Wage increase, flexible hours and benefits: employers must be creative to compete for talent
“The market was so competitive back then,” he told Global News’ The new reality. “There were a lot of people looking for a job, but few openings. It was really tough.
Fast forward to today, and the tables have turned.
“More recently, some of the positions I applied for contacted me to see if I was still interested in pursuing this opportunity,” says Dhaliwal.
His experience is indicative of what recruiters call “a talent war”. The balance of power has swung in favor of job seekers. Employers are now pulling out all the stops and it’s not just about better pay anymore, there are substantial benefits on offer: options to work from home, better benefits and a new focus on workplace culture. work. Even the way companies recruit is changing to reflect the new reality.
As chief researcher for Gartner’s HR practice, Brian Kropp interviews millions of people and advises thousands of human resource managers around the world.
“If you look at the data from Canada, there are about a million job openings — as many job openings as there are people looking for a job,” he says.
“Employees are more in demand than they have ever been in the tightest job market we’ve seen in 40 to 50 years.”
Canada’s unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 5.3% in March. There is an exceptionally tight labor market, spanning all sectors from construction to banking to hospitality.
Flexibility above all
Kropp says the most striking change in this job market is the demand for flexible work hours and hybrid work arrangements. Flexibility is not just about where people work, it extends to when they work: earlier departures or days with two to three hour lunch breaks, even four-day work weeks .
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“The expectation that many employers had when moving to remote work was that we were going to have a lot of people sitting at home, watching TV, napping, eating pizza all day and not doing any work. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In almost every situation, employee performance stayed the same or improved,” says Kropp.
Failures of the hybrid or remote work model are often a performance management issue, according to his findings.
Isabella Munro is Dhaliwal’s colleague at Wesgroup Properties. Although she likes having the opportunity to work from home on occasion, she says she is really happy to be back in the office. She likes the “idea of working from home” but finds it more difficult and time-consuming to complete tasks that require input from co-workers.
Now that she is back in the Vancouver office most days, she enjoys the entrepreneurial culture her company offers.
“Personally, I think for work, it’s never been a one-time job. But more so now, I want a community and I want a good culture in the company I work for, that it’s not just work, it’s also outside of work.
Alisha Scichilone is Wesgroup’s Vice President of People and Culture and has 24 years of human resources experience.
“I think good talent has their choice in terms of employer, and we are well aware of that.”
One of the benefits Munro now uses in his new job is part of the health and wellness benefits offered by the company.
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“We offer fitness programs twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Employees can leave together and train at a local gym, and this is paid for by Wesgroup, and we also offer discounts at local gyms and personal training. And if employees complete 20 workouts, they get a free day off,” says Scichilone.
“It’s a great way to hang out with my co-workers, break a sweat, release some energy, and then come back to the office with a fresh mind,” says Munro. “Mental health and well-being are really important.”
The pandemic and resulting labor shortage has led Scotiabank, one of the so-called big banks in the country, to change the way it hires. More recently, this includes the removal of resumes for many entry-level positions in Canada and the United States to identify candidates who may have previously gone unnoticed.
“It was about opening the door in terms of the number of people and also the types of backgrounds or profiles. It was an incredible journey where traditional recruitment or traditional views on talent are not enough. not,” said James Spearing, vice president of global talent acquisition at Scotiabank.
According to Spearing, the number of job postings across the country on the Indeed job board has increased by 60%. Reduce that to banking and technology and the increase is 120% over 2019.
To expand its talent pool, Scotiabank has partnered with recruitment firm Plum of Waterloo, Ontario.
“The data we assess cannot be extracted from a resume, nor can it be found passively online,” says Caitlin MacGregor, CEO and co-founder of Plum. “You actually need people to complete a 25-minute assessment and we measure their problem-solving ability. We measure their social intelligence and personality in a way they can’t fake or play.
Rather than focusing on things like types of education and previous internships, Spearing says Plum identifies “talent level” as well as “skills and traits that will prepare people for the future.”
MacGregor says it’s about quantifying human potential.
“It’s about understanding what motivates someone and gives them a sense of self-worth and, on the other hand, what wears them down and ends up wearing them down.”
This hiring solution, used by Scotiabank, seeks to identify “innate talents” such as the ability to innovate, communicate and work well in a team. MacGregor says that’s key to matching hires to roles likely to fill them and seeing them perform at a higher level.
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Another new hiring practice in the age of COVID-19 is the need for speed when it comes to job postings. Spears says extending a job offer within a week or even “on the spot” after the interview process has become common. The same goes for accelerated start dates.
“Traditionally, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about the period between offer acceptance and the start date. But now you do it because people are giving up on offers and they’re not as worried as they used to be,” he says.
Value employees as people, not just as workers
A job that suits you is only part of the solution. Employees also need to feel appreciated, respected and understood.
“One of the most important things for me when looking for a new job was to have an employer who actually recognized my hard work. I’m really happy to put in the hours, but I would like to be recognized,” says Munro.
Kropp says that’s one of the biggest things the pandemic has taught us.
“We don’t have workers working for us. We have human beings who have real lives, real jobs, real concerns, real families, real issues that affect them. And the best organizations realize that if you treat your employees like people, not workers, you not only get better performing employees who are more likely to stay, but it’s also the right thing to do.
Only one question remains: will change to accommodate workers in ways like hybrid working be something that will stick? Kropp believes him.
“I think this is a permanent change and not a temporary one in that the world we’re going into will be hybrid and remote for as long as the eye can see at this point.”
And companies that adapt to the needs of their employees will not only have happier workers, but also more success.
Employees like Dhaliwal echo that sentiment.
“Before the pandemic, you were just happy to get any job offer you could. But now you can definitely look to find the best fit and be more selective with what you are looking for in a job, in a career, and what will make you happiest.
See this and other original stories about our world on The New Reality airing Saturday nights on Global TV and online.