Throughout the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, the office was seen as a place to clock in, do your job, and clock out. A successful career was one that gave you a stable income and ensured your pension, regardless of whether you actually enjoyed the work. Your job didn’t need to be enriching, and you couldn’t care less where your boss stood on important political or social issues.
The new wave of people entering (or moving about) the workforce is different. Having found their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, many resigned from their jobs. Both recent college graduates and professionals with years of experience are now seeking more fulfilling work.
They want to devote their time to something bigger than themselves, something that will align with their values so they can feel good about the work they’re doing. These days, potential employees are vetting employers just as much as employers are doing it, and if they don’t feel there are shared beliefs, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere.
The ball is in the court of prospective employees, but it doesn’t mean that business owners should be intimidated by the paradigm shift. Passion is palpable. With the right outlook, this new normal could be a chance for employers to bring a human touch into their businesses and make their companies truly stand out. It’s actually a pretty amazing opportunity to hire people who genuinely care about the work they do.
How exactly can your business attract the types of workers who will give the job their all? For starters, you can consider the following points.
Be conscious of your partnerships
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Make sure that all of your suppliers, collaborators, partnerships, and sponsorships don’t go against your stated values and purpose. In the age of search engines, your records are more public than they have ever been, and people can easily confirm your honesty—or call your bluff. After all, you can talk the talk all you want, but prospective employees also need to know that you walk the walk. For example, if your company boasts about its commitment to the environment and sustainability, but it is evident going up the supply chain that you partner with one of these companies, it’s a huge red flag.
Welcome honest feedback
Keeping the lines of communication open between employees and management can only benefit your business. Create a safe environment for constructive criticism, send out surveys and polls, and open your meetings to let everyone’s voice be heard. Try different avenues for solving problems and handling conflict or differing opinions. The more involved your team feels, the more engaged with the work it’ll be.
Keep your messaging clear and consistent
The era of bland mission statements is long gone. Now, you need a detailed purpose statement, and you need to take a stand and stick to your convictions. People want to see that you can follow through, and if you are wishy-washy about where your company stands on an important issue, it could alienate many employees who would have been a great fit for your team. If you state your values loud and clear across social media platforms, press releases, and your own website, people will remember you and be more likely to fill out an application.
Be fair and ethical in your labor practices
This is a big one. During the Great Resignation, one of the main reasons why people quit their jobs was because they were not being treated fairly. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey, feeling disrespected at work was the number three reason behind the Great Resignation. People want to be reasonably compensated for their time and efforts and to feel like their bosses see them as human beings rather than worker bees with no life to speak of outside of the office or factory. Flexible work, salaries commensurate with experience (no low-balling here), and adherence to an established set of ethical practices will take you far, both in terms of productivity and employee retention.
There are thousands of qualified people out there right now who are looking for the perfect fit, and they can afford to be picky. You can use the advice above to put your best foot forward and entice the right kind of employees to bolster your team. Remember: The more you commit to your purpose, the more people will commit to you.