Dwayne J. Clark is the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Aegis Living, a best-selling author and longevity expert.
With employee shortages plaguing many industries, I believe the U.S. workforce is in crisis. Four million employees quit their jobs in April 2021 alone, the highest quit level in two decades. A survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential found that roughly one in four workers is considering changing jobs “when the threat of the pandemic decreases.”
Organizations are in one of the most challenging positions of our time to find and retain talent. Doing so successfully starts with your interview process. While the focus is traditionally on the potential employer evaluating the candidate, there is increasing pressure on the employer to step up in how they meet changing employee expectations and instill much-needed trust in the company.
Many employees leave their jobs because they’re looking for more flexibility, benefits and work-life balance. Some are also looking for more meaningful and purposeful work. Attitudes have shifted from wanting to work in flashy, hip office settings to a desire to work from the comforts of home or on the go. When remote work isn’t possible, meeting employee daily needs has become even more important, with growing expectations for flexible schedules, childcare support, quality healthcare coverage and more. From my perspective, the pandemic seems to have reminded many people that living a full life matters most, and in the U.S., this is a big cultural shift.
So, the post-pandemic employee is different, and employers need to pay attention. If your business culture methodology is the same as it was 17 months ago, you’re in trouble. One simple way to start is to prepare differently for job candidate interviews. As an employer, you will likely be asked new questions by candidates, and some questions will carry more weight than they did prior to the pandemic.
Be ready to answer:
How You Handled The Pandemic
What did you do for your employees? How did you have their backs? What did retention look like? Even if your organization struggled, think about the ways you were there for your employees and what you were able to do under the circumstances. Not every organization fared well, and that’s OK. But if you don’t have an answer that centers on supporting people in big ways and small, you will likely turn away many qualified candidates.
New And Personalized Benefits
What are your new benefits? How flexible are you with schedules? What’s the dress code? What new health and mental health benefits are you offering? How are you helping the families of your employees? At one of the companies I own, we bought computers for staff who had children being homeschooled, provided free meals to staff and their families, offered new telehealth benefits and created forums to explore childcare options. While some companies might already offer “good benefits,” they must be tailored and personalized to match the current and greatest needs of your employees. Those needs change based on the state of our society and our environments.
The Future Of The Organization
What is the future trajectory for your organization? Are you in a position to handle the next crisis? How are you helping shape the future in this industry? This one will be easier for some organizations to answer than others, but again, how are you preparing or how have you prepared? Reflect on your organization’s key learnings, what you might do differently and how you can do better next time. No person or organization will ever be perfect, but illustrating your commitment to handling obstacles and your vision for the future will inspire those seeking to work for you.
How You Will Shape Their Future
As more and more people evaluate their life and career trajectory, be ready to tell future employees how you not only foster career growth but also work with them to find their path. Do you offer unique training programs or mentorships? How do you bring meaning and purpose to work? How might you support someone looking for a career shift? Answers to these questions go beyond a list of benefits; they help you demonstrate how you honor and connect with each person at your organization.
To increase your chances of securing talent during this challenging workforce cycle, be prepared for candidates to interview you, and tune into what they really want and how that aligns with your organization and its values. Ups and downs on staffing and labor shortages will continue, but expectations of the post-pandemic employee are here to stay.