Five Tips to Win the War for Talent in 2017

When you have a low unemployment rate and a growing economy, it’s a job seeker’s market. In fact, 63 percent of full-time employees are looking for a new job right now. In other words, the companies that offer the best employee value will attract not only those who are out of work but the best of the best who are seeking greener pastures but not necessarily in a rush to jump ship.

With 70 percent of Gen Y employees and 50 percent of Gen X workers planning to spend fewer than five years in their current roles, don’t you want your company to be the one that wins the war for their talents?

To stand out from the crowd of employers, here are five tips to implement now:

1. Make it all about the perks (well, almost). Don’t worry, you don’t have to install a giant slide or hire an on-site sushi chef to make a strong impression. Perks can encompass any benefit that lets your employees know they are appreciated. Some to consider are free food, a superior health care package, flex time, or even having a pet-friendly office. If you think these things are superficial, consider that 43 percent of millennials in a Met Life survey said they’d switch jobs if given more flexible hours elsewhere.

What to do: Survey your employees to get a sense of what type of perks they’d appreciate most. Are they more apt to enjoy a game room or half-day Fridays? Then, begin incorporating a couple of benefits that fit your budget and appeal to the majority of your staff. Even small efforts can go a long way.

2. Cough up the cash. Of course, no one wants to be underpaid for his or her hard work, so a competitive salary offering is key to recruiting survival. Unfortunately, there’s often a disconnect between what employers perceive to be fair compensation, and how staffers actually feel about their paychecks. The 2016 Payscale Compensation Best Practices found that 78 percent of employers believe their salaries were adequate, but only 45 percent of employees said they felt valued by their employer.

What to do: To ensure you’re offering a fair wage, consider doing a market study to get a better sense of what your competitors are paying their top talent. Then, offer at least that, and/or try to sweeten the pot with additional perks.

3. Create a culture of innovation. No one wants to feel like a cog in the wheel—today’s employees want the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to help their companies succeed. While removing the traditional hierarchy structure from your firm might be extreme, having more of an open-door policy that welcomes new ideas and opening up collaborative projects to a variety of team members is a good start.

What to do: Provide staffers with autonomy and professional engagement, but more important, give them permission to fail. Innovation cannot happen if everyone is worried about of making a mistake.

4. Give them room to grow. As I mentioned earlier, people don’t necessarily want to stick around in one company for an extended period, and that’s usually because they end up stuck in a rut. Businesses that find ways to keep their employees engaged and challenged will have more success attracting and retaining talent. In fact, a recent report found that 63 percent of workers rank training programs as one of the top drivers of culture.

What to do: Give your employees a reason to stay by offering training and development programs, promoting from within, and helping them advance their careers.

5. Be inclusive. When the same few people make all the hiring decisions, you can end up with a homogenized workforce—and a limited talent pool. Instead, leverage your entire network of employees to help source potential candidates, which can contribute to broadening your search for talent.

What to do: Begin using an employee referral program to include your workforce in the hunt for talent, and incentivize them. You might also bring different members of the organization beyond HR in on the candidate interviewing and vetting processes to get some new perspectives and help identify the best cultural fits for the company.

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