“Good help is hard to find” is a timeless adage bemoaned by employers throughout history and across every discipline who have wrestled with the gap between the workforce they want and the one they have.
Sound familiar? It’s not uncommon to hear complaints from employers about their team’s job performance, attendance, personal distractions, and overall lackluster attitude. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse as fewer people are willing and able to participate in the labor force. What’s more, worker dissatisfaction and disengagement have been at an all-time high in the years following the pandemic, according to a recent Gallup poll.
In the face of these challenges, along with the highly competitive nature of today’s business landscape, the real question is obvious: How can employers successfully attract, hire, and retain quality employees with a growth mindset—who are eager to learn, who are motivated by difficult challenges, and who are committed to helping their organization be successful?
This article will explore reasons behind employee dissatisfaction and turnover and provide tangible ways to develop the highly motivated, uniquely talented workforce you’ve always wanted.
Reasons for Employee Dissatisfaction
We could look at the root of the problem—employee dissatisfaction—in a couple of different ways: (1) reasons employees are unhappy with their jobs and (2) reasons employers are unhappy with their employees.
Let’s start with the employee perspective. The Chron for small businesses identifies a number of reasons employees check out from their jobs, and almost all of those reasons boil down to the belief that they are undervalued for their work:
- Feeling underpaid.
- Being stuck in a position with no opportunity for advancement.
- Not being challenged by work that is boring or repetitive.
- Struggling under management that is either too overbearing or too distant.
- Feeling that their opinions and ideas are ignored.
- Feeling that their job lacks impact; that it isn’t contributing to a larger goal.
On the other hand, employers often struggle to retain the workforce they need, usually because of a mismatch in expectations:
- Lack of qualifications. A recent PWC CEO survey found that 74% of CEOs “said that a lack of availability of the right skills is a concern.”
- Remote work preferences. Since the pandemic, many employees prefer to have the flexibility to work from home, though not all employers can provide that opportunity.
- Work-life balance expectations. Increasingly, workers expect employers to value physical and emotional well-being, work-life balance, and opportunities for professional development, all of which require a dramatic shift in workplace dynamics.
The bottom line is that the labor market is competitive, especially as more people apply for multiple jobs simultaneously. It can be challenging to stand out among the competition, especially without the right elements in place and as the labor market continues to change and evolve faster than ever. Below are essential strategies to attract, hire, and retain growth-oriented employees.
Attracting Growth-Oriented Talent
- Offer competitive salaries and benefits. This one is probably a no-brainer, but to recruit quality employees willing to put their time and talent to use for your organization, you have to provide competitive compensation. Do your research to identify compensation benchmarks in your field and adjust your salaries accordingly. You should consider other enticing benefits, such as generous healthcare plans, retirement benefits, vacation time, and flexible work arrangements.
- Develop an appealing internal brand. According to a study by LinkedIn, 75% of applicants will consider an employer’s brand before applying because they want to work in a positive and encouraging environment. To cultivate an appealing brand, use your website and social media channels to highlight your company culture, mission, values, and opportunities you provide employees for professional and personal growth.
- Emphasize growth opportunities. If you want growth-oriented employees, you should showcase your available growth opportunities. This might include skill development and training, certifications, professional conferences, networking opportunities, and collaborative projects with other departments.
- Encourage employee referrals. You can leverage your growth-oriented talent by encouraging them to refer individuals in their network who share their values, professional goals, and work ethic. Implementing a referral bonus program can further incentivize this process.
Hiring the Right People
- Be thorough in the interview process. Ensure that you hire the right people by developing a rigorous selection process that includes multiple interviews and assessments that gauge a candidate’s willingness to take on challenges and hone their skills.
- Prioritize cultural fit. Finding candidates that share your company’s values and vision for success is important. Prioritize these questions in your interview process.
- Assess soft skills. Technical skills are certainly important, but growth-oriented employees excel at collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and adapting to change.
- Offer growth-oriented onboarding. During interviews, ask about candidates’ short- and long-term career goals and provide an onboarding process that facilitates growth. This might include helping them create a roadmap for company advancement or assigning mentors to guide them on their journey.
- Ask tenured employees why they stay. The best way to understand what motivates your long-term employees to stay is, well, to ask them. Use the information they provide via 1-on-1 check-ins or larger mass surveys to help you understand their passions and motivations, which will help you narrow in on qualified candidates with similar ones. You’re already doing the work to win them over.
Retaining Your Employees
- Provide ongoing learning opportunities. Nurture employee development by offering learning opportunities like workshops, classes, certifications, conference registrations, and resources to other educational resources.
- Cultivate a supportive work environment. Create a company culture that encourages collaboration, communication, innovation, and risk-taking. Employees should feel encouraged to share their ideas and think outside the box to meet challenges.
- Challenge your employees. Growth-oriented talent thrive on projects that allow them to push their boundaries, prove their capabilities, and expand their skills.
- Provide consistent feedback. Encourage professional development and excellence with regular performance reviews to discuss strengths and opportunities for improvement. Reviews are also an excellent time to revisit an employee’s advancement plans and make appropriate adjustments.
- Reward growth. Recognize and celebrate the achievements of growth-oriented employees through bonuses, promotions, and celebrations. Making employees feel valued is a powerful retention tool.
Attracting, hiring, and retaining growth-oriented employees is crucial for success in today’s competitive economy. By creating an appealing internal brand, being selective throughout the hiring process, and cultivating a supportive work environment, you can build a strong team of growth-oriented individuals ready to put their skills to work for you AND for themselves.
Then again, if you’re too busy, you could always look to outsourcing experts like RDI to take on the headache of hiring and retention for your CX teams!