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How To Attract & Retain Talented People

May 27, 2019

The biggest ‘how’ question right now keeping leaders up at night is, “how to attract and retain talented people”

There is a war for talent going on and in this fast changing global economy businesses from many industries are feeling the pinch. The unemployment rate as of November 2018 was at all-time low of 5.6% the lowest in North America in over three decades.

The race to find talented workers is some researchers say will continue into 2020 and beyond and that’s with the impact of automation, AI and robotics. 

Competition for Workers is the Workers Themselves 

The reality is that every industry is challenged with finding good people and once finding them, keeping them for longer than a few years. The competition for talent is no longer with other industries such as technology companies like Amazon or Google. New competition includes start ups, and even entrepreneurial opportunities started by Millennials and Gen Z’s.

The average time on job has shrunk to about 3 years and that’s IF the worker likes their leader. 

Loyalty has shifted from ‘time on job’ to the speed with which a worker can learn grow and progress in his or her future career goals.

The competition includes the workers themselves having more work options than ever before. 

73% of 18 to 34 year olds found their last job through social media. 

A PWC report on future of work indicates that Millenials (workers in their mid 20’s to early 30’s) and Gen Z (workers in late teens to mid 20’s) are seeking to be self-employed if they cannot find work that they love. The number one work factor that Millenials and Gen Z’s are looking for is work flexibility. 

In addition to work flexibility, workers of all generations are looking for work that can be done remotely, work that can be done on own schedule and work that provides growth and learning. 

Unique Challenges to Attracting Workers 

The changing worker attitudes are creating unique challenge for businesses. Businesses are finding that there is a need to restructure the way business is done. For example, many companies are increasing flex hours, remote work and contract work to accommodate the changing landscape of worker preferences. 

Unique challenges in attracting workers include: 

-Perception of how traditional workplaces and limitations such as no opportunity for creativity or repetitive mundane work  

-Rural locations struggling to attract due to lack of community support for workers.

-Compensation models – lack of growth in income or opportunity

The above challenges can be mitigated by focusing on the benefits of the workplace. In addition, leaders have the opportunity to set up new systems and ways of working to adapt to the changing landscape of worker attitudes. 

Solutions For Attracting Talented Workers

The solutions to attracting talent is a multi-pronged approach and requires some creative ideas. Here are a few: 

  1. Websites need to be mobile friendly and need to have videos that show what it’s like to work in a municipality. 37% of millennial job seekers expect video and mobile websites. 
  2. Research shows that workers of all ages are willing to work in rural communities IF there are community resources for family. Rural businesses can work with community to ensure there are resources such as good schools, great child care and sources of fun family entertainment.
  3. With the rise of Internet access (it is predicted that by 2025 the entire world will have access to high speed Internet) there will be an increase in remote work. This means that where people live will be less important and that work can be done from anywhere. 
  4. Creative ways to find good workers include, reaching out to semi-retired or retired workers. Research has moved the average of retirement to 75 which means there are a lot of Baby Boomers who may have retired from one career but are now looking to work part time or on contract within a different industry.  Attract Millenials and Gen Z with ‘learnership’ opportunities where workers are paid to learn on the job. Leverage video testimonials by happy workers. Sell the benefits of working in a municipality that are appealing such as security, opportunity to grow within the industry, opportunity to learn and opportunities to serve the community. 
  5. Leaders have the opportunity to lead the changes that better reflect the changing worker attitudes. This includes reviewing all policies and procedures and asking the question, “does this policy support our goals of enhanced services for our clients or employees?”. In addition, leaders can crowdsource/survey their existing workers to help bring innovative ideas around structure of the business. 
  6. Lastly, businesses can look at their structures. The leaders need to look at what work is being done and how it’s being done. The future workplace will comprise of a mix of types of workers. It is predicted that 50% of the workforce will work remotely by 2025. A report by Upwork states that by that same time frame 30% of workers will be freelancers. And about 25% of workers will be full time workers working from a head office environment. There will be a rise in job sharing and part time jobs. And the rising impact of automation on some jobs will change the nature of work to be done and the skills needed by workers in the future. 

All of the changes impacting the future of work are impacting company’s abilities to attract workers. Leaders have an opportunity to lead the changes needed now to create attractive work environments for workers. 

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