Is your talent pool drying out? Maybe it’s time to evaluate your desirability and what you can offer the growing workforce. Examine these tips on what today’s modern jobseekers want from their employers.
10 Things Modern Jobseekers Want from Their Employers
Businesses no longer have the upper hand when it comes to hiring new employees. These days, it’s a job seeker’s market. For instance, in the 2017 State of the American Workplace Report, Gallup found that a majority of jobseekers feel more confident and believe that better jobs are available. Even 37% of employees who are engaged in their present roles are always on the prowl for better opportunities. Therefore, companies have to work harder to prove their worth and credibility.
If you feel like your company is struggling to stay ahead of the game and attract top talent, here is some insight on what jobseekers look for in their employer and profession.
1. Flexible Schedule
The grind of the daily nine-to-five constrains many professionals, especially those with significant responsibilities outside of work. Families try to balance raising kids and caring for relatives while earning enough income to support the household. Older students seek flexibility so that they can go back to school and complete a degree program without taking time off work. Individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses may need to take frequent breaks or work around medical and caregiving appointments. Whatever the reason, more employees seek time flexibility as a major perk and selling point.
So, what does having a flexible schedule really mean? Flexibility can mean offering your employees any of the following:
- Setting their own work hours each day (e.g., 12 pm to 8 pm)
- Designating their own work week (e.g., Monday through Thursday)
- Working in chunks throughout the day (e.g., 5 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 5 pm)
Flexibility can also mean not requiring a defined number of work hours each week and, instead, focusing on work output and meeting deadlines.
Consider what a flexible schedule can do for your team on a daily basis. By setting their own work hours, your staff can drop off and pick up their kids from school every day. They can commute during off-peak hours and save time, money, and frustration (not to mention reduce carbon emissions). They can work during their best brain hours and harness their creative energy. In essence, your staff can create more balance between their personal and professional responsibilities and interests.
Why should all that matter to employers? More work-life balance usually leads to greater productivity, higher retention rates, and a happier, healthier workforce. All of that directly leads to improved daily operations, which can increase revenue and decrease costs in the short and long term.
2. Remote Work Option
Remote work options go hand-in-hand with flexible schedules. Though many employees can focus and work productively at the office, some people prefer alternative environments. Loud co-workers, boring meetings, and dull spaces can leave people feeling depressed and unmotivated. By giving people the freedom to work in a place that matches their style and comfort level, you communicate trust, respect, and support to your staff.
What kind of reasonable remote work options can you give your employees? As an example, you can provide your staff with any of the following options:
- Partial work from home (e.g., Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- Completely work from home
- Ability to complete the workday at coffee shops or other employee-preferred locations
- Co-working space membership
- Work while traveling (i.e., work anywhere in the world)
By offering a remote work option, you relieve your workforce of the dreaded daily commute, decrease the number of personal days they take when their kids are home sick, and let them fulfill their personal goals while helping you achieve your business goals.
Though plenty of people are just not cut out for remote work, even they could use a day or two to stay in their pajamas while cranking out their tasks. Plus, you increase your chances of keeping top talent by allowing your best people to shape their own lives and incorporate their careers into their lifestyle goals.
Just like flexible schedules, remote work options are a win-win that create happier, more loyal employees and, therefore, better business operations, products, and services.
3. Higher Salary
Let’s face it: Everyone wants to make more money. If you don’t offer competitive wages, you’re going to repel excellent candidates. People aren’t looking for unrealistic pay, however. Jobseekers can quickly look up median salaries on websites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Glassdoor, and PayScale to get an idea of how much they should expect to earn. If you present low-ball offers to cut down on costs, you shouldn’t expect top professionals to bite. Jobseekers may evaluate your offer based on what they could make compared to national averages and wait for another employer to give them a better deal. Even if they do take your offer, don’t expect them to stay loyal to you when they know they can make more somewhere else.
