To say we're in a rapidly changing employment environment is truly an understatement. Although the nation’s available labor pool is expanded, employers remain challenged by returning employees from temporary furloughs, holding on to their top talent, remote work, identifying skill gaps for a changing work environment and more. Permeating through all of this are mental health, child care, financial strains and other wellbeing issues challenging us for productivity, profitability and, in some cases, survivability of our business.
In short, today’s state of talent can be boiled down to a few points:
- Employers are beginning to hire. There's more talent available than in the past, and employers are tasked with sifting through the talent pool while preserving the best of their own.
- Unemployment is still high.
- It is a very competitive labor market.
- Attracting and acquiring best-fit candidates is still an essential factor in an organization’s success.
- There’s still a war for talent – particularly top performers and key employees.
The Art of Winning the Talent War – Then & Now
Let’s take a look at how COVID has impacted the talent war:
Strategies for Today & Moving Forward
Strategy is absolutely critical to differentiate your organization and win the talent war, particularly in the following three areas:
Stretching your benefits dollars and communicating the value of your benefits to your employees while maintaining perspective on mental health and wellbeing issues can put employers in a position to get the most out of their benefit investment dollars and attract and retain top talent. Two key solutions to consider are:
Communication – A sound communication strategy can help employers stand out from the crowd. Utilizing benchmark data and easy-to-understand terminology, combined with back-end analytics, employers can maximize the value of the benefits through communication. Using the right approach, you can make even middling benefits compelling and outstanding benefits resonate.
Focus on Wellbeing – Employees are asking more and more for access to benefits to assist with their mental, emotional and financial wellbeing. With virtual delivery models and many value-add resources offered by insurance company providers, this can be an easy and compelling add to your benefits package.
Employee Benefits Case Study: A manufacturer’s representative was challenged with communicating a well-honed benefits message to a remote workforce strained by the challenges of COVID-19. We provided three solutions for them. 1) Virtual benefits fair technology integrated into the greater HCM ecosystem, providing employee/member education with a link back to the existing benefits module for enrollment; 2) Gave wellbeing and mental health resources a more prominent role in their communication guide; and 3) Integrated a total rewards statement into the recruiting process.
Check out our guide, “Managing Through COVID-19 & Beyond: An HR, Benefits & Compliance Roadmap for Employers,” that addresses the most urgent matters businesses must take action upon to remain in business and accelerate recovery, while also prioritizing employees and maintaining legal compliance.
There are two primary issues we’re seeing. The first is high project-based need. Many companies are lacking expertise on staff as a result of layoffs and furloughs. Rather than paying employees overtime to fill functions that they may or may not have the skill set to complete, it is more cost-efficient and effective to hire interim talent skilled in that area for 60 to 90 days. With unemployment still high, there’s a lot of skilled talent out there seeking work, even if it’s only temporary.
Talen Acquisition Case Study: A multi-billion mutual fund house did not have the expertise or the staff to successfully navigate through open enrollment. We partnered with them to find and place a team of contractors to lead and manage the company through the process in under 90 days.
The second issue is that a company’s current CEO or other top executive is struggling, for whatever reason(s), to meet performance expectations amid COVID-19. So companies are asking what can I do to search for this person’s replacement confidentially? One answer is talent mapping where companies partner with a talent acquisition expert to identify a pool of potential successors. Talent mapping can also be used when an organization wants to compare that external pool of potential successors with current employees who also may be suitable successors.
Are you interested in five key talent management strategies to help your company recover and thrive as COVID-19 subsides? Read our guide, “Successful Talent Management Amid COVID-19 & Beyond.”
Compensation strategies will need to vary across industries and based on what stage of recovery the business is in. That stage will determine whether employers utilize foundational, defensive or offensive strategies.
- Identify misalignment of pay with market
- Communicate total rewards
- Utilize project-based contractors
- Ensure fair pay
- Control the compensation decision-making budget and process
- Highlight your employee value proposition
- Create and incentivize Early Retirement Incentive Programs (ERIP)
- Recalibrate incentive plans
- Poach top talent from competitors
- Be hyper focused on pay for performance
Compensation Case Study: A high-tech manufacturing company was challenged with rewarding performance and motivating employees while staying within budgetary constraints. Our solutions included compensation benchmarking, merit matrix modeling tools and sales incentive plan design.