5 Ways to Attract and Retain Young Talent

It’s becoming increasingly imperative that companies do everything in their power to keep up with the needs and expectations, not just of their customers, but of their employees. To attract a workforce that views you as an employer of choice and feels committed to your company is becoming more and more difficult as the demographics of the workforce grows and evolves. This year, over a third of the workforce will be Gen Z, meaning that all the work you did to try to attract millennials is going to need to be reviewed and adjusted.

But that isn’t such a bad thing. Your company should always be working to improve its culture to be the most attractive to new talent. It’s just part of the game. Thankfully, there are large trends that you can follow to help guide you to the best decisions around what benefits and perks you should offer, personalizing them to the distinctive needs of your company.

Personal Development

The lifecycle of a typical career has evolved dramatically over the past 40 years. Where an employee used to stay with the same company for decades and work their way up the ladder, employees now are viewing their career as happening in a series of waves, not linear steps in a ladder. With more and more people expecting to work longer than their predecessors, there is a natural expectation for more variety within a career, with more frequent breaks.

Younger generations are continuing to evolve by prioritizing jobs that offer opportunities to grow and develop their skillset, which will widen their career options moving forward. Four out of five employees consider the opportunity to develop new skills a critical factor when considering employment options.

Giving your employees opportunities to attend classes, conferences, and access learning opportunities is a great way to get the most potential out of your hires while building loyalty and engagement.

Flexibility 

Younger generations are exceedingly interested in employment that allows them to have greater control over their schedules. Consider implementing flexible work schedules, offering flex time, or even fully remote positions at your company. You may find that you can actually save money while increasing productivity by providing remote working opportunities.

Wellness

It’s common knowledge that Gen Z and Millennials have put a stronger emphasis on the importance of a healthy work-life balance, and as an employer, it’s important to factor this into your attraction and retention plans. Younger generations are seeking employers who offer wellness programs that support their needs and show that the company values their health. There is a large selection of wellness perks and programs to choose from, so you can select the perfect-fit programs for your company and staff. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide a monthly gym membership to employees
  • Offer a monthly stipend to be put towards personal wellness (massages, yoga classes, etc.)
  • Provide educational opportunities for employees to learn about nutrition, sleep, and self-care

Whatever you provide, make sure you’ve talked to your employees about what they actually want. That way, when you make the commitment to offer a wellness perk, you know it’s going to be used and appreciated.

Financial empowerment

Young generations face high levels of financial challenges, such as student loan debt, high cost-of-living, and excessive healthcare expenses. The current financial situation employees are dealing with has them expecting to work longer into their lives to be able to survive. You can support these employees by offering 401K programs, student debt matching, and financial coaching.

More employees than ever report being stressed by their financial situation. By offering them a way to find better financial security and relieve their anxiety, you’re showing them you not only understand their needs but are willing to help them meet and overcome their challenges.

Develop a positive hiring experience and company culture

According to a survey, nearly 80% of candidates consider their hiring experience as a top indicator of whether or not the company values its employees. Over 90% of job seekers research at least one resource to determine the employer’s brand before applying. This indicates a strong emphasis placed on company culture and values.

Make sure your hiring and onboarding process is candidate-friendly, accessible, and easy-to-execute. Do your workplace culture and online presence match up? Find ways to communicate the core values of your company through your hiring process and take pains to ensure they align with the experience of a committed employee. You want your candidates to know who you are from the get-go so they can make an informed decision whether or not to apply and aren’t disappointed when they join your team.

Never stop improving

As our world and culture develop, so do the expectations and needs of employees. Carve out time every year to evaluate how well your company is keeping up. Doing so won’t just make you look more attractive to prospective talent; it will help keep the talent you already have happily working for you.

 

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Empowering Employees Through Financial Wellness

The heightened frustration around the rising cost of living in the US is unmistakable and likely felt in your organization. Extreme healthcare costs, massive student loan debt, and rising housing costs have put an enormous strain on the American workforce. 

In a study on employee financial wellness in 2019, it was found that the leading source of employee stress across generations stems from financial issues. Despite record-high employment, employees are still struggling to meet rising financial demands across the board. Nearly half of all employees struggle to pay their household expenses on time each month. More and more people are expecting to work into their retirement to pay for healthcare and living costs.

So what does this mean for employers trying to attract, retain, and care for their talent?

It’s an opportunity to find ways to empower and support your employees financially.

But how?

There are many ways to provide financial support services to your employees, but it’s critical you understand the particular needs of your workforce. What might be right for a start-up tech company may not work for a retail store or small insurance agency.

To identify what services are right for your employees, it’s always a good idea to start by asking them! Conduct an internal survey to pinpoint where your employees need help. You can decide how to best address the needs once you know what they are.

