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What Are Employees Looking For?

New York’s job market is one that has seen unprecedented growth in the private sector, coupled with low unemployment.  Because of this, New York employers need to rethink how they can successfully attract and retain talent.  We’ve asked our Compliance team members for some input on what they think employers should consider when navigating this competitive recruiting environment:

“What are prospective employees looking for these days?  Where do you think employers are missing the mark with recruitment strategies?”

Tee Nelson, Compliance Specialist:

Not clearly defining and incorporating the Company’s mission, vision and values into the culture. Employers are misguided if they assume that an employee’s personal values do not inform their decision of where to work. Millennial workers have one of the highest rates of volunteerism across generations, and Generation Z workers have become social activists at an early age. They want to make a difference, and the workplace is no exception.  Work that is not meaningful or that is out of alignment with the company’s stated mission, vision and values will lead to turnover which will sabotage recruitment efforts. Therefore, it is critical that employers know how to market the company’s mission, vision and values to attract employees. But, more importantly, companies need to be living the values in order retain workers who are guided by a strong sense of purpose.

Not investing in learning and development. Recruitment efforts should highlight the company’s commitment to training and development. A common complaint among employers is that younger employees expect to be promoted within short periods of time want, but they lack the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities for the desired promotion. Employers must go beyond labeling these employees as “entitled” and find ways to capitalize on this eagerness with targeted learning and development opportunities that will prepare employees for future promotions. It is not enough to tell an employee that they are not ready. Employers should help employees become ready with programs that focus on the employee’s individual development and career progression, such as individual development plans (IDPs), career pathing or career ladders. Employees are likely to feel more engaged when they believe that their employer is concerned about their growth and provides openings for them to reach their individual career goals.

Jon Spike, HR Consultant and Compliance Specialist:

Not Providing Ongoing Opportunities for Recognition. Employees now want to be a “part of something larger than themselves” and they want to feel connected to that.   One way they feel that they are is by feeling valued in their role within their organization.  If they are coming in each day and doing a good job but are never being recognized for the good work they are doing, to them, the value is not there.  What results is engagement starts to wane and eventually those good employees wind up leaving because they were never incentivized to stay.  And the incentive can be as simple as recognizing someone for a job well done on a regular basis.  This tells employees that they are valued and because of that they work harder because they want to and not because they are told to; it is because they have become invested in the product and the business.

Not Allowing for Flexibility.  Nowadays, the world is built on technology which can be a double-edged sword; if managed poorly it can tear a company apart, but if managed well it can help to streamline an organization’s processes and allow it to flourish.  Employees coming into the job market now want the ability to work in several different configurations.  An organization that is capable of such flexibility is set up for this new wave of workers.  Studies have shown when flexibility is introduced, morale, commitment, and willingness to work increase and stress decreases.  The days of a rigid, non-bending work environment are over.  The sooner organizations embrace this, the sooner they can begin retaining talent at a higher rate.

Adrienne Schleigh, Compliance and Training Manager:

Time to button up your recruiting processes.  I agree wholeheartedly with both Tee and Jon’s recommendations.  Employers need to look forward when determining what prospective employees in today’s job market are looking for.  In addition, all employers should take a step back and take a comprehensive look at their entire recruitment process.  In short, what employers have been doing for 10 or more years may no longer be effective, let alone compliant.  HR Works conducts a recruitment assessment for clients who are interested in getting an outside perspective on their internal recruitment procedures, from job postings through onboarding.  We have seen that even those clients that have had relative success in attracting candidates have benefited from our recommendations on best practices and addressing compliance concerns that arise from inconsistent recruitment practices.  If you are interested in learning more about our Recruitment Assessment service, reach out to!

HR Works, Inc., headquartered in Upsate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.