How to attract great talent during a labor shortage

1. Rethink Location

If you want to attract great employees, be open-minded about where and how they work. Do you need a graphic designer, office manager or CFO sitting across from you in the same office or can these roles be filled by someone in another city or country? What opportunities would it offer your company if you let go of old ways of working and broaden your talent pool?

The pandemic has shown that many tasks can be done remotely and most people are simply not interested in a fully on-site work arrangement. According to recent global research by McKinsey, more than 50% of government and corporate workers would like to work remotely at least three days a week once the pandemic is over, and nearly a third of US workers would like to work remotely full-time. Nearly 30% of those surveyed said they would likely change jobs if their employer returned to a full-time, personal model.

2. Embrace flexibility

The dividing lines between work and private life are now much less defined and people crave more flexibility than a standard 9 to 5 workday offers. They may want to do a split shift to meet their children’s schedules, taking the day off for school drop-off and pick-up, family dinner and bedtime, then working a few hours later in the evening. They may enjoy adjusting their own hours to exercise, take classes, pursue hobbies, or create a better work-life balance.

Build trust with your employees and be flexible about when they work, as long as the work gets done. Discover non-traditional roles, as well as hours, in your company. Which positions must be full-time and which can be filled by part-time employees or contractors?

I work with a team of specialists who prefer to do project or consultancy work for several companies instead of working full-time for one employer. It’s a win-win for everyone; they earn a higher hourly rate for specialized work and I benefit from their expertise without incurring the cost of a full-time staff. I also gain access to a larger pool of talent, especially mothers of young children who want flexible schedules and may be pushed out of the traditional workforce. I can count on them for results, and I don’t care how many hours they work.

3. Change how you measure success

Re-evaluate job descriptions and success conditions for your employees. How do you currently measure success? Is it by watching them work and clocking the hours they spend at their desks? If so, how can you focus on better performance characteristics? What does winning look like in each position?

Standard job descriptions tell employees how to do a job; instead, define the desired outcomes of each role. How do they help you achieve your business goals? How do you support and reward successful team members?

4. Stay tuned

The way we work has changed permanently and will continue to evolve. If you don’t embrace the changes, you’ll be left behind. Invest in and learn about the new digital tools that will move your business forward in this next stage of work. Learn the best remote collaboration, communication and presentation apps available today and stay up to date with new developments.

Everyone can feel anxious or resist new things from time to time, but be aware of legacy attitudes that hold you back. If you find yourself saying, “That’s not going to work in my company,” or “We can’t do that,” examine those beliefs. Where do they come from? What does it take to turn a “We can’t” into a “How can we?”

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on businesses, employees and the work landscape as a whole. Keep an open mind, stay flexible and be willing to adapt to attract and retain the best people on your team.

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