In America, people are lucky enough to be able to choose their opportunities. From traditional office jobs to start-ups to freelancing, the options are always growing. This abundance of opportunities is the American Dream that draws immigrants like me to pursue success despite the challenges we might face in the process. But it also makes finding and retaining good employees more competitive.
In 2021, both quitting rates and job openings hit record highs, and with technology and remote work giving people more options for opportunity than ever, businesses looking to hire needed to up their game. Most of the time, good employees leave a company because something didn’t fit: pay, culture, mission, or growth opportunities. But one of the good things about good employees is they’re pretty consistent, so to attract and retain them, ensure your company aligns with these four things they do and want consistently:
ORGANIZE YOUR HIRING PROCESS
No one likes a bad first impression, so leave a good one with an organized hiring process in place before you even start seeking out candidates. An interview needs to involve more steps than answering questions and getting hired on the spot. Then, there needs to be more of a post-hire process than “Here’s a chair, and good luck!” If it seems like you’re just throwing together a plan as you go, this apparent disorganization could turn off a quality potential employee.
If you have any intention of hiring someone and keeping them long-term, add in a new-hire review process. Don’t drop the ball and forget about them the moment you fill the position. At least once a month, or at the bare minimum, quarterly, stay in some kind of touch with your new employee to see how they’re adjusting or if there’s anything they need to do their job better. Have processes in place to help them feel like part of the team and that they can make a difference, and up their incentive to stay with your company.
INVEST IN CULTURE
To be a company that people want to be a part of, you need to invest in establishing a culture employees love. Let people love their jobs publicly and promote them as dedicated brand ambassadors. Encourage your employees to share company events and activities on social media accounts so friends see them having fun at a cool place to work. All of our employees have T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats with our company logo and they wear them all the time—not just at work, which opens up conversations that can lead to someone arriving at our door looking for a job.
Create a company culture where people want to tell others how much they love their job. When our company first started out, we already knew many of our new hires because either we knew them or people we had worked with before recommended them. From there, most of our hires were internal hires. People stay with a company because they know they’ll have opportunities for growth. Eventually, you’ll become so well known for it that people will start coming to you asking if you are hiring. When word gets out that your company is a place worth working at, people come looking to you for work.
OFFER WHAT CANDIDATES WANT
Figure out what candidates want before you even hire them, and if your company is capable of offering it, make sure you do. Identify their main motivation or drive and see if and how it aligns with your company goals. If you can offer something great for a candidate, they’re probably going to be a great candidate. If you can’t, and you end up bending over backward to meet their expectations, it probably won’t work out in the long run.
By now, most companies considering potential employees do their due diligence on social media to see how candidates present themselves and if that presentation seems like a good fit. But guess what: Good candidates are smart, so they’re doing their own research on you and your company too. Remember this when you evaluate how you represent yourself as a professional and the face of your business. Put out a lot of good PR. Make it easy for candidates to find lots of positive information about your company so they see it as one they want to join.
KNOW WHERE YOUR TALENT EXISTS
Depending on who you’re hiring—the type of person, and for what type of industry—you may have to search through different pools of talent, so do enough research to know where you should look. Examine all possible avenues: college career expos, job boards, and professional social media. No matter where I am, I keep my ears and eyes open for potential hires. I’ll interview them right there on the spot if it sounds like they’re interested. They may not realize they’re being interviewed, but my questions are meant to evaluate their potential fit for the team.
Even if you’re not hiring or you choose to pass on a candidate, whenever somebody comes to you for a job, however it is they got there, keep them in your database. They may not be the perfect fit now, but when a position comes up where they might be, you can always reach out to them and give them another shot. The more places you have to look for good candidates when the time comes to hire, the more likely you are to find them.
At its core, the Great Resignation is largely a case of misalignment—companies pairing with employees who have different goals and expectations of one another. It might seem impossible to overcome this mass exodus of workers, but businesses fighting to attract and keep good talent can take steps to better their chances. By establishing hiring practices that allow you to more selectively choose candidates who align with your company’s goals and culture, you can drive job satisfaction and retain good employees.
Martin Rowinski is the CEO of Boardsi, a corporate board recruitment company.