Small Business

Staffing Up to Remain Competitive

Some tips on how to attract and retain today’s talent.

Contrary to what New Jersey’s unemployment rate of 7.2% (as of August 2021) represents, particularly as compared to the 2019 low of 3.4%, employers are finding it more difficult today to both attract and retain talent than ever before. Predictions of anywhere between 40% and 90% of workers expected to change jobs this year are a concern to many New Jersey business leaders.

Hiring and turnover costs are at a high and are setting organizations back months, even quarters, in their growth strategy. Today’s talent makes decisions through a much different lens than prior to the pandemic, valuing different factors in their employment options, with much higher expectations than ever before.

To retain employees, consider: competitive compensation, a clear career growth path, attentive leadership support, a purposeful organizational mission and work culture, and mental health benefits. These are all in great demand. Those employers committed to an ongoing investment in their human capital are driving the highest rates of retention in addition to attracting the market’s best talent. Investments such as ongoing leadership development, effective internal hiring practices, learning and development, and tools to administer remote onboarding, training and development of new hires are among several examples that business leaders can incorporate.

Allocating resources, both internal and external, to your hiring process is a worthy investment. Training your hiring managers on the art of identifying talent that is best aligned with your organizational mission can have a lasting impact on hiring and retention. One example of this would be seeking candidates with some semblance of stability and/or a story line of seeing something through to completion. That could be in the narrative of career, athletics, the arts, or anything that requires a level of commitment.

Partnering with your human resources department on a strategy to use a contingent workforce to effectively manage turnover for business continuity has been a growing trend coming out of the last several economic recessions. This is a fast-paced market, and you run the risk of losing out on qualified candidates by taking too long to make an offer. The more quickly you make the decisions, the more quickly you can onboard valuable employees who can add to your growth. Using a staffing firm to identify, vet and interview clients can also be a helpful and worthwhile asset that can have a positive ROI for your company.

Acknowledging that today’s employee believes there has been a fundamental shift in the employment landscape has been advantageous for many organizations. While accommodating this growing sentiment is controversial, organizations that embrace this belief are those that will be best positioned for growth and business continuity in the future.

About the Author

Adam Samples is president of staffing for Atrium, where he leads staffing operations in five New Jersey offices as well as six other states.

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