What Does It Take to Attract and Retain Top Talent in the Modern Workforce?

In today’s job market, employees are complaining that there aren’t enough high-quality jobs, and employers are struggling to keep talent. Although a 10% turnover rate is deemed acceptable, the average yearly turnover rate in 2021 was closer to 57%. Understanding who the job seekers are can help business owners, managers and human resources departments attract and retain talent, maintain diversity and create a truly modern workforce.

The Workforce Revolution

Experts are saying that job seekers have an unprecedented advantage over those of years past. Workers have more options, and they’re wielding their decision-making power wisely. The pandemic caused many employers to rethink the way that they operate.

Almost 60% of employees whose work can be completed from home are working remotely at least part of the time. And more individuals are looking for telecommuting opportunities. In fact, job searches for remote positions have increased by 460% since the pandemic began.

In the past, workers simply jumped on the opportunities that were available to them. Now, job seekers are creating their own opportunities. It used to be that the CEO made decisions about where its employees would work. But now, workers often get to decide where they want to work. If a company isn’t offering a variety of flexible working solutions, new applicants may look elsewhere.

The percentage of workers that quit voluntarily has risen to 25% higher than before the pandemic. Employees are recognizing the value of their efforts. They’re setting boundaries and sticking to their standards, which means that businesses must understand what they’re looking for to attract and retain talent.

But different types of employees may be seeking distinct opportunities and benefits. Therefore, recruiters of a modern workforce need to use multifaceted strategies to ensure that their diverse employees are getting what they need.

Types of Employees in the Modern Workforce

If you want diversity in your work environment and skilled, satisfied employees, you need to know what those workers want. But there are different categories of job applicants, and you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Still, human resources departments and hiring managers can keep the following details in mind when searching for talent. Familiarizing yourself with the types of employees in the modern workforce can help you offer a wide range of benefits that set you apart from the rest.

Recent College Graduates

In today’s economy, recent college graduates seem to have more opportunities than ever to choose the right position for them. The Great Resignation has caused many employees to leave their jobs, creating an all-time high in job openings.

Salary is important to new college graduates. But income is not just about a competitive number. It’s about support. Younger workers place great deal of importance on matching the value that they offer with the compensation. They want to make sure that they’re recouping what they’re providing for the company. Therefore, if the salary doesn’t match the job description, new job seekers might look elsewhere.

They’re craving work-life balance with low stress. This means that they want a job:

  • In which they can use their skills
  • That provides opportunities for learning
  • With flexible parameters
  • With mental health and wellness benefits

To attract fresh talent, consider looking for candidates with transferable skills rather than experience. Many of these applicants are motivated to apply their knowledge to a real-world environment. Let them showcase what they can do, and don’t judge them for lack of experience.

Also, a younger audience is seeking jobs in non-traditional places. Networking and online job applications are essential. Use the right keywords in your job listings to showcase how you have created a company culture that supports your employees and offers comprehensive training and career development. 

At this stage, workers aren’t necessarily thinking about the future; they’re wondering where they can contribute and seeking a company that complements their values.

Traditional Employees

Traditionalists probably look a lot like your parents. They’re in the stage of their life where saving for the immediate and extended future are important. Therefore, job stability is just as important as income.

These candidates aren’t as risk-averse as new college graduates or upcoming retirees. Therefore, they’re more likely to stick around with your company for the long term.

However, that means that you need to offer benefits that will serve your employees for a long time. Salary goes a long way in retaining risk-averse employees. They want to ensure that their compensation will allow them to live the lifestyle that they want. Quitting an existing job and starting a new one doesn’t always seem like the most stable option. Therefore, traditionalists are often motivated by monetary compensation.

But they also need to be satisfied and understand how they can grow with your company. If there is no room for development, a traditional employee may not see a future with you and look elsewhere for a job.

Diverse Employees

Diverse employees are similar to traditional employees in that they want to work hard and get ahead. While stability and security are important to diverse employees, many are also seeking an organization where they can make their mark.

These types of candidates often look for jobs that resonate with their values. Company culture is extremely important to them. If they can’t see themselves working for you, they won’t.

The key to attracting, retaining and building a diverse workforce is to start with an open atmosphere. Promote your company instead of just the job to those applicants. Show them how your business strives to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion.

With the increase in remote work, companies are in a position to hire from a global workforce. Therefore, it’s vital to be sensitive to cultural differences.

Relaxed and Later Career Employees

There comes a time for many job seekers when financial security is high. They don’t need a job to survive. Instead, they’re looking for a way to focus their time, create meaning in their lives and make connections.

Attracting this group is less about salary and more about experience. These individuals want to contribute in a way that works for them. They often have plenty of knowledge and skills. However, they may need to adapt their proficiencies to a new industry or field.

Therefore, hiring managers and recruiters should look outside the box when interviewing these candidates. Instead of using rigid eligibility criteria, they should focus on the individual’s knowledge, adaptability and strengths. What can this employee do for you and what knowledge can they bring to your existing workforce?

Also, consider what these individuals want. They’re often seeking part-time employment or consulting engagements with minimal travel requirements. This type of position can fill gaps in the workforce that aren’t as enticing to other types of candidates.

Top Factors in Employee Recruitment and Retention

Everyone isn’t looking for the same thing when it comes to finding and keeping a job. Therefore, adapting these top factors in recruiting to meet the needs of each group will result in a more diverse workforce.

Salary

New college grads are often self-starters with plenty of energy and capacity to learn new things. What they lack in experience, they make up for with enthusiasm and eagerness to excel. On the other hand, someone in the later stages of their career likely has plenty of background in the workforce.

As an employer, expect all applicants to negotiate their salary. In fact, in this world where efficiency is prized, many job seekers will avoid applying for jobs that don’t list the compensation up front, and in many states this is now becoming a legal requirement. 

Promoting your base salary in employment listings can help you attract top talent. It shows that you’re transparent about your operations and policies and helps potential employees make informed choices.

Other Benefits

When it comes to negotiating a salary, remember that you can offer benefits that go beyond monetary compensation.  Candidates want to know that they are supported by their company, and that the benefits package is competitive with others in the market.  Candidates are inquiring about benefits such as PTO schedules, maternity and paternity leave, employer contributions to a 401k and/or profit sharing early on in the interview process as these are key factors in their decision making progress.  Employers often robust benefits packages, 

Perks never hurt. However, traditionalists may not be swayed by benefits that don’t have a direct impact on their income. Candidates that seek a diverse company culture may not care as much about perks that don’t support inclusion and connection. Therefore, don’t rely solely on a robust benefits package to impress every applicant.

Work-Life Balance

Creating an environment that encourages work-life balance improves employee engagement and reduces burnout. Recent graduates and employees that are nearing retirement age often place more importance on flexibility and balance than traditionalists. People who just want job security and an income that allows them to pursue their lifestyle may not be impacted by flexible schedules and the option to work remotely.  

However, everyone in today’s workforce is realizing that they have choices in how they work. In the past, flexible work arrangements more often than not, were provided to mothers returning to the workforce and needing a flexible schedule for their children. Now, technology has expanded the ability to network globally, and employees are taking back their right to create the lives that they want. 

In today’s job market, offering a flexible schedule or opportunity to work remotely can serve as an effective negotiation tool and be cost effective for your business. 

The best way to attract and retain top talent in this contemporary environment is to be transparent and responsive. Ask job applicants what they need, and be willing to use this feedback to fine-tune your offerings so that you can hire talent at all levels and glide through the next era with ease.