The job market is hot right now. According to EMSI’s job postings dashboard, as of February 2022, there were almost 13 million job postings, up 5% since January and 31% since this time last year. And, with the focus on remote work right now, it is only fair to point out that of those 13 million jobs, almost 900,000 of them are advertised as remote, a full 65% increase over 2021. In addition to openings, salary levels are going up and people are leaving jobs by choice at rates not seen ever before.
Most significantly, job candidates have a clear idea of the workplace values they are seeking. To be candid, the Great Resignation isn’t just about getting a higher-paying position, it’s about reassessing one’s values and determining what’s important, then pursuing opportunities that meet those precise needs. LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study found that job seekers rate work-life balance (63%), compensation and benefits (60%), and colleagues and culture (40%) as their top priorities when pursuing a new position.
From the job candidates’ perspective
Candidates want flexibility in their role to determine where they work and when they work. They want to be trusted to get the work done without the hassle of frequently reporting on progress. Employees want to know their work matters and that there is purpose beyond a paycheck. They want to see the company being accountable to the diversity, equity and inclusion intentions that were discussed so urgently in 2020. More than ever, job candidates are seeking opportunities for learning and development, in addition to a feeling of community among their work peers. And, they will not settle for a company that doesn’t meet their ideals.
To attract top talent in 2022 you must have a strong culture, good relationships between colleagues, and the right work-life balance at your company. While those features include understanding when remote employees’ family members make an appearance during the workday and knowing that you need to check in with employees regularly, it goes beyond that to the programs, policies, and practices that show candidates you’re putting action behind your words.
Here are four ways to attract top talent and cultivate recruiting power for your organization:
Ratings, reviews, and awards
Researching your employee experience
Your personal action plan
Anticipating what’s important to candidates
Your employee experience in writing
When candidates review your open job postings, reviews for your company are front and center. They can see how many current and past employees have posted about you and the average rating for those postings. Microsoft’s Glint, Inc., studies show that employees who feel cared about at work are 3.2x more likely to report being happy to work for their current company and 3.7x more likely to recommend working for their company.
In addition to the research candidates conduct on company review pages, they also pay close attention to who is on the major Best Places to Work (BPTW) lists offered by Glassdoor, Great Place to Work Institute, Forbes, and Fortune. While there is little crossover between the lists (only 6% of companies appear on more than one list and 0.5% of companies appear on all four lists), there is correlation between overall positive employee experience sentiment and placement on one of the lists. According to The Josh Bersin Company’s Definitive guide to employee experience, companies thought of as favorable by employees are 5.2x more likely to be a great place to work and are 5.1x more likely to engage and retain employees. Plus, these companies are 5.1x more likely to create a sense of belonging.
Research to understand employee desires
Now is the time to understand the reviews your company has received on Glassdoor and Indeed. What language are your employees using to describe the workplace or even the interview process? Is the language positive, indicating that there is good support, growth and internal mobility opportunities, appreciation and recognition, belonging, strong leadership, good work-life balance, and flexibility, along with other positive sentiments? On the opposite end of the spectrum, words such as toxic, favoritism, low pay, discriminatory or sexisst practices, and micro-manage, and other unfavorable words can have a negative impact on your candidate’s perception of your brand.
Also, consider how your company reviews have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. How are your managers leading teams during the seemingly endless evolution of the “new normal” at work? What support was offered at the height of the crises, and since things have settled down more? What are your employees saying about why they left a position and the company? Did leadership try to conduct or return too quickly to “business as usual” when the world was anything but “usual?”
Words such as toxic, favoritism, low pay, discriminatory or sexisst practices, and micro-manage, and other unfavorable words can have a negative impact on your candidate’s perception of your brand.
Conducting stay interviews – not merely exit interviews – will help you connect with your current employees and understand their perspectives. Stay interviews also help the company make adjustments and changes before the employees leave. Hearing from your current employees can help you craft new policies, create more engagement and communicate individual value to the organization, identify meaningful learning and development opportunities, respond to emerging trends, and be supportive in real-time.
Companies that are blind to the challenges of increased workloads, stress, and anxiety since the pandemic started are proving themselves to be tone deaf. Conversely, acknowledging that everything isn’t back to normal and the people are more stressed, anxious, and depressed than they have been in 50 years (Gallup Poll), gives your company power when it comes to meeting the workplace values that candidates are seeking.
Taking action as a leader
Your personal attitude about well-being at work is important. Having the perspective that you’re actually participating in the well-being of your company, division, and team is better than merely thinking that you are taking a minute out of your day to work on some tasks related to well-being. This is where you truly embrace the ideals and culture of a positive employee experience in your company.
