7 Ways to Attract & Retain Top Talent in 2023

Did you know that, in the first half of 2021, a record 44% of small business owners were unable to fill their job vacancies? This figure reflects the consequences of the pandemic and the struggle to find top talent as we wade into the beginning of a phenomenon called the Great Resignation.

A record number of employees were laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdown measures implemented. However, as the world (very) slowly starts to get “back to normal,” a lot of those workers aren’t returning. With the reopening of local economies, what strategies can employers implement? How can they work to differentiate themselves from the rest of their competition in order to attract and retain the best talent?

It’s logical to think that the best way to bring in new talent, or try to keep existing talent that is high-performing, is to offer competitive salaries. But today, that option is no longer enough, because after what most employees experienced during the pandemic, they are seeking not only to be paid for their work, but also to be offered alternatives, benefits and a better quality of life outside of work that fully satisfies them.

Employers, unfortunately (or, actually, fortunately!), have been left to play the game. Offer better benefits, more flexibility, and opportunities for advancement or watch your workforce fade away. Want a competitive edge in the coming year? Here are a few ways that you can attract and retain top talent in 2022.

How is the Job Market Changing?

Due to COVID-19, the economy in the United States has been on quite the roller coaster in the last two years. During the first days of lockdown, for example, unemployment soared alarmingly as companies had to gradually lay off their workers due to business closures. By April 2020, a terrifying record of 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs and unemployment reached a staggering 14.8%.

Although the economy has been recovering over the past year, the labor sector is still in flux. According to data revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an imbalance in both labor supply and demand, even with a nationwide record of 10 million available jobs and an approximate unemployment rate of 5.2%.

The current reality is...business owners claim they have millions of job openings, but few workers willing to fill them. According to economists, the United States is slowly emerging from the pandemic. However, this jobs crisis will threaten the economic recovery for some time to come.

According to Holly Wade, Executive Director of the Research Center of the National Federation of Independent Business: "Some have had to turn down business and reduce their operations due to staff shortages. Others are trying to meet the demand of working longer hours and paying bonuses to employees who are willing to work overtime, but these strategies are not sustainable in the long term.”

Why such a massive change in the labor market? Workers post-pandemic have new needs and aspirations. Now, the priority isn’t just a fair and timely salary, but also that their working conditions allow them to improve their quality of life. After all we’ve all been through during the last two years, it makes complete sense. Now, the goal is to figure out how to adapt your business to the changing landscape. To understand that, we need to ask ourselves one question...

What Do Employees Want Out of Their Jobs in 2022?

The pandemic forever changed the way employees see their jobs. Honestly, it’s changed the way the entire world views work, productivity, and life in general. Therefore, companies seeking to attract and retain quality talent must understand the current needs and priorities of their future workforce. Adopting flexible and modern work models is one of the easiest ways to cater to changing employee needs in 2022.

It is no secret to anyone that employees today want to determine where and when to work. They did it so well during the pandemic that it only makes sense now. Similarly, they are also saying that they prefer to work with a diverse team. This is also easier to cater to when you’re able to hire remote talent from around the world (see what not working in an office can do for you?). Most of all, many employees are saying that they would like to be evaluated for the value and quality of their work. These days, nobody wants to be evaluated by the volume of their deliverables.

What else are employees looking for in 2022? Namely, they’re after more benefits. This includes health benefits, financial benefits and flexible hours. In short, companies that understand and adopt these new conditions and needs of future talents will not only boost the motivation and commitment of their workforce, but will also contribute to the happiness and productivity of their employees.

7 Ways to Attract & Retain Top Talent in 2022

For employees, health insurance, traditional salary and retirement benefits remain determining factors when it comes to accepting a job. As the job market changes, new, rising talent are prioritizing work-life balance. They're also prioritizing the potential for professional growth and benefits packages when making the decision to accept or not a job.

If you want to attract and retain that top talent, then here are seven ways you can do so.

1. Health, Dental and Vision Insurance

Offering some form of health insurance is an important and attractive benefit that many potential hires will consider and appreciate. Currently, it seems, however, that most employees are content with their current insurance offerings. Just over 60% polled in a recent survey agreed that they are content with their health benefits. They said they would not want to trade benefits for high wages or vice versa.

2. Retirement Benefits and Employee Savings Account:

Offering retirement benefits, such as a 401(k) or managed IRA plan, is one of the best ways to attract top talent in 2022. Why? Unlike health insurance offerings, it’s one of the things that most employees feel is lacking.

92% of employees at small to mid-sized companies ranked “workplace savings and retirement plans” as an important factor in remaining with their employer. And, 40% of employees working for small businesses say that they would leave their current company for another that offers a 401(k) plan. 

3. Paid Holidays & Time Off

We’re all burnt out. After two full years of living through trauma day after day, employees and business owners alike are running on fumes. Offering paid vacations or the opportunity to have paid time off to share with the family is crucial now. In a recent survey, employees ranked paid vacation as their second most-valued benefit after health insurance. 

4. Flexible Hours

Allowing flexible work hours is an excellent benefit for many employees. Everybody needs to balance their work, social and family life. On top of desiring flexibility in general, allowing employees to adjust their schedules to start or continue studies, for example, can make the work environment much more attractive. How? It shows that you truly care about their personal and professional advancement.

5. Remote Work

Workers want to choose when and where they work. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. They managed to make it work for nearly two years. After doing away with long morning commutes, pointless office meetings, and professional dress codes, there’s little hope of going back to the way things were before.

6. Wellness Benefits

Offering memberships or discounts to fitness clubs, yoga classes, visits to the chiropractor, or other wellness activities could create a more relaxed work environment. 67% of employees who work for organizations with wellness programs like their jobs more. This same percentage is extremely or very likely to recommend their employer to others.

7.  Professional Growth Opportunities

Offering benefits that contribute to the growth and professional development of the employee, either through tuition reimbursements or other training options, will be of great interest to attract and retain great talent in 2022 and beyond.

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