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Rethinking Workforce Now and in the Future
The Great Resignation.
A Turnover Tsunami.
If you’re a business leader, you’ve probably seen these terms floating around in recent months. Or (more likely) maybe you’ve even experienced this phenomenon firsthand. A staggering 48% of American workers are actively seeking new jobs, and as many as 55% are planning to jump ship in the next 12 months.
With the world of work having changed for so many, employees are waking up to what really matters to them when choosing a job. As a result, business leaders are struggling more than ever to attract and retain great people.
It’s clear we need a new approach. But how do we get there?
A Trendy New Name for an Age-Old Problem
If you’re familiar with Kinesis, you know we’ve given this a lot of thought. We’ve long believed that real transformation starts with your people, and in the power of engaged employees rallying behind a common purpose. (Hey, we even wrote a book about it.)
Over the past two decades, we’ve been proud to watch our client businesses bring their annual retention from 50% to 96%. Or manage a period of rapid growth by filling 20 new positions practically overnight.
The lesson? In a tough labor market, companies that have prioritized their people and built a remarkable working environment are the ones that come out on top.
Workforce Solutions in the Near- and Long-Term
These sorts of transformations require a lot of time, energy, and focus… and the best way to approach them is through sustained, long-term changes (a little like hopping on a treadmill).
But of course, in times like these the problem is more immediate. Maybe you’re less in need of a new workout routine and more in need of a way to stop the bleeding. Turnover is urgent and painful, and many business leaders are seeking ways to address it in the near-term (less treadmill, more tourniquet).
Fortunately, we’ve got recommendations for both.
Tourniquets (Or, Filling Positions Now)
Think like a marketer
For a long time, recruiting has been siloed as an HR function. At Kinesis, we believe HR and marketing are inherently related — meaning every activity from recruiting to retention is a marketing tool designed to help you nurture relationships with candidates. Start by figuring out what your right-fit candidates are seeking in a next opportunity and position your company in a way that will get their attention.
Update your job descriptions
Not all job descriptions are created equal. Don’t believe us? Head over to Indeed and click on a random job posting. For the most part, you’ll see lots of bullet points, corporate jargon, and bland, cookie-cutter qualifications like ‘communication skills.’ How can you write a better job description?
- Highlight your mission and values right away and illustrate to candidates how their role contributes to your larger purpose. You can also use the job description to communicate your culture and what makes it remarkable.
- Demonstrate your commitment to making the world a better place. The business world can no longer claim neutrality on the issues that matter most to candidates. If you’re committed to sustainability, or equity, or any particular initiative dear to your team’s heart, be sure that information is front-and-center.
- Go beyond standard perks and benefits, and instead focus on what sets your company apart from other employers. Do you offer flexible scheduling? Childcare? The ability to work from home? Paid parental leave?
- Paint a picture of what the future looks like for this role. Candidates are likely looking for new jobs because they don’t see a future in their current one. What type of professional development opportunities do you offer? What types of career paths would this position lend itself to?
- And of course, make sure your language is as inclusive as possible.
Leverage your networks
Often, the best endorsement for a candidate or a position comes straight from direct experience. Encourage employees to amplify positions on social media or share directly with their communities, thereby exponentially increasing your reach. Think through where else your ideal candidates may be searching that you haven’t tapped before.
Treadmills (Or, Building a Great Workplace)
Then again, if you’re experiencing the Great Resignation then you’ve probably already tried many of these “tourniquet” measures. If they’re not working, it could be time for a more comprehensive overhaul. (Or, to extend the metaphor, some serious lifestyle changes.)
Time for some hard truths: what if you’re struggling to find candidates because there isn’t anything fundamentally remarkable about your organization as a place to work? Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective employee. What do they see when they compare opportunities at your company to others in your industry? What would compel them to choose you as an employer?
If you’re unsure, this problem goes deeper than your job descriptions. How could you reimagine your business to be attractive to your ideal candidate? This could mean:
- Taking on more stimulating projects (because interesting work attracts interesting people).
- Restructuring how you bill or how your team accounts for their time, to place more emphasis on innovation.
- Creating affinity groups, to allow employees to explore interests outside of day-to-day demands.
- Becoming a B Corp, to demonstrate your commitment to social and environmental standards, and invite candidates who share that commitment.
- Reimagining your org chart around cross-functional teams, to communicate how each role exists within your larger ecosystem.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but it begins by asking better questions about what type of workplace environment you’d like to create.
Treadmills In Action: Meet Loupe
The Great Resignation isn’t a one-way street; these workers must be going somewhere. So where are they headed? What draws people away from one company and towards another? Who are the businesses reaping the benefits of the Turnover Tsunami?
Our friends at Loupe have always been a remarkable business with a unique culture centered around trust and collaboration. By leveraging some of the same strategies above, they’ve created a culture of creativity, innovation, and fun. They’re recruiting in new and revolutionary ways — even making hiring videos specifically to reflect the company’s values to prospective candidates. In other words, they’ve mastered not only being remarkable, but communicating it outwardly in a way that’s compelling and effective.
In an environment where everyone is struggling to hire and retain great people, Loupe has continued to grow their team — and in fact, candidates are seeking them out. Take a look at their growth trajectory over the past few years, while other businesses have struggled:
Traditional recruiting has always involved capturing as many applications as possible and sifting through them to find right-fit candidates. But if you have a strong purpose and brand identity, right-fit candidates who share your values will come looking for you… and eventually, like Loupe, you’ll actually have a bench of candidates to draw from when new positions open up. Why? Because workplaces like Loupe, where employees can show up fully and contribute in meaningful ways, are the ultimate destination.
Hire Today, Build for Tomorrow
Now that we’re seeing “The Great Resignation” in full effect, it’s time for us to shift how we approach hiring and retention. The outdated ideas around organizational structure, culture, and employee engagement are no longer serving us — and are just downright bad for business. An approach that combines short-term solutions (tourniquets) and long-term strategies (treadmills) will help you find and retain right-fit candidates both now and in the future.
Are you seeking a space to discuss workforce challenges alongside other purpose-driven business leaders? Join us for our annual Catalyst Summit.