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The year 2020 has influenced the workplace more than any other year in the past hundred years.

Having recently celebrated Labor Day, we’re reminded of how far the workplace has come from the ways in which employees were once treated.  

Namely, we’re reminded of the ways in which the 9-5 work day and other working conditions have become standardized, with legally enforceable breaks dependent on how many hours are worked per day (though this is dependent on the job field, of course), and how much labor is involved or how much training and qualifications are required to execute tasks properly.  

And while pay is always a main factor in whether or not candidates accept a job position, the past year has created a whole new approach to hiring and has opened up an entirely new can of worms for those whose skills are in high demand, especially within the tech sector with the rise in WFH and virtual schooling.  

So how do you approach your next star candidate the moment you realize they are the perfect fit for your open position?  

1. Begin with benefits

Along with offering WFH opportunities and even flexible working hours, companies are becoming more and more invested in their employees, and are providing them with more comprehensive benefits to both encourage employee retention and happiness and overall environment across the company.  

While these can range from organization to organization—with many workplaces offering treats in the break room, shorter hours in the summer to encourage employees to enjoy the weather, and even company-wide team retreats or parties to foster a sense of community—the more a company grows, the more frequently they will need to hire to expand, and the more likely they are to invest in tactics to encourage employee retention. 

Take, for example, Crozier & Associates offering their employees a “first-time house buyer’s program” to assist their workers in making their down payments on their first homes.  

Not only is this incentive to even apply for the job—the more choice, the more likely they are to be able to be picky with whom they hire—but it is further a way for the organization to assure their employees are happy, taken care of, and feel too stable and comfortable in their position to even think about switching to work for someone else.  

And yes, this is easier said than done if you’re unable to provide the incredible benefits like a down payment on a home for your employees, but with all the hard work and time that goes into hiring, isn’t it worth investing in an employee’s happiness to ensure they’ll want to stay with your company and work hard every day than not?

2. Mean what you say to pay

It’s become a bit of a cliché for companies to say they offer their employees a “competitive wage”, but not providing a specific dollar amount (per hour or salary) because they are looking to see how much the employee is expecting to earn and negotiating from there.  

So, it goes without saying, if you’re creating a job posting for a position that doesn’t pay as much as competing companies would pay for the same position, false advertising will only get you resentful and short-term employees who will move onto the next position as soon as their pay is raised elsewhere.  

The best practice is to be transparent from the very beginning, and to not waste anyone’s time trying to convince them otherwise.  

If you aren’t able to provide the same pay as your competitors, highlight what makes you as an employer or the organization as a whole better than others and worth investing in, time and effort-wise.  

This can include both benefits and work flexibility, like the ability to work from home or choose certain working hours, and even the opportunities that can arise later on if they are looking for a position that allow for one to “climb the ladder” in a company in time, as opposed to ones that lead to a “dead end”.

3. Flex your flexibility 

If over the past year, your team has thrived or even stayed afloat while working from home, it may be a good sign that your employees can and prefer to work from home.

And as studies have shown that employees are not, contrary to popular belief, slacking off at home, it’s really a win-win situation to be able to allow workers to skip their daily commute and still get their work done in a timely fashion.  

With that said, if you are offering remote work to your employees, remember to stick to regular hours during which you contact with them—that means both contacting them and responding to their messages to you only during working hours, so as to discourage working beyond expected working hours and to encourage a healthy separation of work-life balance at home.  

Diana Bruk of BestLife says that “the irony of the modern workday is that it now contradicts its original purpose, which was to eradicate the exploitation of workers”.  

That is, while the 9-5 work day was enforced in the earlier half of the 20th century as a response of exploited workers, some employees continue to work beyond their expected working hours to appear more dedicated to their work than their peers, and while this may seem like a good thing, it can often lead to burn-out, a decrease in productivity, and feelings of resentment or under-appreciation.

It’s your responsibility to enforce work hours being the cut off for your employees, and while it may be difficult to do so, your team will thank you for it, and will understand that this means you value their time and effort, encouraging stronger emotional connections and a higher retention with them.

4. Self-esteem makes for a happy team 

The last on our list is as simple as it sounds: appreciation goes a long way, especially in a high-stress position.

This is our favorite because it’s the most accessible and available option when it comes to employee retention, and yet, it can make a huge impact on an employee’s happiness and overall well-being in their work life.  

In fact, in a survey by SHRM/Globoforce, 68% of respondents said their organization’s recognition program positively affected employee retention.  

In addition to positive reinforcement, sharing with employees feedback that is both positive and constructive can be both encouraging and motivational, offering them new challenges to which they will want to rise.  

Addressing these aspects of feedback can be both beneficial to them to know for future growth, and can also be beneficial for you to be able to address ways in which an employee can improve in a way that is productive rather than confrontational.  

Though it is important to remember that when addressing an employee with feedback—both positive and critical—you want to emphasize their importance in the company and how much you appreciate and support them.  

Conclusion

With the job market making its gradual recovery and remote work being offered by so many as a means of incentivizing candidates to apply, more and more companies are choosing to provide competitive benefits and other means of encouraging employee retention.

While high-pay and fancy benefits are always a bonus, transparency, strong communication, and support are easy, accessible, and crucial parts of a workplace that truly encourages and fosters long-lasting employee retention organically.  

If your organization has a high turnover rate or if you are noticing your employees experiencing displeasure or overwhelming stress at work, you may be hiring the wrong kind of candidate for the jobs you’re filling!  

Discover a candidate’s suitability for a position before hiring them with Packfinder, our complementary career fit assessment.  

Then, use benchmarks with Packfinder to filter candidates by potential in a particular job or work environment to ensure your employees are those who will be resilient and happy at your organization for years to come.