afraid to take them from where they work today.
“Nebraska, where we’re located, is at a record low unemployment level, yet we’re still filling jobs,” Joel notes. “I learned a lesson while serving the restaurant industry. They constantly poach talent. You can figure out who to poach by a great customer sales or service experience. Even if you’re not looking, grab that talent right away and find a place for them in your organization. It will be worth it in the long run.”
74% of hiring professionals say they often poach top talent.TechRepublic
And Joel is not alone in this strategy. According to a survey by TechRepublic, 74% of hiring professionals said they often poach top talent. Only 14% of respondents said they never do. Over 60% of companies interviewed for the study viewed poaching as completely legitimate and just part of doing business. Of course, this means some of your own employees are also at risk of being poached, right? Ensuring that your people are experiencing meaningful and rewarding work, as detailed above, is your best defense and yet another reason to ensure you are delivering on the full experience.
3. Be selective
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when talent pools are running dry is to simply settle on hiring warm bodies. Don’t. Just don’t.
“Don’t panic. If you do, you will make bad decisions,” says Joel. “You’ll hire people who aren’t good culture fits or who lack the skills to be successful. Take a breath and realize that there are resources out there, inexpensive strategies like we’re discussing today, that can help you get the right talent, even when others are not.”
Netflix applies this strong rule for hiring talent as well. If you want to work at Netflix, they expect GREAT, not good. Each Netflix employee produces around $2,000,000 in work-value every year (source), and it is because they never settle on second best. A quote from the Netflix Culture Guide:
“Only hire people who will put the company’s interests first, who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace.”Netflix Culture Guide
So how do you ensure that you, like Netflix, get those high performers? One way is to do formal hiring assessments. They will, at the very least, help you and your candidates to understand if you are a good fit for one another. Assessments will give you a repeatable and consistent approach to vetting candidates, no matter who is doing the interviews. Of course, not all assessments are created equally. Make sure any assessment methodology you pursue is endorsed by trusted organizations like SHRM or SIOP. This will help ensure the results will be reliable and valid. Nothing matters more than getting the right talent, so make sure you’re using the best assessments to vet them.
Those that perfect the art of being extremely selective know that you must “hire slow and fire fast.” It may sound cold and calculated, but in fact, it is just the opposite. The people you hire will appreciate the care and attention you put into the hiring process. And for the folks that aren’t a fit, you can help them find a new place to pursue their career and ensure they know that even though they aren’t a fit, you still care about their path. Remember earlier we talked about making work meaningful? You can do that even in the way you help folks move on to new opportunities.
4. Use more tools to protect your company from labor shortages
One of the best ways you can make work more meaningful is to make it less mundane and manually driven. The more manual tasks people must do on a regular basis, the less time they have for meaningful and rewarding work. If you want to retain and garner top talent, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to ensure they have more time for things they love and find purpose in.
Getting double-booked for service calls, logging into multiple systems to get information, chasing down customer payments, reconciling spreadsheets… that is not meaningful or rewarding. On the other hand, solving customer problems, creating new ways to streamline workflows, and proactively helping customers to solve their biggest business issues is what you want your people doing more of. Guess what? That is what they want to do more of, too!
“To err is to be human,” and the more manual the tasks, the more prone they are to mistakes and aggravation. When workflows are prone to error, when your people are on the defensive in the heat of the blame game, that simply isn’t any fun or rewarding for anybody. Business automation and unified communication tools can ensure things get done right the first time and help deliver more victories and fewer battles.
“Workflow automation will bring your people together, no matter where they work.”Joel Vaslow, Tigerpaw COO
“In a world where remote work is changing old workflows forever, paper is the enemy,” Joel says. “Digital workflows and automations will be critical in ensuring smooth and rewarding operations between a more disparate workforce. Workflow automation will bring your people together, no matter where they work.”
Be it Tigerpaw or another solution, business automation will be an important arrow in your quiver as you look to do all you can to retain and attract top talent. We would love to show you how.
For more ideas and insights from Joel Vaslow, our very own hiring and retention aficionado, check out the interview in its entirety. Or download our informative new eBook Navigating the Great Resignation: Finding and keeping high-quality employees.