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Resource Center / Acquisition & Retention

How To Win The Talent War

In today’s economy, hiring and retaining top millennial talent can be a challenge for many employers. Here are some ideas to help you win the talent war.

The letter "J" for Justworks.
Jan 25, 20194 minutes

We’re in an employee’s market when it comes to talent. With the U.S. economy in a period of health and growth, employers are increasingly struggling to attract and retain talent at their companies.

More than a third of today’s workforce is made up of millennials, and talent is in the driver’s seat. This makes for fierce competition among employers. Even within the small business universe, you need more than a vision and a ping pong table to hire and retain millennial talent. In fact, the employee experience has become just as important as the customer experience.

Below, find a few ideas on making your company culture stronger and, thus, more attractive to prospective employees.

Define Your Company's Mission And Values

A clear and meaningful purpose is a powerful way to attract and retain talent. According to a Fidelity study, millennials said they’d be willing to take, on average, a pay cut of $7,600 if it meant an improved “quality of work life” — such as purposeful work, work-life balance, and company culture.

How is the quality of work life unique at your company? Take some time to define that and share it with your workforce. The company’s mission and shared values will remind your current employees why they joined you in the first place and why they want to stay on board, and draw in new employees who align with your culture.

Related Article: Defining Work-Life Balance for Your Small Business

Share your company’s views on purpose and culture with new and potential employees and make it part of the interview process. Include it in conversations about what you and your team are building and where you’d like your company to go. Make your mission come alive by sharing it actively with your team, and make sure you’re all walking the walk.

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Commit To Only Hiring The Best People

The talent shortage can sometimes drive founders and business owners to compromise on their recruiting and hire whatever talent is available at the time. Although that fills a short-term pressing need, it can often have a negative effect on your company.

Hiring people who are less qualified than your existing team or aren’t a good culture fit may eventually drive away the talent you do have. At the end of the day, talent seeks talent. When choices abound, top-tier recruits seek communities of like-minded individuals with diverse skill sets. The commonalities lie in teams of bright, productive, compassionate colleagues who respect and enjoy collaborating with each other.

This can be especially true at small companies. If you’re a five-person company, that sixth hire is going to join largely based on the team. Before making a hire, consider whether that person is the kind of peer your team would be excited to work with, and whether they’ll help you attract similarly high-quality hires in the future.

Build A Great Culture And Workplace

In the end, a workplace represents a company better than any creatively packaged ad campaign ever could. Think of your office as an employee benefit, and an integral part of a company’s culture that can in fact contribute to how you attract and retain talent.

Workers’ interactions with both customers and one another are essential to a company’s image and culture. A workforce that’s positive, communicative, and multi-talented will draw new customers, keep old ones happy, and attract like-minded employees.

If you have an open office plan, but don’t have anywhere for employees to work in private, consider dividing up an existing conference room into a few “quiet rooms” where employees can recharge and focus. If you currently have cubicles or private offices, consider putting a couple couches, bean bag chairs, or movable benches into an area where employees can brainstorm and catch up on recent projects. A great workplace feeds into company culture (and vice versa).

Related Article: 5 Tips to Help Transform Your Workspace into an Employee Benefit

Offer Great Benefits and Perks

It should go without saying that most millennial job seekers want a quality benefits package to pair with their job offer.

Justworks conducted an original study to better understand what kinds of benefits employees want most. Of employees polled, 88% said the quality and options of health benefits were important to them. However, only 41% of employers surveyed offer health insurance as part of their benefits package.

Obviously, budget has a big impact on what you’re able to provide. If you’re just getting started with benefits, make sure the basic needs are covered first (health insurance, the right technology) and build upon that as you grow, adding things like 401(k) and commuter benefits as your budget allows. If possible, customize your offering to exactly the people you want to attract and retain.

Millennials want to work for employers who take care of their teams. Thankfully, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) like Justworks can help. With Justworks, you get access to corporate-level benefits without going corporate. Ensuring your team feels secure and valued with access to a curated suite of benefits at more affordable rates is a great step toward winning the talent war.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.