There are a few common financial pain points; however, you can expect to find in most communities. Here are some ideas to address them.

1. Offering 401k plans with matching contribution

It isn’t far-fetched to assume that everyone—really, everyone—wants to retire someday. And with 80% of people expecting to work during retirement, you really can’t go wrong by providing an opportunity for your employees to get in (or ahead of) the game. Tax breaks are available to businesses offering 401K matching plans to their employees, which helps mediate the overall cost of set-up and maintenance.

To those employees you’re hoping to attract and retain, offering a 401k plan with matching contribution says you care about their future and are willing to invest in it. Doing so will help build loyalty to your company and will play into a company culture that values the empowerment of its employees.

2. Student loan repayment 

It’s widely known in the US that student loan debt has increasingly damaged people’s ability to thrive. It’s common to hear graduates working extra jobs, moving back home with their parents, and living in poverty to pay off their bills. Here’s what the numbers tell us:

Ok, so these numbers are pretty scary. Thankfully, there are ways that employers can help support those employees who are struggling to pay off their student loans. Two options are Student Loan Replacement Plans (SLRPs) and student loan matching programs. Do your research on the available options to make sure the benefits program you choose is right for your particular employee population. 

3. Short and long-term disability (STD and LTD)

Statistically, a quarter of all adults in the US will live with a disability in their lifetime. Offering long and short-term disability benefits can play a critical part in your employee benefits strategy. However, it’s essential to understand the different programs available and exactly how they provide support. Not all plans are created equal. For instance, STD and LTD programs define disability in a variety of ways. Some follow the definition followed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is more rigid, where some have a broader and more flexible definition, allowing a more comprehensive range of people to access support.

Join the cause

Whatever options you choose for building a financial support system for your workforce, make sure you communicate with your employees about their level of need and interest and do your research accordingly. Providing relevant and easy-to-use solutions will make your employees feel supported and cared for.

Whether you choose a benefits package to help employees with student loans, get the upper hand on retirement savings, or offer financial protection in a time of need, you’re showing employees you’re invested in their well-being and care about their future success.

People want to work for a company that wants to see them succeed. There’s no better way to show you believe your employees are valuable than offering benefits that will provide real value to them. It’s not just good for your company culture and brand image; it makes a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people working for you. Now that’s real value.

 

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Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd 

Think Brand Doesn’t Play a Role in the Hiring Process? Think Again.

In today’s world of online expansion, many aspects of business success have changed dramatically, influencing the way companies compete with each other, connect with their customers, and even make sales. Companies have had to adjust their priorities, setting their online presence and customer experience at a much higher bar. It isn’t far-fetched to say that brand image is a major source of life blood to a company, playing a massive role in attracting new customers and filling the pipeline. 

These days, customers have access to an immense amount of information about your brand, from reviews of products to price comparisons between your competitors. People trust each other’s online reviews nearly as much as they trust personal recommendations. More than half of consumers will only purchase from a company with a star rating of four or more. It’s up to your business to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that what’s being said about it online is beneficial to the company.   

There are countless B2B services based on this idea. Marketing agencies, website developers, customer outreach teams, and data analysists all working to build and maintain a healthy brand image. But there’s a whole part of building a brand image that isn’t talked about nearly enoughemployee and candidate experience.  

Everyone matters 

It goes without saying that what people say about you online matters. But when was the last time you checked to see how candidatefriendly your hiring processes are? Have you ever looked up employee reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor? What about internal surveys to gauge the employee onboarding experience  

Unfortunately, candidates are often the last priority on the long list of people companies are worried about. But this is a mistake, especially now when the employment rate is at a record high. Companies have to compete with each other for talent and stand out as a preferred place of employment to potential candidates. And anyone who comes in contact with your company has the potential to influence your brand image through online reviews. 

So how do you make sure your candidates (whether or not they become employees) walk away feeling good about their experience with your company? 

Call them back 

A common mistake that many businesses make is failing to communicate with candidates. Making sure to call them back, whether or not they’re getting an interview or moving to the next step in the application process, isn’t just polite, it’s respectful.  

If someone has taken the time out of their day to apply to work at your company, they deserve the two minutes it will take to call and acknowledge their effort. Remember, everyone who interacts with your company should have a positive experience. They may be a future customer, or reviewer, or even a candidate for a different position. Treating them with respect by taking the time to call them back and tell them where they are in the process is paramount to ensuring they walk away having had a good experience.  

Be transparent 

An informed candidate is a higher quality candidate. Think about it. If a candidate has to jump through hoops to submit their resumeor doesn’t know if the position is offering the salary they need, or can’t easily find the job description, they’re going to be frustrated at best. 

