Guest Blogger: Michael Maggiotto, Jr. PHR, SHRM-SCP, Head of Advisory at BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group
Talent acquisition and retention are currently the most pressing issues facing businesses today. The sourcing, screening, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding of top employees to either grow the business, stabilize the company, or backfill positions vacated through voluntary or involuntary terminations is taking up an unbalanced and overwhelming amount of time and effort. The pandemic is a primary driver of the issue, which has brought on the new challenges of the Great Resignation/Retirement/Reset [insert “R” word here] and not just because of the dangers to the health and even lives of the employee population. Many employees are resigning their positions not to go on unemployment or even to move to a competitor but instead because of their perception of how they were treated in the early stages of the pandemic when layoffs and closures happened; because of their perception of how they are being treated today with the controversies around masking, testing, and vaccinations; and because they have discovered during the layoffs in the early stages just what is important to them or the need and benefits of a better work/life balance; and so are leaving to go into different industries, open their own businesses, or into jobs they perceive will provide better opportunity to support themselves and their loved ones. Because of this, finding top talent and convincing them to join your organization is more challenging than ever before.
We are further seeing massive exits from the workforce – especially in the tech space. There have been significant drops in the labor participation rate. Many attributed this to the pandemic alone, and that is not the case. We have known since the early 2000’s that the Baby Boomer generation would eventually retire. Up until February 2020, it appeared they would continue working far longer than any other generation in the workforce, but the pandemic did have an effect in accelerating the exit of Baby Boomers from the workforce. They began to ask themselves, “Is this really what I want to deal with in the twilight of my life? Isn’t family more important? Shouldn’t I enjoy all that I have built, gained, and acquired throughout my life rather than add more stress or risk my life and those I love by working through this pandemic?” While the pandemic has affected the decline of labor participation, it is primarily the exit of a generation already known to be leaving the workforce that is having the significant impact we are seeing today.
And with those exits, who is left to fill the void? If the labor participation rate decreases, talent acquisition has a big problem on its hands. After all, they cannot recruit people who do not exist.
Retaining the human capital they already have is what many businesses hope is an outcome of their efforts in talent acquisition and increased total rewards (compensation and benefits as a whole), and that is a mistake. Hope is not a strategy, and retention should be an initiative all its own. While the right talent acquisition and total rewards initiatives and strategies will significantly impact retention, there is so much more to it. To retain talent, businesses must understand that people do not join a company exclusively for the role into which they are hired, they enter a company for that role and the potential for personal as well as professional growth. They look for increased responsibility, contribution to organizational success, giving back to the community, and income growth to achieve their own financial goals. While companies profess to provide this growth to employees, too many have been quick to replace employees before and even during this pandemic, and it has left a sour taste in the mouths of many employees. Businesses that are successful at reducing or eliminating the impact of the Great Resignation are genuinely focused on defining how they treated and currently treat their employee population differently and better than their competition; they provide a strong and positive culture that exemplifies caring and support for their people; they develop an active social cause employees welcome giving back to, and they clearly articulate a career path and the learning and development programs that will help their employees meet personal and professional objectives. While this sounds like something that only the largest of the Fortune 500 firms could achieve, many small and medium-sized businesses are doing precisely these very same things on a different scale, and the scale of the initiatives should align with the scale of the business.
Align yourself with expert and experienced partners. Whether conducting an HR audit of the entire function enterprise-wide or Interim Executive HR Leadership support, the right HR Expert advisor can provide the strategic support your company needs to overcome these challenges. Collaborating with all levels and functions of your business enterprise-wide, they can guide the human capital strategy aligned with organizational strategy and develop a roadmap to meet your needs. Even if you have a highly competent and seasoned HR professional on your team, they need help and support during these changing times. In this situation, perhaps HR Functional or Executive Coaching may be sufficient – someone to challenge the strategic thought process, encourage engagement, and guide performance through the unique set of challenges that your organization faces. Executives at businesses small to large and across all industries agree that no one knows everything, that the sign of a strong professional is knowing when they need help and asking for it. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness but a display of strength and a passion for the business.
If you have not yet considered or selected a Strategic Human Capital Consultant to support your HR function and business, now may be the time. With so much at stake, so many struggles and challenges, know that you are not alone. Help is here.
The Answer for Today and Tomorrow
In this unprecedented business environment, it may also be time to shift your thinking on recruiting and make an investment to bring on an experienced hiring partner. One that can help you acquire the right talent and put your company in a position to grow. We can help.
New Iron Solutions realizes that it is more important than ever not just to fill a position but fill it with a candidate that will take your company to the next level. It may be time to bring on an experienced partner to help you navigate this new age as the cost of IT employee turnover and missed opportunities are just too high to ignore. We help drive the achievement of our client company’s strategic goals by identifying middle management to C-Level leadership professionals. They align with the culture, behaviors, and results valued by your organization.