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Employee Employer Shift

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An Employers Guide to Keeping Great Employees

The strength of the job market in Canada varies based on who you talk to and which province you live in.  The economy is doing fairly well; though some areas of the country continue to struggle.  This is particularly noticeable due to the international oil industry with its peaks and valleys.  Generally speaking the employment landscape is quite solid, with the unemployment rate dropping from 6.8% to 5.7% in 2017.  The “Boomers” are also starting to retire.  The youngest baby boomers are in their mid to late 50’s.  As they drop out of the job market important pieces to company’s structures go with them.  What that sets up is a shift of supply and demand for quality employees.  Employers need to be aware that their top talent (their aces), are prime targets for the competition.  2018 may be the hottest year in recent history for job jumping in the corporate world.

What Employees Want, What Employers Offer

It wasn’t that long ago employers could drop their guard, even for top staff, when it came to meeting employee expectations.  This wasn’t that there wasn’t a certain amount of pain in losing an all-star from your roster.  It was just that replacing them wasn’t a strenuous task.  There will still be competition for great jobs with the top companies.  Industry leaders will also be treated like free agents in a pro sports league.  With the stiffer competition for great employees – employers need to listen to what their team wants before they figure out what to offer as an incentive.

I read an idea recently that I thought was fantastic when it comes to employee benefits.  Employers should actually ask the employee what benefits they would like.  Often when you refer to benefits, people think automatically about an insurance based benefit package with health, dental, etc.  It would be interesting for  employers to share  the financial value of those benefits in a number of ways.  Perhaps an employee already has a great benefit package through a spouse’s job.  Maybe they would prefer an opportunity to use that value towards additional salary. An extra week of vacation, continued education/training programs or employer matched RRSPs as well.  The cost would be the same for the employer but the worth to the employee can skyrocket.

Employers Need To Ask What Is Most Important

Compensation packages entail so much more than just salary, and have both tangible and intangible factors to them.  Salary is (and will likely always be) the top draw when it comes to compensation.  Very few people would continue working at their jobs for free.  Even though salary is the biggest individual factor, there are so many parts to compensation it doesn’t necessarily count for the majority.  I’ll use myself as an example with the top 5 things that are important to me.

35% Salary

I need to make enough money to support my family (when added to Sarah’s salary) but it isn’t my only major deciding factor when it comes to staying at my job.  It is still the top item for me because money is required to achieve our financial goals, and I would sacrifice on any of the other items for a job that would allow us to pay off our mortgage significantly faster, or retire significantly earlier.

25% Job Satisfaction

After almost 10 years staying in a job I wasn’t happy with because the money was hard to walk away from, job satisfaction is now very high on my list.   Regardless of salary, if you dread every Monday morning it will spill into the other parts of your life and make you unhappy as a whole.  Even though there are things that annoy me, I generally love my job which makes me a happier person overall.

20% Flexibility

I still don’t have the opportunity to work from home which would be amazing.  Flexibility for me is pretty important because it allows me to be around more for my wife and daughter.  Being part of a team allows me to book a regular vacation without having to suffer too much prepping for leaving or catching up when I get back.  I have to put in my hours obviously but it is less important what time I start and finish which will come in handy for daycare pickup/dropoff.

15% Distance to Work

No matter how much you make, and how much you love your job VERY few people enjoy sitting for hours in traffic.  We live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and getting anywhere in the city first thing in the morning is an absolute disaster.  I dread when a client asks me to meet them downtown at 9 in the morning.  The GPS says it’ll take 30 minutes, but it ends up closer to 2 hours.  My current workplace is actually only about 10 minutes away in good weather, in comparison to 45 minutes at my previous job.

5% Benefits

This would be higher for many people I know but I am very lucky that Sarah’s company has a pretty good benefit package for our family so at this point my job could have no benefits and it wouldn’t be a detriment to our lives.  My company does offer a benefit package, but it is nothing to write home about.  Having the option to have benefits at my job does however give Sarah  some job flexibility as well.

Employers Don’t React…PRE-act!

In general an employee isn’t going to make it well known in their workplace that they are looking for a new opportunity.  Being a flight risk might lead to lower chances of promotion, reluctance to spend on training/development and more scrutiny when taking time off (for interviews?).  With that an employer may not even know that the person they rely on to drive revenue is on their way out until they are handed a two-week notice.  At that point it is likely too late to retain your top talent; they’ve already signed a contract somewhere else.  As a result it is really important for employers to have a  solid handle on their team, and take measures to improve things before someone takes another offer.  Even if the focus is solely on revenue with no regard for employee satisfaction losing a top sales rep is going to hit your bottom line.

A great time to figure out what needs to be done is during annual reviews.  This is typically when a manager tells and employee how they’ve performed, what the expectations are for the following year and what (if any) raise they are going to get.  While all these things should be part of the conversation, it is equally important to ask the employee how the company is doing and if they have any ideas on how things can get better for the staff.  For some, just feeling like they can make an impact can do more for morale than an extra percent or two on their paystub.

The Year of the Recruiter

If you are in the corporate world, now is the time to keep your eyes open for potential offers.  Not all companies are willing to shift to a new way of thinking regardless of how the landscape changes.  Recruiters on the other hand need to have a handle on where things are at, and where they are going.  Whether through a recruitment firm or a company’s internal recruitment team those in the industry are going to have a sharp eye out for talent over the next year.  As I mentioned before, you have boomers that have 30+ years in their company retiring and a millennial generation who refuses to become bored or stagnant on the way in to top positions.  The younger generation has a world of information at their fingertips and is not afraid to jump from company to company to advance their career.  For employers, ignorance is not bliss…it could be bust!  Employees – make sure your LinkedIn is updated and wait to see how many offers you get over the next 12 months.  This is your year!

Do you have any ideas for employers on how they can keep their top talent in house?


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