In a struggling economy marred by a global pandemic and high unemployment rates, the US is facing an ironic crisis: Companies are struggling to find the right employees.
According to Cloutera, roughly 50% of hiring managers have struggled to fill open jobs. So why is it that even some of the largest and most well-known companies find it difficult to build successful teams? This is because the key to recruiting top talent isn’t having the best resources, name recognition, or paychecks. Rather, it’s creating the right kind of work culture. “Most organizations struggle to build their teams because they’re not thinking about company culture,” says Jason Elkin, a thought leader in DEI talent acquisition with over 15 years of experience helping companies build successful teams.
When you look at some of the most successful CEOs in history, like IBM’s Lou Gerstner or Apple’s Steve Jobs, they all have one thing in common: they built and maintained an inclusive workplace culture that fostered exceptional and loyal employees. Take it from Jason Elkin, the founder of the first global DEI talent acquisition as-a-service company EQUALS TRUE, the first DEI-driven IT services company ATHENAWORKS, and DEI-centric venture fund Teoria Ventures. Jason stresses the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and according to Jason, it’s time to rethink our hiring practices completely. Here are three ways to create an inclusive company culture that will help you attract and retain the right talent to help your business thrive.
According to Jason, companies need to figure out their “why,” as in the reason they’re doing whatever they’re doing. Not only should companies figure out their “why,” but they should market it to potential employees. He references Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” and the concept of the Golden Circle, where Sinek reveals that the secret ingredient to any successful person or organization is the motivation behind their actions. As Sinek says, “The goal is not just to hire people who need a job; it’s to hire people who believe what you believe. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But, if they believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” In other words, a shared belief in a cause will drive motivation and loyalty in your employees. Telling the story of your “Why”, not your product/service, is key to attracting people to your cause.
Embrace a remote work culture …it really works.
When the pandemic forced millions of people into remote working, the outcome was uncertain. But despite early fears that working remotely would hinder productivity, the opposite was true, according to a study by Bloomberg. It was a win-win for workers and their employers. A Flexjob survey found that 81% of workers would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options, and 27% would be willing to take a pay cut for remote work opportunities. Remote working also can increase diversity and inclusion by creating job opportunities for people who may not be able to come to the office frequently due to child-caring responsibilities, lack of transportation, or the inability to afford housing near the office. According to Jason, companies need to join the work-from-home revolution if they want to retain top talent.
It’s not a career choice, it’s a lifestyle choice.
As the world adjusts to the new realities of work, many companies are rushing to update everything from their general employee policies to their office space leases. It seems that the old “norms” of the working world are being adapted, or discarded, to make way for new solutions. Rather than trying to fit into tradition, companies are updating their work experiences to fit the future. Unfortunately, many of these same companies are also trying to find new ways to “command and control” their workforce. This is a huge mistake, according to Jason. “Besides moving away from the obvious stupidity of trying to control people, companies need to recognize that their employees no longer view jobs as just a career choice. Today, the digital workforce views a job choice as a lifestyle choice.” Jason’s belief is that if a job/career/gig can be done remotely, then it will continue to be a favorable lifestyle choice. The work experience that a company offers is just as necessary as the role, pay, benefits, and perks offered. Right now, I’m teaching all of my recruiters to understand that a new job is not just a new career option, it’s an entirely different decision,”Jason explains. “People are putting their job choice in the same bracket as the fashion they wear, the influencers they follow, the place they live, and the car they drive. It’s a reflection of who they are and what it adds to their lives. People are asking if their new job is compatible with their ideal lifestyle.” Jason further adds, “especially for individuals that create their work product by using technology, the remote genie is out of the bottle…and it’s never going back in. Who would want to give up being close to loved ones, working from anywhere, or the feeling of freedom in their life?”
Bottom line, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that upending our usual way of doing things is not only possible but sometimes necessary. So embrace this long-overdue change and enjoy the chance to reinvent yourself and your company.