The Winners and Losers in Retaining Talent

Recent unemployment, workforce participation, and inflation trends require organizations to change their mindset about attracting talent from selecting to selling. Jay Millen, Managing Partner of Caldwell’s Board and CEO Practice, shares practical tips on how to differentiate yourself as an employer to recruit and retain talent in this recent Industry Today article.

Excerpted from Industry Today:

As we approach the labor market in Q2 2023 we are in uncharted waters regarding unemployment, workforce participation and inflation – creating a talent tsunami. In most of urban America and Canada the most visible impact of this is in the service sector where restaurants and smaller business are curtailing hours or even days open given lack of available staffing. 

So let’s look at the numbers: In the US ending Q4 2022 we continued to sustain job openings in excess of 10 million and a minor shrink in imbalance that at current rates would take more than 5 years to “work off” reach equilibrium. The work force participation rate remains below 63% and unemployment less than 4% (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Given this you have got to change your mind-set about attracting talent from “Selecting” to “Selling”. What is it you offer the prospective employee that is unique, valuable, or differential? Why would they want to work for you. Let’s break down this down into economic and non- economic components and start with the non-economic factors first.

Not every company has a compelling mission or product that leaps off the page at potential employees. That said, marketing your company’s “employer brand” is critical in today’s economy. A great example of this is Subaru. Subaru makes and sells cars just like a dozen other global automotive manufacturers. Their vehicles are safe, well positioned in the lower to middle end of the automotive price range, and they have a great vehicle service program and network. I share this only to set the stage that the product and service they provide being of high quality and well received by the customer is integral to their business BUT not their differentiator. If you watch their social media platforms, their print and television ad campaigns, and local market media what you will see is a company that is differentiated itself by how it gives back to the community, and this attracts employees and customers.  Internal satisfaction scores and retention are amongst the highest in the industry as Subaru not only invests locally in charities but also hold workday events and campaigns with team members and customers focused on charities that the local customer and employee team support. Its ingrained in their culture and their business and the economics are not the driver – it’s the time and focus.

This is one benchmark idea when you recruit – explain not only the company, and what it does, but also where you give back and why – it may resonate far more than you realize. It has to be authentic and if it is, it can really help shape your future culture as well.

Going back to basics make sure you outline to candidates the company brand, the product or service “showcase” and how they will contribute to this, and importantly what really differentiates your business.  Branded company apparel, and merchandise that you can provide the candidate you are considering for offer can be an inexpensive talent acquisition tool and get your brand out locally as well.  

A couple of other non-economic factors include a clear articulation of work schedules and flexibility, employee training and onboarding programs, and assigning a peer coach or mentor to onboard the new team member who is involved in the initial interview process. Knowing that they have someone by their side on day one has a huge impact on perceived switching cost or risk of moving to a new job which is the number one concern for candidates in today’s market, even more than change in compensation.

With inflation, and low availability of new talent wage pressure is extraordinary in today’s market. You can either recognize that and develop a plan around it or get left further behind in in market competition for talent.

Learn how to update your compensation system without breaking the budget in the full article.

Back to Insights

Stay on top of the latest intel across multiple industries and continents.