How To Use Technology to Recruit and Retain Talent in a Competitive Labor Market


As companies face employment-related challenges, pay hikes are not enough. Employees have various expectations from employers today. So how can employers attract and retain talent? Derek McIntyre, the chief operating officer of TCP Software, discusses how companies can create an environment for employees to thrive by providing benefits combined with technologies that make work and life easier.

Business leaders and HR teams have continually navigated various challenges and roadblocks in the 2+ years following the outbreak of COVID-19. As the workplace and its workforce continue to be transformed, companies worldwide face historic labor shortages that have put mounting pressure on recruiting and retention efforts. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recordOpens a new window 4.5 million workers left their jobs in November 2021. And while Salary.comOpens a new window found that 52% of U.S.-based organizations planned to fund merit increases in 2022 — a 174% increase year-over-year — salary increases alone are not enough. 

What I’ve been most surprised by is the massive shift in expectations employees have of their employer. We know that a more holistic and human-centric approach is needed to retain current employees and attract new talent. We see this in Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor 4Q20: Update on Workforce ActivityOpens a new window report, which found that behind compensation, work-life balance is what job seekers prioritize most. But it goes much deeper than work-life balance and flexibility — those have become a standard expectation in our post-COVID lives. On top of these expectations, today’s job seekers and employees now look to their employers to fulfill a broader spectrum of their needs — needs often met by innovative technologies.

As I’ve reflected on this spectrum of employee needs in recent months, I’ve noticed a tight alignment with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This was immediately evident at the outset of the pandemic when companies were more involved than ever to ensure employees’ physiological and safety needs were met when health, safety, financial security, and access to critical resources were in peril. And in the months since, employees’ reliance on their employers to meet their other needs like love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization has only grown. Before the pandemic, employee expectations of their employer were mainly focused on job security and providing a role in which the employee was interested. Fast forward to today, employees now look to their employer to provide a wide range of benefits, social opportunities, and personal and professional development.

With employee expectations continuing to climb, how can HR and talent acquisition teams attract new talent and retain existing employees? There’s no silver bullet. But by providing a mix of creative and valuable benefits combined with technologies that make work and life, by extension, easier, companies can do everything in their power to create an environment for employees to thrive.

Providing Support, Acceptance, and Job Security for Employees With Caregiving Duties

As mental health and overall well-being have become accepted conversations in the workplace, employees have been empowered to let down their guard and share more about the struggles they and their families are navigating. With this shift, employees now expect and even seek out employers that meet their needs for belonging, support, and acceptance surrounding whatever challenges they may be facing.

So often, throughout the many phases of life in this COVID-19 era, we’ve heard stories of employees who chose to leave their job or the workforce altogether due to the difficulties they experience balancing work with caregiving duties at home. While not widely discussed before 2020, this is a prevalent challenge as nearly 1 in 5 workers in the U.S. are also caregivers for ill, elderly or special-needs adults, according to Caregiving in the U.S.Opens a new window , a 2020 AARP report. Employees navigating caregiving responsibilities alongside their job often need to tap into their paid sick days and flexible work hours to balance the needs of their dependents. 

For these employees and job seekers, benefits that offer generous paid caregiver leave can make all the difference. Deloitte and Microsoft are two companies leading the way, offering paid caregiver leave from 4 weeks to 4 months yearly. Some employers offer caregivers benefits and programs to alleviate some strain, including paid backup care assistance and expert consultations. Microsoft offers 150 backup care hours through Bright Horizons, childcare, and elder care provider, for its U.S. employees, while Fannie Mae provides caregiver consultations and crisis counseling.

With burnout already rampant, benefits designed to provide caregivers with additional flexibility paid leave, and support will help companies retain these employees and reduce their stress. At the same time, forward-thinking organizations are taking full advantage of the proliferation of tools and technologies that measure employee experience, engagement, and well-being. The insights they gather can inform how best to identify, measure, and mitigate burnout. With a growing demand for more flexibility and control over schedules, companies are increasingly empowering employees, including hourly workers, to have more visibility and collaboration regarding schedule assignments.

See More: New Healthcare Collaboration Technologies Save Time for Caregivers

Delivering Financial Flexibility and Freedom Through On-demand Pay

Beyond caregiver benefits, companies are leveraging technology to deliver innovative new perks to employees. On-demand pay is on the frontier of emerging benefits companies provide to attract new talent and retain existing workforces. 

Providing advanced access to wages at an employee’s precise time of need is aligned with Maslow’s two most critical needs. Access to on-demand pay reduces stress around physiological needs and meets employees’ needs for safety by providing financial security. Given the financial strain the global pandemic has put on employees, employers have an opportunity to impact their employees’ lives positively. On-demand pay is a benefit that can improve employees’ financial health by offering them the funds they need to avoid high-interest payday loans or late fees on bill payments.

By bettering employees’ financial health and wellness, employers can also benefit by seeing improvements in hiring, retention, and productivity. Some companies offering on-demand pay have reported an increase in the number of shifts picked up by their employees, citing the instant access to earnings as a key factor. 

By providing employees with the support, resources, and flexibility to take care of their families in addition to financial freedom, the two benefits above help employees meet their safety needs. In part two of this series, I will explore the benefits leading companies provide to meet additional elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and fulfill those of esteem and self-actualization.

How are you using technology to provide your employees with the required benefits? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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