The modern-day work environment is evolving at lightning speed. But something that has maintained its importance is the pursuit of talent: how organizations attract new employees and keep them by their side for the long run.
In 2022 the U.S. saw an all-time record of employees quitting their jobs, with over 50 million resigning workers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while “The Great Resignation” may have hit its peak, with power now shifting back to the hands of employers, the uncertainty of these changing dynamics has made one thing clear: in an ever-changing job market, it’s vital for employers to keep employees happy in order to attract and retain top talent.
So how exactly can companies effectively attract and retain employees? Fede Ambrogi, Director of Client Solutions at LinkedIn, spoke with Yadin Katz on monday.com’s “What’s Working” podcast to explore the subject. Because who better than the team behind Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network on the internet, to give us insights on the topic?
How to attract top talent? The importance of the employer brand
Before companies can reach the hurdle of retaining talent, they have to start by securing the best-suited individuals on their team. And according to Ambrogi, a company’s desirability, all comes down to the employer brand.
When seeking out jobs, the natural first thing someone will consider is a company’s brand or reputation. But this “brand” doesn’t only deal with the product/ service or customer sentiment anymore – a key part of a company’s brand is actually the work culture they foster.
“Companies are starting to recognize and realize that the employer brand, the way they position themselves in talent space, is super important,” said Ambrogi.
“So companies need to invest in communicating that brand. Which really is about communicating to employees or potential employees, what are the company’s values? What’s important?”
Talent will flock to companies that uphold specific values, whether they’re flexibility, inclusivity, collaboration, or whatever is most important to the individual searching. And they’ll gauge these values by looking at a company’s unified brand. There are generally three separate audiences companies interact with: employees/ potential employees, consumers, and investors.
“How you communicate to those three different audiences needs to be consistent and cohesive,” said Amborgi.
How can companies communicate an employer brand in the recruitment process? Ambrogi gave us three simple tips,
- Simple application process – A non-complex application process leads to talent having a positive view of a company.
- Stance on company flexibility and values in description– The job description is a great way to immediately bring forth company values. It’s best to be specific and share your policies on flexibility, as well as employee benefits.
- Inclusive language – It’s important to pay attention to the language of a job listing. You want any qualified candidate, regardless of their gender or ethnicity to feel welcomed by the job description. For example, Ambrogi often sees many companies still using terminology commonly associated with a masculine profile: words such as “aggressive,” “competitive,” etc. She’s seen that this could lead to women being less likely to apply for a job.
The 2 secrets to talent retention: a sense of belonging and the ability to learn
So we know that Clear brand communication is the secret to success in attracting top talent to join teams. But that’s only half the battle; getting talent to stay at the company for the long run poses its own unique set of challenges. As we discussed before, employees have no issue quitting a job for a better option. And Ambrogi explains this boils down to 2 seemingly simple concepts: a sense of belonging and learning.
Sense of belonging
“Employees need to feel that what they do matters,” says Ambrogi.
On a basic level, a sense of belonging refers to levels of diversity and inclusion. But it extends even deeper than that. Employees want to feel that the work they do is directly impacting the company and even society.
The importance of belonging in the workplace has been a widely talked about and researched subject. In fact, research conducted by Deloitte in 2021 found that Belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% reduction in turnover risk.
But cultivating an environment where everyone feels like they belong is easier said than done. According to Ambrogi, a sense of belonging doesn’t just happen. It’s up to the manager to actually create this sense of belonging.
“It’s important not to only state, but create a very clear plan with behaviors that we put into practice,” she said.
“You need to say, hey, it’s my objective for all of us to work from a place that we feel like we belong. Which means we can all act authentically. And then I try to implement it from the bottom up.”
For example, in meetings, Ambrogi makes an active effort to make sure diverse perspectives are represented. And if she finds employees aren’t bringing them up themselves, she’ll invite people to propose them.
The second key point here is the concept of learning: employees want to feel they’re gaining valuable skills and bettering themselves on a job
“If employees don’t learn, don’t feel that they’re developing themselves, they’ll leave. And this is even more prominent with Generation Z, Ambrogi said.
So it’s up to companies and managers to ensure learning opportunities are always available. A great way to put this into practice is by encouraging internal mobility and providing career development resources.
Linkedin, for example, recently put on “career week,” – a full week dedicated to giving employees the tools and resources to reflect on their career path. During this week, public speakers came to speak about different industries and their perspectives. Speakers also discussed examples and clear paths of internal mobility, so employees could fully consider this option in their careers.
“At Linkedin, we say we want to leave people better than how we found them. There’s no expectation that someone who comes to LinkedIn stays there forever. We care that in the time they’re here, they improve, they develop.”
Future of the hiring market
Due to the economic changes and lack of predictability, we’ve seen in the past years, Ambrogi found it challenging to give an exact prediction as to the future of the hiring market.
But one thing she does believe is that “some of the things that have been major systematic changes in work are here to stay. The whole concept of flexibility is here to stay… Purpose-driven organizations are the ones who will win in the world of talent.”
She mentions the job market has gotten a lot more competitive, with Linkedin receiving double the amount of applications for one job than they did in the past. But even this doesn’t mean employees can take a step back from adapting to the new work expectations.
“I think it is about understanding how do we adapt to the new conditions. We all will adapt similarly. But what do we do differently from other competitors and how we invest in that uniqueness is going to be the winning card for companies and managers.”
Check out the full interview with Ambrogi on monday.com’s newest podcast, “What’s Working” with Yadin Katz. Listen to all episodes on your favorite platforms.