The war for talent is in full swing. McKinsey’s most recent report on corporate attrition says 40 percent of today’s workforce is interested in changing roles in the next three to six months, and nearly 20 percent of those are certain they will be leaving their current roles.
Why? According to the research done by The Pew Foundation, the answer is not simple. Many respondents to their survey cited low pay, burnout, and poor benefits, but also feeling disrespected by management, poor culture, and little to no opportunity for advancement. For many of these respondents, feeling valued is as important as money.
Bigger companies have tried throwing money at the problem: “Here’s an appreciation check!” Everyone loves cash, but will a one-time event make an employee stick around longer? McKinsey’s report says no, this is a transactional solution, and employees want relationship solutions.
All this adds up to great news for start-ups, who are perfectly positioned to win the war on talent by leveraging their fast-paced, high-growth environments. Here are the key things to focus on.
Startup Recruiting Step 1: Don’t Play Defense
Stock options have lost their luster in today’s environment – but flexibility and fluidity in a job have increased in value. Taking a job in an established corporation means taking a job that several generations of employees have had before you, and several generations of employees will have after you. There will be a formula and a process that you’ll follow until you get promoted up or out.
Photo by Vishnu Vijayan
Taking a job in a startup or small business means jumping in to do whatever is needed – which may mean something entirely different from week to week or even day to day. Sign on to do social media and wind up getting involved in FP&A. Come in to do a product development role and get pulled into business development. If it energizes you every day, don’t be afraid to market it that way to someone else.
You can’t beat the big organizations at their own game, but you don’t have to play their game.
Startup Recruiting Step 2: Commit to an Employee Communication Strategy
Photo Credit: Photo by Adrian Schweiz
The good news for a young company is that there are no bad cultural habits to exorcise, the bad news is building good ones is time-consuming. Considering that Gallup estimates conservatively that each employee turnover costs one-half to two times their salary, it is worth prioritizing it. The catch? You can’t put it on a poster and expect to have it be so. You need to build it into management incentive plans. Some ideas:
- Build a “how can we make the company better for you?” program that collects data, implements recommendations, and collects/reports results. Make the costs and work transparent to everyone. Assign a collection of employees from different levels and departments on a rotating basis and incentivize the group to do well.
- Have an open message board for the executive team that they respond to regularly. Catalog all issues, respond, follow through, and pay bonuses for implemented ideas. Take it seriously.
- Set up cross-departmental small groups to meet regularly and discuss what they do and what kind of pressures they are under, and build relationships as the company grows. This is not about being social but gaining understanding and eliminating silos. Integrate group participation and group leadership into annual goals.
Startup Recruiting Step 3: Prioritize Career Advancement in your Benefits Package
Lack of career advancement is continuously stated as a core reason for leaving a role. You can integrate career advancement into active management as easy as incorporating, “Tell us what you want to do and how it will be an investment in your career at the company” into annual reviews. However, ensure that every manager is on the hook to turn in plans for their employees along with their reviews. This program makes life easy but you can’t survive without some structure.
Amy Feind Reeves, Author of College to Career, Explained: Tools, Skills, and Confidence for Your Job Search, and CEO & Founder, JobCoachAmy