DEVELOPING NEWS SPECIAL EDITION: EXECUTIVE ROUNDTABLE INPUT ON WORKFORCE MIGHT BE USEFUL TO YOU
We’re departing from our usual multi-story Developing News format this edition to focus on one topic: new ideas about workforce recruitment and retention that were shared May 11 during a GSDC Executive Roundtable held at American Heritage Bank.
Twenty-one leaders participated in the Executive Roundtable (listed later in this article), which was the first in a new series of GSDC offerings exclusive to Corporate Level investors. Perhaps some of the following ideas or comments might help with a workforce need of yours.
Luke Greiner, DEED’s labor market analyst, shared some eye-opening regional workforce statistics. You can view the charts and other slides he used here.
The remainder of the roundtable discussion, moderated by DAYTA Marketing’s Luke Riordan, centered on four questions:
- What is your company doing differently since the pandemic to successfully attract and retain employees?
- How can employers work together to promote our region to jobseekers? (For those of you not reading to the end, remember that the GSDC’s StCloudShines.com is an informative and free talent-recruitment tool to add to your company website!)
- What does your organization do to ensure a positive candidate experience and showcase that you are the employer of choice?
- What is your company doing to reach and retain untapped pockets of talent?
What is your company doing differently since the pandemic to successfully attract and retain employees?
- Daycare services.
- Childcare reimbursement.
- Funeral leave.
- $250 gift card for each staff member to use at Crossroads Mall, also providing an afternoon off for them to spend the money, further enhancing camaraderie.
- Benefits as a cafeteria plan, letting each employee select their perks (such as an extra day off).
- For near-retirees, flexibility to work less (at a corresponding pay reduction) but retain benefits.
- Keeping the door open to rehire boomerang employees – those who depart but want to return.
- Offering four-day work week.
- Paid internships.
- We host an annual, two-day exclusive event built for rising college students to experience life inside a professional services firm, network with other industry professionals and students, and learn more about the internship and staff opportunities.
- Listing company benefits on the website, so jobseekers know right away.
- Employees recognize each other for outstanding efforts, each is tied to a core value. Points are redeemed for swag or gift cards.
- Superstar front-row parking spot for a month.
- Treating people so well that they want to stay!
- Revamping our Wellness Program to offer expanded opportunities and support for mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
- We offer a Sabbatical program. Those with the company for at least 5 years are eligible for a 30-day paid sabbatical, and those with us for 10 years or more are eligible for a 60-day paid sabbatical.
- Paid volunteer time.
How can employers work together to promote our region to jobseekers?
- We need a powerful “signature shot” that stops people before they “swipe left.” (How often do you look for a house, see the first picture and say, “Nope!”)
- Add the detailed information in StCloudShines.com to your company website. (GSDC staff can also provide free tools to help you market the site.)
- Use professional photography and video on company websites, including to show the workplace environment. Jobseekers notice when it’s a poor smartphone photo or video, causing them to wonder how serious the company is.
- We need to get people more efficiently in and out of town for interviews with additional air service.
- Make more connections between high school and college students with area employers. (The EPIC program was mentioned as a successful example.) If college students don’t make connections here, they probably have better connections in their hometowns. Also, local students don’t always know all the opportunities available in their backyards.
- Business could again help with college move-in days, establishing relationships (and potential employees) with returning college students.
What does your organization do to ensure a positive candidate experience and showcase that you are the employer of choice?
- Immediately respond, in an upbeat way, when applications come in.
- Provide those wanting to return to our region with resources related to housing, childcare, etc. (And to belabor the point, StCloudShines.com lists those and many other resources!)
- In HR, we used to have a week to decide on a candidate. Now we need to move right away, while at the same time checking to ensure a good applicant is hired.
- For bigger companies, use an applicant tracking system. This helps you manage where they’re coming from and to which department the application should be forwarded.
- Allow jobseekers to begin the process with a text, interact that way with a couple more texts, then proceed to a formal application process.
- Make sure the application process is simple for the applicant, especially those from diverse populations who want to work but have difficulty with complicated application materials.
- Encourage younger team members to get involved with area boards/committees to help provide purpose, build networks and bring back energy to the company.
- If a there’s a good applicant who doesn’t perfectly fit the job for which they applied, consider them for another opportunity within your company. For strong applicants you cannot place, share their information with the GSDC, which might be able to identify opportunities with other companies.
What is your company doing to reach and retain untapped pockets of talent?
- Untapped pockets of talent were identified as people with disabilities, moms, transgender jobseekers, veterans, and so on.
- Use an employee-referral bonus system.
- Allow flexibility for special requests, such as prayer time or kids’ school activities. Also, be flexible for the parent whose childcare drop-off time is after 8 a.m. or pickup time before 5 p.m.
- One employee started a nonprofit to help veterans gain certain job skills.
We thank American Heritage Bank for providing space and Luke Greiner and Luke Riordan for helping lead the May 11 discussion.
We also thank the GSDC Corporate Level ($5,500+) investors who generously shared their input and good ideas.
- American Heritage Bank
- Blattner Companies
- Bradbury Stamm Construction
- DAYTA Marketing
- Capital One
- Central McGowan
- Commercial Realty Solutions
- U.S. Bank
- Wolters Kluwer
If you’re interested in participating in the next Executive Roundtable (with a topic to be determined), please contact GSDC President Patti Gartland at 320-260-2442.
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