How to Hire With More Jobs Available Than Job Seekers

Hiring-and-retention-incentives for employers or hiring managers

Photo credit: Antonio Janeski

With roughly 11 million jobs open across the U.S., and only 6 million unemployed, it’s time we review incentives for attracting great candidates to your organization.  Regardless of the unemployment rate, finding and keeping great employees is always a key goal of any hiring staff.  Many employers are struggling to come up with incentives to find quality employees in a post-pandemic world aside from competitive wages and benefits.

One good thing the pandemic led many employers to do was requiring flexibility of workplaces and a focus on workplace safety.

Prior to the pandemic, workplace culture was a long-term trend. But the companies who had been working on company culture all along, have remained strong.  A lesson that more companies will pay attention to in a post-covid-19 world.

Culture: the latest in incentives to keep employees and attract new hires

Human resources departments tasked with recruiting great employees today use tools and incentives that most companies didn’t even have ten years ago, or even think they would need. Businesses and HR recruiters in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City metro need to use every tool they have to find the best candidate for their openings. Some incentives include:

  • Remote-friendly options – Taking advantage of today’s technology, on-site work need not always be a deal-breaker to find the right employee. Post Covid-19, employees are looking for flexibility, remote or hybrid-friendly options and have been practicing this throughout the various lockdowns.
  • Career Advancement – Yes, good old career advancement matters when there is a shortage of good workers available.  A key draw for a job seeker may be the opportunity for advancement in a new role where they may feel stuck at their current employer.
  • Ownership – Really want to impress a potential employee?  Why not give them a bit of ownership in the company?  That will incentivize them to work hard knowing that the better the company is doing, the better they will do.
  • Wellness Programs – Concierge services, massage therapists, meal options, on-site childcare; workplace benefits that save employees time and stress can be effective incentives in a competitive market, but what most employees care about is great health insurance and wellness benefits that actually improve their lives. Plus – companies that offer wellness benefits often reduce their overall healthcare costs.
  • Strong PTO Options – Make the most of your planned benefits. Adding additional holidays or increasing overall paid time off can improve company culture without significantly affecting your bottom line. Holidays have an added bonus of making sure your best performers take time off – and helps prevent burnout and improving employee retention.
  • Hiring Bonuses – employers are getting more creative in how they structure hiring bonuses. In addition to the traditional hiring bonus, some now also offer student loan repayment incentives and tax incentives to attract young people from outside the region and to keep local talent in the state.
  • Referral bonuses – you can give your current employees rewards for successful hires who stay with the company for a certain number of months up to a year. This economic tie can help you gain a quality new employee and act as incentives to keep employees. Smart companies also encourage their existing employees to post their jobs on social networking sites so they can tap their personal network of family and friends for qualified talent.
  • Strong culture and values – Back to basics here.  Want to hire great talent?  Show them who you are and what you stand for.  Clarity provides vision for a job seeker and could be a key reason that they decide their next opportunity should be with you.

The best incentive to keep employees, however is the opportunity to work for an awesome company. When it comes to employee recruiting, your company’s reputation is hugely important to your success. Keep in mind that employees can and will do as much research on potential employers as employers do of potential employees. Good and bad reviews can have a huge impact on your ability to attract good employees.

The issues that affect a company’s reputation are also key factors in poor employee retention. Employees and management should share their success with the community, on social networks, and among professional organizations as a recruitment tool.

Many job boards, media outlets, and social media sites now publish surveys that rate employers: Best Place to Work, Coolest Place To Work, and more recently, several eastern Iowa businesses earned a spot on the WorldBlu Most Democratic Places To Work list. The WorldBlu designation is based on employee feedback regarding an organization’s practice of democratic principles, such as transparency, integrity, and choice on leadership. Other local businesses have explored employee ownership, B Corp certification among other models.

The combination of creating and promoting an awesome employment culture with hiring and retention incentives will give local employers a distinct advantage in our competitive job market.

What makes your company great? If you can’t answer that question for potential hires, conduct a survey with your staff to see what would help. Once identified, work with your current team to make small, sustainable changes to improve employee retention, productivity and competitiveness. A win, win, win!