4. Promotion Opportunities
Regardless of the initial salary you present, modern jobseekers want to see where a job can take them. They perceive jobs as vehicles to achieve various professional and personal milestones, and they need to map a clear path between your offer and their end goal. Plus, many professionals are just eager to grow and advance to the next level of compensation and rank. As their skills develop and they become a critical component of the company, they want to be rewarded for their effort and given an opportunity to excel in their careers. If you don’t give your staff the recognition they desire, they’re going to jump ship and join another company who can offer more.
5. Professional Development
Though rank and salary are major drivers for modern jobseekers, many employees simply want to master their occupation and expand their overall skillset. In fact, another Gallup study found that 87% of millennials view development as a key component of employment. They want to stay on top of industry trends and best practices, learn new technologies and methodologies, and acquire certifications to confirm their knowledge and expertise.
Education and knowledge sharing is another win-win for everyone. For example, more general and specialized training for your workforce can mean:
- Increased team collaboration
- More innovative thinking
- Better decision-making
If you’re afraid of spending time and money on educating your staff just to see them run off and apply their knowledge somewhere else, don’t be. If you show your employees that you’re vested in them, they’ll be more likely to want to apply their new skills to help advance the company.
6. Wellness Options
Not everyone’s into nutrition and fitness. However, modern jobseekers are attracted to companies who promote health and wellness. Workers like it when their employers care for their personal well-being, regardless if they take advantage of the perks. So, it behooves you to offer discounted gym memberships, reimbursements for races, compensation for ergonomic workstations, and free online health and nutrition classes.
If you’re a 100% virtual company, you can still offer wellness support by reimbursing fitness center fees, organizing health challenges and contests, and providing discounts on various health services and equipment.
7. Technology Support
The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index 2016 found that a whopping 74% of employees do not have access to technology that enables work efficiency. If your employees don’t have the technology they need, how can you expect them to perform their best work? Arm your staff with the equipment, devices, and software necessary for efficiency, productivity, collaboration, development, and security. Give them the most appropriate tools for their tasks, as well as accompanying training to utilize the technology optimally.
However, don’t make assumptions about what your teams want based on what’s popular. Ask your staff about their software application and computer preferences. Try to meet them in the middle at least so that they feel like they’re being heard. During interviews with new candidates, discuss how you leverage different platforms and devices to conduct daily work. This will show modern jobseekers that you’re up to date and willing to accommodate employee preferences and add to the company knowledge pool.
8. Meaningful Work
Nothing sucks the life out of your workforce quite like mundane, meaningless work. Jobseekers are not looking for incredible experiences all the time, but they want to know that their work matters. Your employees want to feel like they are doing something more than responding to emails and creating spreadsheets. They want to apply their skills and interests, exercise their creativity, and see the impact of their effort.
The easiest ways to demonstrate how each employee drives the company forward is to:
- Thank them regularly
- Keep them informed of company accomplishments
- Get their opinion
- Acknowledge their achievements
- Empower them to generate ideas
At the end of the day, employees want to feel appreciated for spending their time working for you. Therefore, take the time to let your staff know how important they are and how much you value them. Also, show potential candidates how you recognize staff as a preview of how they will be treated.
Alongside meaningful work, many workers want to feel like they are part of a community. They don’t want to be just another number, cubicle, or Slack handle. They want to know that they are surrounded – whether physically or virtually – by like-minded individuals who care about the same things. Though connection and community are hard to cultivate, they are not impossible.
Since employees look to upper management for overall company leadership, developing a community-oriented culture starts at the top. Executives must care about the culture of their business, and managers must align business practices accordingly.
10. Smooth Hiring Process
From application to onboarding, employees get a taste for how you run your company by the way you attract and evaluate potential candidates. If you use an applicant tracking system (ATS), make sure it has a user-friendly interface that accepts various file types and renders data well. Modern jobseekers quickly become annoyed when they upload their resumés and still have to enter or correct all their information in each field. Therefore, if you’re going to an automated service, invest in a good one to prevent deterring prime candidates.
Also, communicate clearly with your applicants. Let them know that you’ve received their resumé and give them a timeframe for when they should expect a decision. Then, deliver an update or response within the timeframe you promised. Even if they get rejected, they’ll remember how attentive you were and potentially consider applying again in the future.
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