• Donald Davis

Hiring in the wake of the Great Resignation

Updated: May 27

Why would someone work for you?

Leader, Boss, Manager at the end of the day why would someone work for you? In today’s environment, people are asking this question more than any other. From knowledge workers to general labor the labor statistics clearly show that there was a shift because so many workers had time to reflect on what was important.


From my point of view, knowing several candidates that have passed on jobs there are four things that can be closely associated with employees passing on opportunities: value, culture, potential, and reputation. Everyone wants the perfect job where they feel that these items are addressed. If you want to keep the people you have and get great talent in the future then you cannot just focus on better work-life balance or increasing the amount of remote work. This is a complex problem that has to be addressed from the perspective of the individuals in the labor force itself.

Leaders today need to be thinking like owners of the employee experience who want to attract people based on what they can do for the people they hire versus the other way around.


Value

Let’s take a look at this word from several perspectives. Initially, what value are you looking to have someone deliver at your organization? Some people like certain jobs because they are a challenge (mental, physical, wage growth etc.). Will it be a challenging job or even one that someone has failed at previously? How are you positioning your opening with what the perfect individual will deliver in your organization? Some people value the challenge and understanding what is being delivered (value) and the individual that is best suited for this will help to define this value.


From the perspective of the candidate, will you be compensating them in a way that makes them feel initially valued and can they continue to see benefit from extremely hard work and results? What do you do to recognize top performers in an organization or someone who has gone out of their way to ensure the company is successful? When they do well, what are you doing to make them feel valued? This is not just about monetary compensation it is also about ways that success is celebrated.


I believe that the pandemic for all of the struggles that it created it also opened a lot of eyes in seeing that grinding away at a job may not be what makes you feel valued. To overcome this, any hiring manager needs to seriously think about what they can do to make people feel the value/impact they are having on the organization.


Culture

Culture has been a part of my dialogue when hiring for quite some time. In part being a part of my team has meant that you understand that we have a high-performing culture with laser focus on the values, vision, and objectives. If resignation rates of an organization are high it will not only impact those looking to come into the organization it would also impact people who are currently with the organization.


The culture of a team or company can make or break someone’s desire to stay with an organization. On the surface, it may appear that culture is merely a work environment, work-life balance or dress code. However, there are two distinct pieces of the puzzle to consider: how does your company fit with the individuals on your team and how does your company fit into their life outside of work? People that extend what they are doing beyond the walls of the organization into their personal lives have a higher rate of being aligned with the culture at work.


I had someone tell me that without the culture we built in an organization in the past they could not have fully shown up for work every day. Culture is a critical element that needs broad focus with a lot of listening to the team. At the end of the day people that you hire will be asking themselves, can they jump out of bed in the morning excited about the focus of the company and the environment they are doing it in?


Your job as a leader or hiring manager is to own this experience and make sure people are not just submersed into an organization but that they also feel comfortable knowing they can relate on some level outside of work.


Potential

No matter what type of organization you run, everyone wants to hire people who have a future with the company. You also have to consider that the tables on potential are reversed a bit. The candidate that is being interviewed is also asking themself if they feel that they will have growth opportunities with the organization.


How do you help people grow? Are other people from your team getting promoted? The highest turnover risk will always be the good people that are in the organization and ensuring that they want to stay because you see their potential is critical.


Being a good leader means that you are continually evaluating and helping people move forward in your organization and where possible, providing opportunities for individuals to grow. If you are not growing people today or helping people feel their future potential you risk losing good people including individuals you want to come to your organization.


To clarify, this is not about handouts or you giving someone a position that they have not worked for. Individuals in your organization want to do great things and have an impact. When they do, you as the leader own the employee experience in how you help people that are showing you their potential.


Reputation

The name Vishal Garg should be in everyone’s mind here. Can’t remember him well, he was the CEO of Better.com that laid off 900 people over Zoom. Why would anyone ever again go and work at Better.com. In the wake of the great resignation, many workers may just decide that a company that does not focus on them might not be the place that they want to work.


There are legitimate times when layoffs and terminations are the only way forward. However, this is as personal as it gets and leaders should know better than to have a massive layoff in a group meeting. The Better.com layoff made it on the news. Recently, Better.com also announced that it is hiring again, hmmm. As people are considering where they want to work one consideration might be how you have treated people in the past.


When someone is coming out of an interview, what are the first things they say to their network? For example, on the company side, people may be saying how great it was working with you. On the candidate’s side, they might be saying it felt like I would not have opportunities to grow or that there were no opportunities. How leaders in your organization directly impact the Value, Culture or Potential of the organization will shine through to people considering coming to work for your organization.


Additionally, you can bet that employees will be looking on websites and potentially calling past employees to find out what it is like to work for your organization. In the current hiring environment, your reputation can make or break your ability to attract great talent.


The CEO of Better.com has demonstrated horrendous leadership and in the wake of the great resignation they may have a real tough time hiring again.


People are looking for companies with a reputation that does not risk the items above (Value, Culture or Potential). Owning employee experience in value, culture and potential should result in a promising reputation for your organization.


Conclusion

There are recent posts on LinkedIn and from people in my network about taking their next position at a new company so people are continuing to move forward in the workforce.


For each of the individuals the story seems to be the same, they found a company that they can provide value and be valued. They found a company that has a culture that they are excited to be a part of. They found a company where they can see future potential for their career. They found a company that has a reputation that they feel confident will not damage the things above (value, culture, or potential).


Maybe the great resignation is an opportunity to evaluate the position of being a hiring manager or company in the workplace and how you can own the employee experience by showing that you value people, have a great culture, offer people the opportunity to grow, and can maintain a good reputation.

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