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The Future of Hiring Top Talent

Young woman using her mobile phone in an art room office.

There will always be people who need work — people who you can hire, right?

Unfortunately for many business owners, that’s no longer the case. They face a shortage of workers, especially skilled professionals who can now be picky about work (as they should be).

Many industries are facing a shortage of knowledge workers, which is a trend that’s projected to worsen over time. You can look forward to having a lot of competition for just a handful of great candidates who make all the difference in your success.

What people want today is much different than what people settled for ten, five, even a few years ago. Their priorities have changed. What they expect from an employer has changed. If you want to build your dream team, you’ll need to take a different approach than you might have in the past.

Benefits that would have been considered to be unique to trendy start-ups and tech companies —like flexible scheduling, remote work, and generous parental leave — are now seen as the standard. Let’s take a look at what you need to offer to be competitive in today and tomorrow’s hiring landscape.

What is Top Talent Looking For?

Once upon a time, people were willing to sacrifice most of their personal lives in their climb up the corporate ladder.

They put in long hours — in fact, long hours were celebrated. They missed their kid’s soccer games, got five hours of sleep a night, and ate lunch in front of the computer. They tried to have it all — the best position, the highest salary, and the thriving personal life.

It turns out that having it all is a pretty lofty, maybe even impossible, goal. When it came down to the wire, people chose — or were forced — to prioritize work.

While people still wear stress and “busyness” like a badge of honor, there’s been a significant shift in what workers prioritize. Younger generations and people coming up in their careers want an equal balance of work and play. They’re no longer satisfied with placing their employer’s wants over their needs, such as the need for rest, fun, family time, and well-being.

This means that employers have to speak to these needs if they want to attract top talent. Most desirable candidates will be picky.

They want to know that they’ll gain more than just an immediate paycheck. Attractions could be company equity, great benefits such as healthcare and maternity leave, or a flexible schedule. If your competitors are offering great benefits and you aren’t, just know that the most gifted candidates are probably going to opt for the better deal.

Offering Remote Work

It’s no secret that most companies have shifted to offering at least partial remote work.

It cuts down on commute costs, allows for more scheduling flexibility, and helps people juggle their work and personal responsibilities more easily.

Now that we know working in an office isn’t necessary to run a successful team, people have come to expect it. Given a choice between remote work or in-office work, most people would opt for remote.

Not only does offering remote work make you a more desirable employer to work for, it also opens you up to a wider pool of talented candidates. Considering that the shortage of knowledge workers is growing, you want to have access to as many great people as possible.

Not only does a worker shortage mean you have fewer people to choose from, it can put a significant strain on your business. Unfilled roles take a big toll on organizations and their teams, but if hiring managers are only looking at local candidates, they’re missing out on a lot of talent. Instead of overburdening your team and potentially impacting their mental health, seek out a wider pool of candidates.

Offering Schedule Flexibility

Another shift related to remote work is the desire for more flexibility.

Schedule flexibility lets people take care of personal needs as they arise and helps them achieve better work-life balance. If you can, let people set their own hours (within reason) and allow ample time for personal time, such as doctor’s appointments and childcare.

If you’re concerned about a drop in productivity, try using an outcomes-based management style. Set clear deliverables and outcomes, and measure them at every step of the way. Is your team hitting the mark? Then there’s no reason to police their log-in and log-out times and personal days.

At the end of the day, you’re hiring people, not machines. Remote work and flexibility give people the breathing room they need to fully take care of their well-being.

That’s why unlimited or generous vacation and sick days can actually make your team more productive. (It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true.)

Well-being isn’t just about preventing yourself from getting sick. It involves the full spectrum of emotional, mental, and physical health for which relaxation, connection, and joy are essential. A happy, healthy team is a wonderful thing to be a part of and will likely be a more reliable, effective team.

Offering Caregiving Benefits

Along the same lines, there’s been a dramatic shift in what people expect from American workplaces. While benefits have traditionally lagged way beyond those of other developed countries, Americans are now seeing how crucial it is to have a safety net.

Childcare benefits, including maternal and paternal leave, are essential to being able to both work and have a healthy, connected family. Without these types of benefits, people are often forced to choose between one or the other. Or, they may sacrifice their own mental, emotional, and physical health trying to do it all.

In past decades, a man would be the breadwinner while the woman stayed at home looking after the kids. Since today’s households are more likely to have two full-time working parents, schedule flexibility and family benefits are more important than ever before.

Plus, with women making up much of the workforce, they will be opting for organizations with extensive maternity leave, which protects their health and their jobs.

Offering Wellness Benefits

We don’t think we need to sell you too much about how important health benefits are. Considering that employer-sponsored health benefits are how most Americans have gotten coverage historically, we know you probably have the basics covered.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the more robust your packages are, the better. This means you go above basic coverage to include mental health, vision care, and dental care.

You might also consider offering wellness benefits or programs such as discounted gym memberships, yoga class passes, or even wellness events like sound healing or breathwork. Here at DotConnect, we love doing things like meditation to support ourselves and each other.

You can be sure that your most inspired, committed candidates will appreciate you going above and beyond for their well-being. Plus, you’ll enjoy being a part of a team that is enriching on multiple levels — emotional, physical, mental, even spiritual — rather than just financial.

Offering Financial Wellness

That said, money is important. It’s the point of having a job. However, financial wellness is not the same thing as a paycheck or even a 401k program.

You likely offer retirement benefits with all the bells and whistles. Can you take this a step further and commit to helping your team achieve better financial literacy, make good investments, and even take a small degree of ownership in your company?

We wish the school system had been more proactive in teaching people how to handle money . That’s not the case, which means a lot of people have no idea how to create and sustain long-term prosperity. As a result, they may be saddled with debt or live paycheck to paycheck.

Financial literacy classes that teach investment and savings along with coaching, counseling, and consultancy, are all ways you can take care of your team’s financial well-being. These classes could be lifesavers for your team, and trust us when we say that when you take care of a team this way, they will want to stay with you.

Another great way to support your team is with student loan repayment or refinancing. With student debt swelling out of control, you can bet your recent grads and younger generations will be grateful.

Finally, you might also consider offering equity to your employees. Offering stock or stock options can help increase accountability by giving people more of a reason to perform well. It also bolsters people psychologically by giving them the chance to feel they’re, in some ways, working for themselves.

Partner With DotConnect to Create Your Dream Team

The workplace is changing, and being proactive will save you time, energy, stress, and possibly money. Unfilled roles can strain your entire organization, and worker shortage is a real thing.

Start looking at your employer/employee relationship as a partnership. Cultivate trust by adopting outcomes-based performance reviews and letting go of timesheets and micromanaging. Keep high standards and clear deliverables, but let people achieve them in ways that work for them.

Are you ready to get started building your dream team? It’s our specialty! There’s literally nothing we love more than building amazing teams for clients like Beautycounter and Zendesk. We can help you too.

Are you a talented professional looking for the right new job? Reach out to us! We love helping you find your ideal workspace, and we’ll help prepare you for your job-search journey too.