AMB Performance Group Blog

Challenges in Attracting and Retaining Employees

Posted on: March 10, 2022
Hiring and Retaining Employees

Your people are the biggest asset you have when it comes to running a viable business today and positioning it for success going forward. They are the ones who make day-to-day magic; who serve customers; who act as the face of your company; who make the contributions that make a bottom-line difference. Challenges in attracting and retaining employees can impact your ability to succeed today… and thrive tomorrow. What are some common barriers employers face – and how can you overcome them?

Challenges in Attracting and Retaining Employees

Let’s look at the numbers first. Compared to last year, three times as many employers report that they are having difficulty attracting talent. At the same time, four times as many employers say that they are having trouble retaining employees. The majority expect they will continue to struggle with these issues throughout the year. 

What factors are making it more challenging to find and keep talent?

Strong Demand for Workers

Everyone is hiring. Or at least it seems that way. According to estimates, there are some 11 million jobs open in the US. Additionally, the unemployment rate is dropping. As of the fourth quarter of last year, there were about 67 unemployed folks for every 100 job openings. Even during the days preceding the pandemic, this figure was 82 per every 100 openings.

At the same time, the rate at which employees quit is also increasing. With so many opportunities at their fingertips, it is an advantageous time for them to look for new positions.

This represents a shift in the employer-employee dynamic. We don’t recruit or interview them with the assumption that they need us. They know that we need them. This makes building a recruitment and retention plan all the more essential.

Changing Face of the Workplace

First, let’s clear this up: we are not anti-Millennial. They are not the future of the workplace; they are the present! In fact, they comprise the largest generation of the US workforce. What’s important here is that they view work differently. Unlike their grandparents, they don’t expect to – or even want to – stay at a company from age 20 to retirement. Tenure rates are much lower; most millennials plan to stay at a job for three years or less, and they are willing to go from employer to employer in search of better opportunities.

“Work” Means Something Different

Again, most of our parents and grandparents viewed work as work. They went in, did their time, came home, and called it a day. Today, though, many people do not commit to one job. They may have side incomes or “side hustles” that are important to them. They want the flexibility and freedom to work and to earn while integrating it into their life. We are seeing more situations where people prefer to work from home, act as independent contractors or freelancers, or have different part-time gigs.

We Want More

During the initial days of the pandemic, tens of millions of us were sent home as “nonessential.” Many of us chose not to return to the workforce, at least in a traditional way. We discovered that we liked the extra time with family and friends. We liked being home. We liked not commuting or participating in the “rat race.” Whatever it was, COVID certainly created a shift in mindset. While people do like the structure of a workspace (e.g. an office), they also appreciate the flexibility to work and live on their own timelines.

While monetary compensation is key, people also discovered that other benefits matter just as much – or even more – for job satisfaction and happiness.

These drivers have created very real challenges in attracting and retaining employees. But they have also given us an opportunity to position ourselves as employers of choice

Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan

Strong demand for workers, coupled with changing expectations, makes it all the more critical that we build recruitment and retention plans that reflect the current reality – and anticipate future needs. This should include an emphasis on:

  • Workplace team and culture. It is vital that you create an attractive work environment. This is your biggest selling point. Depending on the type of business you run, this may include options for remote work or work-from-home situations. In any case, be sure to highlight work-life balance.
  • Employee development. Even more than money, people want the opportunity to learn, develop, and advance. Formalize this with strong training programs and built-in chances to grow with the company.
  • Employee recognition. No, “Employee of the Month” is not enough. Recognize people as and when they are doing work to move your company forward. A simple, “I know you did A, B, and C this week. It created X, Y, and Z results. Thank you and great work!” can do wonders. 
  • Appropriate and competitive compensation. It doesn’t all come down to dollar signs – but it’s a big piece in attracting and retaining employees. When you offer a good salary/wage and benefits, as well as the other pieces we’ve mentioned, you set yourself up for success. More importantly, you set your people up for success.

Build Your Business

Overcoming challenges in attracting and retaining employees is a multifaceted issue. These insights will get you started. To see results that you can count on, connect with AMB Performance Group.

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