Having trouble finding or keeping workers? You are far from alone. Since May 2021, nationwide there have been more positions available than workers to fill them. This past May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 1.6 job openings available for every unemployed person. While that’s better than the 2-to-1 ratio of last year, it’s still a challenge for many businesses to remain fully staffed.
So how can you, as a small business owner, attract and retain talent in this environment? There are tried and true methods, including raising wages and providing flexible work from home opportunities, but they’re not always feasible for every company.
Midwest BankCentre was recently recognized as a Top Workplace for the third year in a row, an award based solely on employee surveys. As Chief Human Resources Officer, I want to share with you a few of the ways our Bank has been successful in talent acquisition and retention.
Promote Your Purpose
The hiring process starts long before you see an application. If you want to attract talent, your company needs an attractive reputation, and reputation is rooted in purpose. Workers today are interested in more than making money; they want to know they’re making a difference. They want their work to have purpose. Our Bank has done a tremendous job communicating our purpose through both words and actions, with a concerted social media strategy that includes a partnership between Human Resources and Marketing. We have been consistently told that our orientation toward purpose is why new recruits are interested in our Bank.
Most applicants want more than a job; they want a career. New hires often share with us how many companies offer promises of internal opportunities but lack the follow through. When an employee joins our organization, we ensure that they feel part of the team, regardless of their role or location. We offer a genuine plan for further development within the organization through Rising Together University and our one-year onboarding program. Then, employees have opportunities to engage in programs that further their development, including mentoring programs, internal training classes, tuition reimbursement, and support for certifications.
Focus on Diversity
Create a culture where people can show up as their authentic selves. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is good business as well. By embracing diversity, we spark innovation that allows us to better understand and serve our customers. When employees feel seen, heard, and valued, it creates an atmosphere that fosters positivity, creativity, engagement, and growth - both as individuals and as an organization. At Midwest BankCentre, diversity, equity and inclusion is infused into every decision we make, including where we source candidates, our interview process, and how we onboard and retain talent. Our Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Engagement (DICE) Committee helps cultivate the Bank’s culture, connect our people, and provide learning and leadership opportunities for all employees. With 6 sub-committees, there are multiple committee chair and co-chair opportunities for employees to embrace their culture and passion, while also growing as an employee and leader.
In addition to ensuring our Bank is an employer of choice, we also actively seek out career-minded candidates that share our values. We do this by leveraging multiple points for connection and interaction with potential employees, such as:
- Partnerships and networking with educational institutions and professional organizations
- Presence at college recruiting events and other campus events to connect with young talent
- Developing an intern program
- Video-based job postings and recruitment efforts to panoramically show who we are
- Referral bonuses for employees who recruit successful candidates
Keep in mind, attracting and retaining good employees is an ongoing effort. If you intentionally create an environment where people want to work - a space where people can both contribute to a larger purpose and reach their full potential - it will be significantly easier to fill positions as your business inevitably grows.
Originally published in Small Business Monthly's in August of 2023 by Julie Tuggle-Nguyen, EVP of Human Resources.