Employment agency

Employers, have you changed your ways yet?

As I reflect on the summer… Wait, what summer? In the blink of an eye, it seemed like it was gone before it even started. But so much actually happened in three short months.

How we recruit and retain employees is changing

At Essence Recruitment, we quickly realized we couldn’t plan based on history because we no longer had trends to compare with. The month that would typically have been our busiest was our slowest this year, and vice versa. But, based on my 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry, there is still one thing I know for sure—how we recruit and retain staff is changing and employers need to keep up with the demands of employees.

My counterparts and I were experiencing the same thing in July—it was difficult to find top-quality candidates. We were using aggressive recruitment leveraging methods, but nothing was working. We were seriously wondering what was happening. As I discussed in my last blog post, we had been warned about the “great resignation,” so we were anticipating an influx of interested candidates.

As the summer progressed, the positive outlook of the economy was improving, businesses were busy, and their recruitment demands were continually increasing. But it was not until the second week of August that we started to feel the candidate pool change. We started hearing responses, people were inquiring, and we were having live conversations! This was exciting and promising. But we learned quickly that employee expectations are changing—they have options, and they are now leading the conversations, not the employers.

After a slow start to the summer, employees are now ready for change, but they are only changing employers or careers if their demands are met.

How we manage employees is changing

According to Harvard Business Review, one of the most significant changes we can expect is that “employers will shift from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience of their employees.” Parents want to have the ability to work from home, or at least have the option of some sort of hybrid model. Being home means less driving time, having more flexibility, and being present with their children, which includes meeting the demands of school and activities.

The past 21 months have been very hard on everyone—both employers and employees. Mental health in the workplace has become a major focus, and companies are adapting very quickly to put policies in place and support a culture of mental wellness. A Forbes article called “4 Post Pandemic Mental Health Trends and Predictions For 2021” noted that making discussions about mental health a standard practice and de-stigmatizing mental health issues are at the top of the list, along with prioritizing self-care and workplace wellness.

How we compensate employees is changing

Another expectation we have noticed is getting a lot of attention is the offer—what is the whole compensation package? Money is not the main factor when employees are making the decision to move or stay—they want to know what else comes with it.

  • What is the benefit package and who is paying for it? From some people’s perspective, it is not a benefit if an employee has to pay for it.
  • What does the RRSP, or similar plan, look like?
  • What are the other perks, such as wellness days, flex wellness account, etc.?
  • Most of all, how much vacation time can they get?

To stay competitive, offering the bare minimum may not be an option. Canadian HR reporter says compensation, flexibility, and professional development are among the top ways employers can stop people from walking out the door.

How to keep up with all these changes

As we continue to adjust to the “new normal” this fall, there are a number of things employers can do to meet the changing needs of their employees:

  • Have open conversations about both employer and the employee expectations
  • To stay competitive, continually look at what you are offering and how you can attract and retain top talent
  • Be flexible

Listening and understanding the needs of employees, and continually adapting, will help you stay competitive.

If you have not revisited your recruitment and retention plans, now is the time!!

Written by:
Tracy Arno
Published: September 20, 2021
Updated: April 30, 2022