How To Attract & Retain Great Employees In The Wake Of The Great Resignation

The pandemic changed our lives in many ways, and the workplace is no exception. According to Harvard Business Review, 57 million Americans quit their jobs between January 2021 and February 2022. Many employers are looking to fill gaps in their teams, but in today’s recruitment market, employees hold all of the cards. 

Millennial and Gen-Z workers obviously want to be financially secure, but they also want to live with purpose and feel like they’re having an impact on the world around them. Work-life balance is more important to these younger workers than to previous generations, and, simply put, they’re not willing to burn out for a paycheck.

They’re looking for growth and the ability to explore new opportunities, and the most attractive employers provide these things. 

In today’s market, employers that are attracting the best employees understand that what they’re really doing is marketing themselves. When they hire, they know that they aren’t just vetting the candidates, they’re also being vetted BY the candidates.

They also see the potential in the talent they already have on the team and are intentional about investing in their growth. 

So, how can you market your business to attract the best candidates and make sure that once you find them, they want to stay for a while? Keep reading to find out.

Understand Why Workers Stay

Before you overhaul your recruitment efforts, you should understand what keeps Millenials and Gen-Z workers at their jobs. According to Fortune, the younger workforce values things like work-life balance, opportunities for growth, and a good salary.

Already offer these things? Great! You may just need help showing off what makes your company great. 

Graphic courtesy of

Market What Sets Your Company Apart

To set yourself apart from the competition, you should market your company like you market your products. 

One way to organically market your business is through employer branding, which means highlighting all of the things that are great about working for your company. Company branding helps prospective employees understand what it’s actually like to work for you. Google’s employee perks are well-known, which is why they’re leading the pack when it comes to attracting the best candidates. 

One of the best ways to market your business is through your current employees. According to a report from LinkedIn, prospective employees trust the opinion of current employees about what it’s like to work for a company three times more than they trust the employer. Sharing employee testimonials on your website, social media, or even recruitment ads is a great way to showcase what employees like about working for your company.

Some other ways you can focus on employer branding include:

  • Creating an office and workplace that reflects the spirit and culture of the company
  • Offering meaningful perks and benefits — healthcare, gym memberships, mileage reimbursements for in-office days, on-site daycare, etc.
  • Showcasing company events — share events that you host to foster team bonding and events you host to attract new team members
  • Offering awards — officially recognize employees whose contributions help the company excel and share the recipients on your social media and website

Encourage Innovation to Strengthen Culture and Trust

Innovation is the key to staying competitive, and often the most innovative ideas come from within your team. 

Innovation can be disruptive, like the invention of the iPhone, or it can be sustaining, like improving internal processes or adding features to existing products to provide a better customer experience. 

Companies that encourage freedom and creativity within their teams are not only doing a better job of staying ahead of the competition, but they’re also doing a better job of retaining their top talent. Why? Because employees who feel that their ideas are valued are more motivated, engaged, and passionate about their work. It’s no surprise that engaged and motivated employees are less likely to seek new employment opportunities.

One unique way to keep employees engaged and to foster innovative, creative thinking is to offer opportunities to assist with projects outside their usual team. For example, a member of your sales team may be able to offer new insights to your marketing team about an ad campaign because they have different interactions with prospects.

Not only could the business outcomes be outstanding, but it could also foster great innovation and problem-solving while also building a new bond within your team. And it can offer opportunities for your team members to grow their skills by applying them in new ways.

Create a Culture of Employee Recognition and Rewards

When an employee goes above and beyond, are they ignored as if going the extra mile is expected, or are they recognized for their efforts? How you react can significantly impact productivity, ambition, and morale within your company.

There are tried-and-true methods of rewarding stellar performance, like cash bonuses, promotions, or awards, but there are also many unique opportunities, like:

  • Organizing fun team-building events 
  • Decking the team in company swag
  • Paying for a class or training they really want to attend
  • New office equipment, like a standing desk or a better monitor
  • A genuine, handwritten note of appreciation
  • A personalized gift, like a mug or wallet
  • Extra days of paid vacation time

Recognizing and rewarding your team makes them feel valued and appreciated, which improves your company culture. It may even create evangelists for your company who go out of their way to tell others about how great your business is.

Ask Employees What Perks Are Most Meaningful To Them

A perk is a type of non-monetary compensation that extends beyond salary and traditional benefits, like health insurance or a retirement account. When candidates are comparing similar job offers, it’s often the perks that put one employer ahead of another. 

