In this "On the Job" segment, Kiran Contractor, Director of Talent Acquisition at ADP, tells how companies can attract new employees while supporting and retaining those already in place.
Periods of high turnover are challenging to navigate, and they highlight the value of investing in long term employee retention. However, leaders can make a significant difference in the current environment by providing managers with the support leadership and strategies to work effectively during difficult times.
Speaking with Cheddar News, above, Kiran Contractor (KC), Director of Talent Acquisition at ADP, highlights ways organizations can adapt to the demands of today's talent landscape.
Q: In what ways must organizations adapt to today's workforce?
KC: The first thing organizations must understand is that the needs of the workforce are definitely not temporary. These trends are here to stay and if leaders are disconnected from that you're a few steps behind. There's almost this desire now for accommodation that a lot of companies are seeing when what they should really see this as is a desire for connection.
We all know the saying, "It's business, not personal," but it's actually both. It's now business AND personal. There's really no way around it. You need to know what is important to your employees, not just the general workforce, as you look to bring on that talent. Companies have been adapting in many ways when it comes to flexibility and perks. But think about how you personalize your approach; who is your audience? We did a client survey recently and heard from a manufacturing industry who did a recent evaluation and realized 75% of their workforce consisted of parents, so they created partnerships with local daycares so their employees to get discounts for childcare if needed, and also be closer to their kids. So, it's important to think about how you can accommodate to your workforce by knowing what matters to them.
Q: What are the warning signs that employers should look for that an employee is planning to leave the company?
KC: You definitely have to look at the obvious signs. Are people who are usually engaged all of a sudden not? Has their attendance or performance shifted lately? Have they brought up a possible compensation evaluation? These are all the general signs to be aware of, but companies also have to look beyond those. You need to look at your trends. Turnover analytics always helps with that and it's so important. How is your current turnover comparing to prior years? Are your numbers consistent or has it gotten worse? And if it has gotten worse, then it's time to figure out what's triggering it. You have to dig deeper.
Have you noticed turnover in one area compared to one other? Are you noticing turnover for more tenured folks compared to newer folks? Look at the reasons people are leaving; did they leave for more pay? Did they leave for a company with more growth opportunities or more flexibility? Looking at your analytics and trends can help you get to the bottom of what could be happening and see how you can make changes, whether it's at a department level or as a whole for your company.
Q: As you all know, most workers took on increased responsibility and workloads during the pandemic. How should leaders respond to this trend that we saw in the last three years?
KC: The first thing companies to do is acknowledge what is happening. It's very easy to avoid the obvious, right? You know you're struggling as a company and workload has increased. You can't ramp up staff in time and you're hoping everyone can just pull it off with the high demands. But your employees will appreciate you so much more when you acknowledge there's a challenge. And sometimes it's as easy as saying, "Hey, we know it's rough out there and we're doing whatever we can to get you help and thank you for everything that you're doing." You have to be transparent about your plan. Are you close to hiring more people or is it going to take longer than expected?
And once you've conveyed your plan, you have to think about how you can continue to keep your people engaged during these rough times. Think about those accommodations again, right? We're in tough times right now. People are overworked. We're in a state of inflation and people are struggling professionally and personally. This is an opportunity for you to think outside of the box as a company and think about how you can alleviate someone's time or financial burden without it having a negative impact on your business.
Sometimes it's the little things. Again, it goes back to connecting with your people. It could be offering more flexibility or office perks, free lunches, or a mental wellness day so people can take a breather. Maybe you have an employee whose spouse is out of town for work, and they have to make childcare plans for their three kids. And as a leader, it could be as simple as saying, "Hey, why don't you just work from home for the rest of the week?" to make it easier. You know, really think about how you can empower your managers to make some of these decisions since they know their people the best. Those small things that can really go a long way.
Q: What should organizations prioritize when it comes to their current workforce?
KC: With all the challenges going on right now, there's an emphasis on attracting new talent … how do we pay better, what do we offer workers? Don't forget to acknowledge the same for your current employees. They see the shifts that you're making for your new hires with sign-on bonuses. Maybe there's an opportunity for an appreciation bonus for the ones that have been sticking with you. Now's the time to also reevaluate your existing talent and look at your high potential employees. Is it time for a promotion? Can you increase someone's responsibility to show them that you want to continue to invest in their growth? Think about pay equity. There are so many adjustments being made for your new for workforce, should you be making the same for your current workforce? As an organization you want to showcase the culture and brand that your organization has consistently built so your workforce feels valued.
In the post-pandemic world of work, the organizations that prioritize people first will rise to the top. Find out how to make HR more personalized to adapt to today's changing talent landscape. Get our guide: Work is personal