Being transparent about everything from the application process to the starting salary and benefits allows candidates to ensure they aren’t wasting their time applying for a job they don’t want, or that isn’t right for them. If you provide them with clear expectations around how they will move through the process, you remove confusion and increase ease. Its better for them, and you.

Be Timely  

Just because someone is applying to work for you doesn’t mean you should prioritize your time over theirs. More often than not, candidates are already employed and have to take time out of their workday to come to an interview. So it’s costing them money and/or time to arrive for an interview. Make sure your interview process reflects your understanding of the time and effort needed on their end. Don’t show up late or cancel last minute.   

Additionally, companies often make the mistake of thinking their candidates are only in competition with each other, when in fact, your company is in competition for the best candidate. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long before reaching out to them. Or you’ll lose them to a company that beat you to them. Plus, there’s nothing worse than to be left hanging. Let them know whether or not they got the job or are being moved to the next round. Even if you call to let them know they didn’t make the cut, at least they won’t be left wondering.  

Take the opportunity 

Every time your company interacts with someone, you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on your brand image. Each person who walks away from your company is a potential brand ambassador, customer, or reviewer. If your company is really about creating a positive experience, then every interaction, internal and external, should play into those values.  

 

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Photo by grki

The Critical Role HR Plays in Business Success

HR plays an integral part of any organization. The roles of these professionals include much more than recruiting new employees; they also develop strategies geared towards productivity, training, and employee engagement. For the most part, a company’s human resource department oversees and helps facilitate a large portion of business operations. 

HR responsibilities are often comprised of behind-the-scenes work and are not always viewed as playing such a key role in the success of a business. Yet its this department that is dedicated to finding people with the right talents, skills, values, and attitudes to get the day-to-day responsibilities taken care of. They’re responsible for ensuring that once you find the right people, they get to work in an environment that’s welcoming, inspiring, and productive. 

Without HR doing this necessary legwork, how would a business exist?Following are four critical HR functions that contribute to business’s success 

Recruiting and hiring 

Finding the right people to fulfill job responsibilities is not an easy task and companies that fail to see the complexity of the process often end up losing money. Hiring is a big project for just one new or replacement position. When you have ongoing hiring needs, it can be a full time job itself.  

Of course, when there’s an open position, hiring managers want it filled ASAP. It makes sense, but it puts tremendous pressure on HR to not only get it done, but get it done well. It’s difficult and time consuming to sort through the applications, looking for the most talented people who will be competent in the job role.   

And when you find the people with the right skills, you have to continue sorting through during the interviews to find people who will be a good fit with the company culture. A good skill fit does not equate to a good culture fit. And a poor match between employee and company culture can spell disaster. Not only will the employee not be happy, everyone around them will feel it as well. One employee who doesn’t fit the culture well can disrupt the whole company.   

Poor hiring choices can result in lost revenue from lost productivity due to unnecessary distractions, the potential loss of other employees who are negatively impactedand the expense of having to search again and replace the ill-fitting employee. And these are just the revenue issues, not even mentioning the other HR nightmares (social, emotional, reputational, legal that come from a bad hire! 

All in all, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose with hiring and it’s in HR’s hands to make sure the process is done successfully. Whew!  

Training and development  

HR has the responsibility to ensure that employees are skilled and working as efficiently as possible. This starts from the very beginning of the new relationship with the onboarding process and continues throughout their lifecycle with the company.  

Conducting ongoing job performance assessments and identifying skill gaps for their teams is a critical role that hiring managers play. This information then gets rolled up to HR to help find the training resources to raise the skill level of the team.   

Company productivity, quality standards, and employee safety are all dependent on keeping staff trained with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their roles at the highest level.   

Employee engagement 

One of the most common reasons for employee turnover is dissatisfaction in a job. So, once again, we turn to HR to help identify the issues and provide the solutions.  

Employees who feel connected to the company, their supervisor, and their teammates are much happier and engaged in the work they do. The culture fit is back as a critical element, and so is the fit for the job. Doing work they enjoy with people they enjoy makes for a happy work day.  

Most people want to excel at their job, and when they receive the necessary direction and feedback about the work they’re doing, they’re much more likely to feel engaged. It’s really hard to do a job without feedback and without coaching help along the way.   

Supervisors may not feel comfortable giving this constructive feedback. But on the flip side, employees are not likely comfortable doing a job blindly and having to wait for an annual performance review to get some nuggets of retrospective advice. While HR may participate in some of these conversations with employees, most importantly, their role is to train supervisors to have these ongoing, constructive coaching/feedback conversations themselves 

As important as the constructive feedback is, recognition plays an important part of the employee engagement equationEmployees who receive recognition for hard work and accomplishments feel valued and are more productive as a resultSo HR to the rescue again, finding ways to keep a pulse on the organization, acknowledgachievements, and encourage and nurture a positive rapport with employees 

Building a positive environment 

The work environment is critical! Not only does HR need to ensure they’re hiring for the right cultural fit from the beginning, but they need to ensure the environment stays positive and productive all year round.  