As a people leader, you may have heard the theory that humans are hard-wired for connection. Use that knowledge to influence your actions daily and be sure you connect to your teams on a personal level. Ask how they are – then listen. If there is a way you can provide support, do it. Give them extra time or extra grace on a project. The opposite might also be true; they could be seeking more projects, more responsibility, more ways to contribute. Provide it when you can. When you cannot give them what they need immediately, be honest.
Ensuring that everyone on your team feels recognized, appreciated, and seen is a powerful way to build positive sentiments about the workplace. Say “thank you” when a team member completes a project. Recognize effort required on those projects that can be difficult to navigate. When discussing an issue, say “tell me more about that” to show you are interested in the whole picture.
If your company has a rewards program, use it. Recognize wins and efforts. Reward individuals and teams. Consider each of your team members’ actions, not just the high potentials or high performers on the team. Sometimes, recognizing the work that is being done to simply keep things moving forward will be important to the recipient of that appreciation. Verbal and specific recognition is powerful as well. Saying “The way you handled XYZ on that project was fantastic.” Or, “When you said X to the client, it’s like they bought the service right then and there. Good job.”
Ensuring that everyone on your team feels recognized, appreciated, and seen is a powerful way to build positive sentiments about the workplace.
Remember to have fun and be personable. Enjoy a couple minutes of chit chat at the start of a call. Follow-up when you know there was an important life event, a child’s birthday, or the purchase of a new home.
For employee experience, it is “one size fits one,” not “one size fits all.” Adjust your approach when appropriate and don’t force anyone to reveal personal information if that isn’t the way they want to connect at work.
Questions to expect
As candidates become more savvy about what they want, they will begin asking questions to help them understand the company. Here are a few to consider in advance:
How did/is the company tracking productivity with remote workers?
Tell me how skilling/upskilling/talent ecosystems and career pathways play a role here.
How is coaching or mentoring approached here?
What role does internal mobility play in this company?
How did the company adjust expectations to fit employee needs during the crisis?
How have the resignation trends impacted the business?
What is the current plan for work-from-home/hybrid location working?
What have you learned from employee experience surveys? What action is being taken?
When you look to the future, what role do you see __________ playing at the company?
Be prepared to speak to diversity, equity, inclusion, wellness, automation, employee experience, talent mobility, skilling, flexibility
Tell me about the company’s talent management and retention strategy.
Be prepared to talk about upskilling, reskilling, employee experience, benefits, internal mobility
Has the company evaluated equity across the board recently?
Candidates will be listening for policy changes, benchmarking, promotions, and opportunity.
How is the company holding themselves accountable for the DEI/wellness/equity intentions set?
The recruiter’s side
Your workplace culture will be the focus of candidates’ job search. True recruiting power comes from being able to connect with candidates, understand their needs, and align their potential with their workplace goals. When a company has an eye on wellness and talks about their focus on well-being, candidates will notice it.
Those comments and recommendations from your happy employees, your company’s presence on the BPTW lists, along with your job postings that highlight your well-being practices, make a difference for candidates. And, it does seem to be a trend. LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report found a 147% increase in job posts that mention wellbeing. Candidates decide whether or not to pursue a position based on what they find out when reviewing your company.
Recruiters need to be able to talk about the total package of employee experience and future opportunities to entice candidates to join a company. This means having programs in place to ensure equal opportunity for contribution, recognition, and visibility for both in-office and remote team members. Also, it doesn’t mean getting rid of the yoga classes, chair massages, or free snacks; it means helping the team members have an employee experience that makes those things an add-on of enjoyment to their job, rather than a necessary relief from it.
While recruiters know how to promote the great features of a company, giving them more power through the strength of your wellbeing programs and overall employee experiences will be a major advantage in the marketplace. Help the recruiting team succeed by showing how you care and invest in your people. Demonstrate leadership that is strong, yet compassionate to what employees may be going through in their non-work life.
Recruiters need to be able to talk about the total package of employee experience and future opportunities to entice candidates to join a company.
Ready to learn more? At Welligence, we specialize in mental health training programs for the workplace. Our courses are designed to lead companies to overcome the stigma of mental health concerns by way of education and implementation of workplace wellness best practices. Find out how we can help you normalize the mental health conversation in your workplace.
About the Author:
Kimberly Schneiderman’s expertise includes, training, program, and content development for career intelligence—turning thought leadership into action. Kimberly creates and manages a wide range of career intelligence resources and programs for professionals, leaders, and the career coaches who work with them, and frequently presents strategic, research-based webinars. Kimberly loves to work remotely from her home in Florida and owns an endless collection of the comfiest sweatpants.