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Retaining talent and attracting employees in today’s employment market has been challenging for many employers across the country and globally. In the world of HR, it’s being referred to as the “Great Resignation”. According to Statistics Canada, there are approximately 915,000 job vacancies across the country, 80% higher than in 2019.  In another study recently conducted by Microsoft, 37% of Canadian workers said they are open to new opportunities.

This trend is being attributed to:

  • limited candidates with the right caliber of qualifications
  • people leaving traditional jobs to start their own business
  • people switching jobs or industries
  • employers competing for talent
  • rising inflation 

These are just some of the issues employers face as they race to fill vacancies and retain employees.  Even though some Employers may be able to hire, their high attrition rates make it difficult to transfer knowledge to new employees.  No doubt, this is having an impact on onboarding and ultimately productivity.

What can organizations do to attract new talent?

  • Develop proper training materials

Make it easy for new hires to learn.  Ensure your processes are clearly documented and easy to follow.  This will reduce the stress and frustration most new hires feel in getting up to speed.  Once in place, it will protect the organization, in the long run, from unexpected departures.

  • Make it easy for new hires to be successful

Ensure new hires have what they need to be successful.  This includes proper equipment, a clear understanding of internal processes and expectations and regular feedback.  Successful onboarding programs typically include a peer mentor system.  Re-evaluate your onboarding processes and see how you can make it easier for a new hire to be successful.  Share this with potential candidates.

  • Review and update your job descriptions

Ensure job description are relevant and up to date. Your job description should detail the duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, qualifications, skills and attributes that would be required of the incumbent. This document plays a critical role in setting compensation, recruiting employees, establishing objectives and metrics for performance, and ascertaining the baseline for training and succession planning.

  • Review and update your organizational chart

An organizational chart is a visual representation of the structure of an organization. Access to the organizational chart will give candidates the big picture, allow them to understand their place in the organization, and demonstrate their respective working and reporting relationships.

  • Ensure the required qualifications are clearly set out

The most meaningful expression of qualifications sets out the knowledge, skills and abilities that must be exhibited by a candidate in order for them to be successful in the job. It is very important to ensure the requirements are “bona fide”, that is to say they are the knowledge, skills and abilities required to ensure that the candidate can perform the essential components of the job. It is critical to safeguard against unfounded job requirements that might intentionally or inadvertently discriminate against any individual on the basis of the protected grounds, as covered by the Human Rights Code.

  • Where will the candidates come from?

As employers find themselves competing in the same talent pool, it’s important to understand the competitive marketplace for candidates. This will influence the area of search, and the tools that might be used to attract their attention. A good understanding of the labour market dynamics that contribute to the availability of a reasonable pool of candidates, an awareness of other organizations that might be recruiting from the same pools or contributing to the pools through program closures and lay-offs, an appreciation of the link between compensation levels and acceptable commuting distances, and so on, are key considerations in establishing the area of search.

This analysis will help define how much to open or restrict the search (geography, sector or sub-sector, occupational segregation, etc.), as well as determine the most appropriate tools and techniques for marketing of the job opportunity. Within the bounds of time and budget these might include newspapers, professional organizations or journals, internet recruitment sites, social media, job boards, university faculties, specific individuals, employee referrals, career days and community groups, to name a few. Consider broadening your search to reach more qualified candidates.

  • Establish relevant and effective selection criteria and stick to it

Due to the limited availability of talent right now employers might not have enough time to do their due diligence. Racing to fill positions quickly and eliminating important steps in the selection process such as background checks could have a negative impact on the organization in the future. It’s important to set the selection criteria as part of the tool kit for screening a candidate pool, reducing it to a manageable size and sticking with it.

How can organizations build trust with their current employees?

High attrition rates affect the remaining workforce including your leaders and HR professionals, so as you look to attract new talent, develop and implement strategies to help you retain current employees. Understand what motivates your employees to stay and what pushes them away. A recent survey completed by Monster Canada revealed the top 5 reasons employees are quitting:

  1. Insufficient pay or unfair pay practices
  2. Lack of honesty/integrity/ethics
  3. Lack of trust in senior leaders
  4. Lack of work-life balance
  5. Unhealthy/undesirable culture

Develop strategies to identify areas for improvement

  • Company surveys can provide feedback on what employees enjoy about the company and their role and what areas they are least happy with. Conduct exit interviews to get feedback on why employees are leaving the organization.
  • Utilize industry trend surveys on resignation, wage and benefits. A variety of other data tools can help organizations keep up with the trends affecting the labour market. This information can help organizations to be much better informed on the areas where changes need to be made.
  • Poor leadership can affect employee’s anxiety and stress levels and lead to poor productivity or resignation. Management/leaders are a very important part of your organization so ensure they have the right tools and training in communication and interpersonal skills to help improve the relationship between employees and leadership.
  • Be Proactive. Some organizations may have experienced little to no change retaining or attracting new talent but it’s still important to have a plan in place to stay on top of recruitment before it becomes an issue. Develop a plan to review staffing and address any retention issues. Develop and implement a strategy to perform regular check ins with your employees, this can help improve employee morale and trust in the organization and in turn help the organization to retain its people.
  • Reimagine how work is done in your organization.
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