What employees expect now: 3 ways to attract and retain talent

employees expect

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As an end to the pandemic draws closer, two important patterns are emerging within the job market. First: Employers are hiring again, including nonprofits. Second: Burnout is on the rise, especially among high-performing staffers.

Whether you want to retain top-performing employees or secure new talent, the key to success in the post-COVID era is meeting expectations for transparency, equity, and flexibility. Here are some tips for each, sourced from new business industry reporting and from the experience of our Work for Good managers.

Be up-front about pay. Jobseekers are generally understanding about pandemic-era budget cuts. However, they are less forgiving when it comes to spending valuable time and energy on opportunities that sound like a good fit but don’t provide an income they can live with. Similarly, prospective employees and contractors are increasingly likely to express frustration with negotiating their own pay. When it comes to your hiring budget, it’s best to be honest with the people it most affects and to match compensation with job skills – not negotiating skills.

Establish smart, well-balanced expectations. Work-from-home expert Nicholas Bloom warns that the post-pandemic workplace may feel tumultuous. To counter this, he suggests being extremely clear about all job expectations, including how much time will be spent in the office versus working from home. Speaking to Business Insider, Bloom says that the ideal work environment and schedule will be consciously designed “to balance the benefits of working from home with the need for collaboration and equality.”

Master the art of aligning each employee’s goals with the organization’s goals. Something about the COVID era has made it extra difficult for employees to stick with a job that takes more than it gives. Writing for Harvard Business Review, organizational transformation expert Behnam Tabrizi points out that outcomes for both employers and employees have always been better when their goals genuinely align. Though this synergy takes time to develop, it’s rooted in an employer’s ability to immediately and consistently communicate the organization’s vision while simultaneously building relationships with the individual people who will make it a reality.

Underpinning each of these approaches is a renewed appreciation for the people at the heart of your organization. The pandemic has exposed us to technologies that make it easier to overcome geographical barriers to employment, but it’s also highlighted the value of getting back to basics: of being honest, up-front, and deliberate with your demands for each employee and job candidate. 

Kelli Karanovich is an editor at Work for Good, as well as a professional copywriter and educator who also publishes as Kelli Lynn Grey.

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