This article was updated on July 30, 2018.

If your organization's recruitment strategies haven't changed in recent years, you may be missing out on recruiting or retaining many of today's most talented employees. With unprecedented growth and nearly full employment in the U.S. economy, competition is tight for skilled employees.

According to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect, most employers don't really understand what employees and candidates actually want. For instance, many employers focus on high-tech interactions with prospective employees during the recruiting process, but job candidates of all ages say they prefer face time with potential employers.

Employees Value Time Above All Else

While many businesses focus on providing unique perks such as pet-friendly workplaces or free snacks in the break room, employees say those aren't the kinds of things that matter most to them, according to the ADP RI report. Instead, many employees value their time above all else. Work hours and flexibility can impact an employee's willingness to accept a new position or remain in their current job.

Work Hours Matter

While fully half of employees report that they are open to accepting another position (a much higher number than employers suspect), 37 percent of all employees say work hours that fit their needs is a top reason to stay at their current employer, according to ADP RI. This ranks second only to the work itself (43 percent).

Discuss Work Hours With Candidates

Discussing your expectations of work hours is a key factor to helping candidates make informed decisions. Although work hours may have a significant impact on employees' willingness to take or keep a job, many employers never address hours during the recruiting and interviewing process.

Employees may be reluctant to ask about hours, to avoid appearing unwilling to work hard, and if employers don't introduce the subject, new recruits may not know what to expect. Some employers say the time to talk about hours is when new employees are being onboarded, but that may be too late. By waiting until candidates have already been hired to discuss work hours, you may run the risk of hiring people who will soon leave because they didn't expect the hours you require.

Employers can do better by making work hours a regular part of interviewing and hiring discussions, to ensure that candidates are on the same page. In addition, since work hours are increasingly important to employees, businesses should regularly revisit their requirements to determine whether changes can or should be made to better meet the needs of workers. If your organization offers employees the ability to request changes to their hours, make sure that opportunity is widely known.

Flexibility Matters for Work-Life Balance

Not only are employees interested in work hours, but they also care about flexibility. This flexibility is in regard to time and location, as well as the ability to disconnect from work. Twenty-eight percent of employees say flexibility is a reason to stay with a current job or take a new one, and that percentage is even higher among millennials (32 percent) and women (31 percent). More than 70 percent of employees expect to be able to disconnect when they leave work.

How to Be Flexible

Bridge the divide between your organization and its employees — or potential employees — by making flexibility an important part of your culture. If work can be performed off-site, offer remote work opportunities. Communicate with organizational leaders about the importance of giving employees space to have their own lives rather than expecting them to be available at all hours. And when recruiting or interviewing job candidates, make your commitment to flexibility known. For instance, discuss flexibility in job interviews and provide information about your flexible work policies on your careers website.

To attract and keep the employees you need to grow your organization, focus your recruitment strategies on the things that matter most to employees, such as work hours and flexibility. This can go a long way toward recruiting and retaining the workforce you need.

Want to learn more? Download the ADP report: Take Your Talent Strategy Further: Connecting People and Work

Tags: Recruiting and Hiring Company Culture Workforce Generations Midsize Business Research & Insights Articles HR