Hiring employees in 2020 can be a daunting task. A modern workforce demands an agile strategy and a level of investment that many businesses struggle to implement. Unemployment in many U.S. cities—particularly West Coast tech meccas like Seattle and the Bay Area—is historically low and has been for some time, which means workers can be more selective and have power to command not just more pay, but also job characteristics that suit a broader variety of work styles. Many have embraced the “gig” economy and are using it to gain skills, enjoy more flexibility, or both. The most qualified candidates are often used to adaptable schedules, working remotely, and diversity-oriented policies that are easy to talk about, but sometimes require heavy cultural and financial shifts to effectively implement.
It’s a lot to take on. So how can you succeed? How do you lure effective workers and compete against other businesses to fill not just your key full-time positions, but your short-term ones as well? The first step is to look a little deeper at workers in 2020 to understand what appeals to them.
Efficiency and Flexibility
The first thing to understand is that workers in 2020 like to have options. For some, that means temp positions and other short-term opportunities. But others are looking up and out to find a more permanent gig, or, failing that, to learn new skills they can apply to the next role. Either way, one significant way you can lure modern workers is to lean in on internal training. When you open up your existing career development and training programs to your entire workforce, you create more attractive roles that boost the desirability of your candidate pool. You also make it likelier that upwardly mobile, engaged contractors find their way into the company permanently.
The 2020 workforce is not interested in wasting time. Again, this is particularly true for temp workers. People who are only around for a few months don’t want to wonder what they’re there to do. Thus, another way to help your workforce get the most out of their time is to have a strong and speedy onboarding process. Be ready on day one with an action plan, milestones, and specific timelines so new hires feel empowered to jump right in, and able to map out their work to align with their schedule. The job itself, ideally, is an opportunity to gain new skills, so create a runway that gets them working and learning as soon as possible. And it’s not as if a strong onboarding approach is only something your temporary or remote employees will appreciate; full-time workers also want to get into the meat of their jobs and show their value in a timely fashion.
With services out there like GlassDoor and LinkedIn, today’s candidates are empowered with tools that give them the opportunity to check up on their would-be employers. This network of information is routinely accessed by the 2020 workforce, and so it’s hugely important to manage your online profile. You stand a much better chance at receiving positive mentions if employees of all stripes feel like you offer more than just a paycheck. Anyone who’s worked at your company potentially has a voice and a story to tell, either positive or negative. Approaching your entire workforce with a culture of growth and respect will pay dividends for them as well as your company’s long-term competitive prospects.
Modern employees, like any other workers, crave respect regardless of whether they are getting hired for the long-term or are brought in for a temporary project. A mistake many companies make in this realm is to give short-term employees the impression that they are second-class citizens. They don’t get invited to meetings, nobody provides or asks them for feedback, and sometimes they don’t even get to have a name since everybody just calls them “the temp.” Yes, some businesses have gotten themselves into legal trouble treating contractors like regular employees, a situation known as co-employment. But you can help people feel valued without having to rope them off into a corner. A good employment firm can help you find the right balance and enable your company to make contract workers feel appreciated.
What other traits of today’s workforce can you appeal to as you grow your company in 2020 and beyond? Here are a few more ideas:
Honesty All your employees prefer an environment in which they understand the role and what kind of upward mobility they can expect to achieve with good performance. Be clear about their options so they can make good decisions for themselves and come away with a positive experience.
Culture It’s easy for businesses to view hiring through the lens of immediate need, and occasionally there are short-term projects that just have to get done. But your company will almost always be better off when you consider every new worker as a potential contributor beyond the immediate job for which they were hired. Culture is king, and it’s arrived at collectively. Make everyone you bring in part of that philosophy.
Innovation Modern workers, particularly in tech, want to feel like they are contributing to something more than just the same old familiar routines and products. The more you can connect your workforce to a feeling of originality and creativity, the more they’ll feel as if what they’re doing is worth their time. For workers in 2020, novelty and ingenuity are as much a part of their professional currency as an actual salary.
Written by Matthew Cooke