This starts from the very beginning with candidates and new hires alike, conveying the importance of contributing to a positive environment. The goal should be to create a pleasant work environment where everyone feels appreciated and works together as a team.  

Through documentationongoing discussion, and even training sessions for  company values, ethicsand policies, HR emphasizes the importance of having positive, respectful environmentNot only does this create a safe environment for the employees on the team, but it protects and enhances the company reputation, as well.

The HR department is always developing new strategies to increase performance, find and retain great employees, keep everyone happy, and ensure the budget is metHR professionals could say this is only a fraction of what they do, and they certainly wouldn’t be wrong! 

HR is incredibly valuable to your company strategy and  they could probably use a little extra recognition anappreciation for the difficult work they’re responsible for managing. You never know, they might just be whats standing in between your company and a compliance disaster, or hiring debacle, or budgeting nightmare.  Support your HR team. Celebrate them. It’s well deserved! 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by langstrup

Social Media for Your Business: Behind the Scenes

Social media is rampant and here to stay. You already get this. You understand that marketing on social media is a big part of building your brand and finding new customers. There are thousands of articles titled things like “Social Media is Here to Stay” and “Why Your Company Needs an Online Presence.”  You’ve probably read some of them. 

You know its importance for establishing your company’s social credibility and promoting your products. But social media channels offer so much more useful stuff than just a space to promote your products. It can become a tool to keep your company ahead of the curve and build the kind of following that pushes you to where you want to go.  

So what are we talking about here? Special secret doors of coding that can lead your company to the pot at the end of the capitalist rainbow? Maybe not. But we can tell you about a couple great uses of social media that can help give you the insight and support your business needs to succeed—beyond just promoting your products.  

Social listening 

Social media provides an opportunity to learn more about your audience and your surrounding community. It opens you up to potential customers near and far and allows for you and your audience to observe each other.  

One key to building a successful customer experience is understanding your company’s ideal customer, creating a buyer persona, and using this partially real/partially constructed personality to guide the way you develop your customer experience, your marketing initiatives, and your products. 

Building a buyer persona is tricky. You want to use a mix of real data and well informed decisions about personality traits, along with buyer pain points, so you can tailor your customer experience to best meet the needs and expectations of your customer. And where better to look for useful data and information about your customers and audience than social media?  

Using social media channels, you can get an indepth look at how your customers interact with and talk about your brand. You can learn about other brands and companies they interact with, and the kinds of common pain points that drive them to look for solutions. You can: 

  • Read review sites that cover your market to identify what people find frustrating about your industry and find opportunities for you to fill gaps in what is available. 
  • Keep tabs on what your competition is doing, how they are approaching their customer base, and where they are excelling and lacking. 
  • Learn about shared interests of your audience, discovering what people in your community have in common (pain points, interests, and methods of communicating). 

Once you begin down this path, you’ll see just how far it goes. There is an endless amount of information and data you can collect to inform your customer experience, your buyer personas, and your company as a whole. 

Market your company to job seekers 

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often businesses simply post a job on Indeed and call it good. But the statistics say it’s no longer acceptable for companies just to stop at posting a Craigslist ad. This study found that 94% of working Americans would visit a company’s social media before applying to work for them.  

People want to work for (and buy from) a company that aligns with their values and makes them feel good. Especially now that employment is at an alltime high, companies have no excuse not to do everything in their power to attract top talent.   

Using your social media platform to promote your company values, your brand vision, and your culture isn’t just a great way to drive people to have positive emotional responses to your brand, but it will do wonders in driving the talent you need to your door.   

Here’s how you can optimize your social media to help attract talent. 

  • Get your employees involved in company social media. Have them share articles, post reviews, and stay active on the company page.  
  • Promote information about your company culture. Highlight your values, any charitable events you sponsor or participate in, and perks you provide for your employees. 
  • Share educational information for people involved in your industry. This helps build your brand authority and sets you up as a reliable source of helpful and useful information to both customers and workers in your industry.  

More, more, more! 

Do your company a favor and do your research. Find out what you don’t know about the tools social media can provide you. The more you delve into all the ways social media can get your company ahead, the more difficult it is to ignore.   

Social media is a massive resource, and it’s free. The opportunities for what you can mine from social channels and how you can expand your brand’s voice and power are unlimited. And the really exciting thing is that it’s always expanding. So, jump in and take advantage of the opportunity social media can provide, both to your customers and to your company.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ronstik