According to a study conducted by FlexJobs, 58% of respondents said they want a fully remote job, while 39% prefer a hybrid arrangement. Only 3% want to return to fully in-person work. One perk you may consider offering (if you don’t already) is the opportunity to work fully remote or in a hybrid arrangement. 

Other perks include:

  • Standing desks (for both in-person and remote workers)
  • On-site eateries or free, healthy snacks
  • Gym membership reimbursements 
  • On-site childcare
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Charity donation matching
  • Casual dress code

The possibilities are nearly endless, so it’s important to choose perks that match your company culture and are meaningful to your employees. 

New hires are always interested in these perks and what it means for their overall experience. The more perks, the more likely it is they will sign on, especially if they believe it’s going to improve their workdays and lifestyles.

Create Honest Job Descriptions

When you write a job description, it’s important to include job responsibilities, but you should also highlight opportunities for growth and advancement, plus give an idea of what your company is like. Remember, applicants hold the cards, so you don’t want a description that just lists a huge number of required tasks.

Start with an accurate job title, a blurb about main responsibilities, introduce the company, and be sure to include a salary range and perks. It’s also helpful to add a concise list of qualifications and skills.

Your job descriptions help you attract the right candidates, so investing some time in them up-front can make your recruitment efforts more effective and efficient. LinkedIn recently shared some outstanding job description examples if you need some inspiration. 

Offer Top-Notch Training Opportunities

Top-tier employees are top-tier because of their innate desire to learn, grow, and build new skills. For these outstanding candidates, offering training opportunities is essential. It also helps fight boredom and stagnation in their job, which can cause them to seek new, more engaging opportunities elsewhere. 

Training can be formal, with courses through platforms like LinkedIn or Udemy, or it can be fully-paid attendance to a relevant conference or speaker. It can also be slightly less formal, like building a mentorship program so they have a more senior team member invested in guiding them and encouraging their growth. 

You may even offer career development and planning seminars or resources. These resources help your team identify their skills, where they want to end up in their career, and how they plan to get there. Investing in your team by helping them plan for the future is a great way to help them build new skills that improve job performance and build job satisfaction and loyalty. 

Create Opportunities for Team Bonding and Collaboration

Tight-knit teams work better together and have more job satisfaction, but how do you create that close bond without the cheesy icebreaker activities that get nothing but eye rolls from your employees? Many companies have success doing a variety of in and out of the office activities.

Some popular team-building activities are:

  • Solving a puzzle together during a meeting (either a brain teaser or an actual jigsaw puzzle)
  • Having a brainstorming session to solve a company challenge
  • Creating a scavenger hunt for new hires to help them get to know the team and company
  • Hosting a lunch and learn where you provide lunch and a member of the team teaches everyone else a new skill
  • Going to an escape room 
  • Doing a volunteer activity 

Many organizations have also found that buddy systems or ambassador programs help boost new hire morale and onboarding program proficiency.

Don’t Forget Your Biggest Asset

Hiring new employees to fill vacancies is important and, for many companies, pressing. However, don’t forget the most important weapon in your arsenal: your existing employees.

Happy employees are impossible to hide. They shine when prospects visit your office, and they’ll speak highly of their work experiences within their personal circles. When you’ve created a great company culture, it’s natural for your employees to want to act as ambassadors for you. However, it should always be optional so it’s genuine and authentic.

Some ways to facilitate employee ambassadorship are to:

  • Let employees use company time to act as an ambassador
  • Create guidelines for posting about the company on social media
  • Make it easy for them to access the company logo and branding files
  • Feature employee posts or testimonials on your company social pages or website
  • Offer swag they’ll enjoy using or wearing

Remember, prospects trust the opinion of current employees three times more than they trust what the company says, so this could really put you ahead of your competition when it comes to recruiting. 

Don’t Sweat Resignations

It’s always hard to lose a great employee, but with the tactics outlined above, you’ll be able to attract new, outstanding candidates and keep your great employees for longer. Plus, when you foster a company culture that truly cares about what’s best for employees, you’ll see resignations as a step forward in their career and life path, not a blow to your business. 

To make resignations less stressful, consider employing different ways to capture the knowledge and processes of your employees. A job description will tell you what the employee is doing but it won’t tell you how they are doing it. Examples include cross training, mentorships, and detailed documentation.

Those great employees will continue to speak highly of your company even after leaving, and if you have an open door policy, they may even return in the future bringing new experiences and skills that bolster your business. 

Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.

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