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Four Key Considerations to Attract and Retain a Hybrid Workforce

Large numbers of employees resigned from their jobs in early 2021 resulting in what’s referred to as ‘the great resignation’ – a result of the COVID-19 pandemic enabling employees to prioritize their mental and physical health, rethink their professional growth trajectory, and leave jobs to try something new. This massive resignation has left almost every industry with employee retention challenges and immediate gaps to fill for their teams. It’s time to rethink retaining talent in a hybrid workforce.

For example, the United States saw a record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in March 2022, and 47.8 million workers quit their jobs in 2021. That’s a lot of turnover. With all this movement, the job market is incredibly competitive, and prospective job candidates have a large pool of options to choose from.

It’s important that employers consider how prospective and current employees view and experience their time with their organization in order to stand apart from the other organizations clamoring for their talent.

It’s challenging to discern the right path forward but having a hiring and retention strategy is crucial to maintain and grow a workforce in this competitive market.

Here are four strategic considerations for leaders involved in the hiring and retention process:

1. Create an Efficient Recruiting Process

The recruiting process sets the tone for the candidate’s experience within a company, so it’s important to make the process as seamless and thoughtful as possible, particularly with the number of job opportunity options a candidate may have. Prospective employees aren’t going to wait weeks on end until a hiring manager moves them on to the next round, so employers need to move quickly to an offer if a candidate is a good fit. Talent Acquisition and Human Resources teams should reflect on their cycle times and find the points of friction that are stalling the process, if any.

One way to streamline the interviewing process is to perform a high level of due diligence when screening employees to make sure their skill sets are at the appropriate level for the role. Additionally, assign different key competencies for each interviewer to focus on so that the individual conversations are able to go deeper on a particular topic within the time allotted time.  This helps both the candidate’s and the hiring manager’s experience because the candidate doesn’t feel they are answering the same questions over and over again and the hiring manager is able to hear feedback on a variety of competencies instead of hearing each interviewer’s opinion on the same competency. 

Immediately after the interview, individual written feedback should be provided by each interviewer. This avoids groupthink and leads to better hiring. Follow the written feedback submission with a candidate debrief session that is attended by each interviewer. This allows the hiring manager to ask clarifying questions on the feedback provided in order to decide on whether to move forward with the candidate quickly.

At Halloran Consulting Group (Halloran), our teams are able to screen, interview, and move to an offer within a week, if necessary. Considering the competitive job market, employers should act with high touch and urgency so as to not allow a great candidate to slip through the cracks because the talent acquisition cycle time is too long.

2. Hire to Retire

Speed isn’t the only factor in ensuring hiring success. Candidates want to feel appreciated, known, respected, and heard. Employers have to be able to understand each candidate’s drivers and motivators for switching jobs. With those drivers in mind, employers need to be honest with themselves and the candidate on whether or not the company can fulfill the candidate’s expectations. Sometimes that level of transparency and honesty can lead to difficult conversations on both sides, but if employers don’t have those conversations now, new hires may change jobs again leaving the new employer with another seat to fill in the near future. 

As employers ensure they are focusing on finding someone who aligns with the mission, vision, and goals of their organization, they also need to set aside time in the interview to make sure the candidate’s values align with the company’s core values. Our motto at Halloran is “hire to retire,” with the hope that every person we hire is someone who wants to add to our culture, engage with our people and develop their skill sets.

3. Establish Hiring Processes Through an ED&I Lens

While it’s important that all employees align on the company’s core values, it’s also important that the employees have diverse perspectives. One way to ensure an organization hires employees with a diverse set of backgrounds is to recruit and source from a variety of geographical, industry, and sourcing locations. Once the candidate has gone through the screening process it is important to keep a keen eye towards an equality lens during the interviewing process. For example, Halloran has a remote approach to interviewing where all interviews are held over Zoom. Halloran does this to ensure each candidate gets a similar interview experience because having interviews done in a variety of mediums can lead to biases coming through in the feedback on the candidate.

Lastly, if an organization hasn’t done so already, it should work with external or internal experts who are able to coach leaders on how they can incorporate ED&I into their company’s hiring processes and company policies. Receiving guidance is important to create a more inclusive workforce that will benefit any organization and its employees for years to come. For instance, research shows that companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns than respective non-diverse counterparts, and 1 in 3 job candidates will not apply for a position at a company that lacks diversity. Diversity is important for a company’s culture and bottom line, and if it’s not prioritized, the company will hold itself back from potential innovation and growth.

4. Focus on Employees’ Well-being

In a time when there’s so much decentralization of the workforce, many employees are left with few options to meet their colleagues face to face. Keeping employees engaged and happy is paramount to the health of employees and the overall organization. Employees prioritize elements like career development, social opportunities, feeling like a part of a community and mission, financial stability, physical well-being, and mental well-being. Organizations will benefit tremendously and reduce turnover by reflecting on what their organization is doing to answer those needs to retain their workforce.

Professionals focused on hiring and retention must look at the full employee experience when considering employees’ well-being. For instance, here are a few initiatives at Halloran:

These are just a few initiatives to improve the well-being of employees at Halloran. Leaders need to listen to learn from their employees about what’s working well and what’s missing.  Asking and not following through can be worse than not asking at all so be mindful of matching intentions with expectations in order to keep employees engaged and fulfilled from the first interaction all the way through retirement.