The Battle to Attract and Retain Top Talent is Intensifying

Job market conditions are improving and there have been encouraging gains in hiring rates, job fill rates and salaries. From the standpoint of the prospective job seeker, this is great news. According to a study published last month by talent acquisition and recruitment agency 24 Seven, a whopping 66% of those surveyed felt that they were in demand in the marketplace. Individuals who feel this way are more likely to seek employment elsewhere and negotiate higher salaries from their current employer (72% had received an increase in compensation in 2014). A career move is anticipated in the next year by 70% of respondents, with salary being the top reason for the decision (45% were unhappy with their current salary). With 81% of executives reporting steady or increasing hiring rates, those seeking new career options are in the market at a prime time.

On the flip side, a job market that so heavily favors employees poses a challenge to employers and their companies. Top talent is more difficult to attract during this time in the economy. Alarmingly, only 30% felt that their company invested a sufficient amount of resources into talent acquisition. An astounding 85% of executives felt that the pressure to attract talent was increasing due to the fact that the appropriate talent is paramount to their company’s success. Sales, Design and Creative, Marketing, Product Development, Management and Digital were all cited as the most difficult to recruit according to executives.

Attracting talent is only the beginning however. Retraining and engaging these individuals should be the main focus to sustain long-term success. An employee who is happy and content with their job is a nice start, but an engaged employee is much more valuable. Employee engagement was a new metric in the 2014 edition of this report and refers to the degree to which employees are likely to be inspired to go above and beyond the expectations of the job.

24 Seven’s study found that increasing employee engagement has a direct positive impact on employee loyalty, job satisfaction, career outlook perception, likelihood to promote/refer company, and team/manager connection – all impactors on an employee’s likelihood to seek other employment.“

Engaged employees also tend to be more efficient, productive, innovative and willing to take on new responsibilities. These individuals are deeply invested in the company’s success.

Unfortunately, only 47% of employees surveyed said they would categorize themselves as “engaged”.

So, the next question you might ask is: “How do I engage my employees?”

There is no simple, short answer to this burning question. Engaging an employee is not as easy as offering them a great salary and cushy benefits. A deep connection between the company and employee must be formed.

A clearly defined employer brand was found to be a strong determinant of employee engagement. Credible, relevant, honest and distinctive are characteristics often used to describe the identity of companies with a strong employer brand.

After medical insurance, a “time perk” was the second most valued benefit by employees and something to consider when improving employee engagement. This includes: flex time, telecommuting, comp days and summer hours. Over half (60%) of talented workers stated that their companies offered some of these benefits. Executives also listed flexible schedules, better growth opportunities and clearly defined career paths as top ways to lure talent.

Showing appreciation for the efforts of your employees more frequently is another way to improve engagement.  By offering employee incentives such as incentive travel, merchandise or reward cards you are thanking your employees for their hard work and continuous efforts.

Meetings and conferences that align employees with the goals of the company are excellent ways to help inspire them to strive for greatness. These events can provide a perfect forum to communicate vision, welcome new ideas, foster creativity and build excitement.

Do you feel that there are improvements that could be made in the ways in which your company attracts talent?

What is your strategy for increasing employee engagement and retaining employees once you attract them?

Please share your thoughts below or send me an email at khewkin@jnrcorp.com to discuss.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

*All figures and statistics are courtesy of the following study conducted by 24 Seven

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