- Remote work has widened the talent pool for organizations
- Being recruited changes employees' expectations of your organization
- Leaders need to proactively reattract their current talent
Competition for talent is reaching unprecedented levels, and the result is this: No employees are really "off the market" now.
Gallup's latest research highlights a new reality that most employers are not fully prepared for:
- One in four U.S. employees say they have been recruited in the past three months.
- One in 10 employees say they have been recruited in the past three months even though they were not actively looking for a new job or even watching for opportunities.
This marks a 57% rise since 2015 in the number of non-job seekers being actively recruited, and it may mark a new chapter in the "Great Resignation" saga.
The Rules of Recruiting Are Changing
A recent CHRO Roundtable discussion hosted by Gallup revealed that competition for talent is the No. 1 concern for CHROs in the world's largest organizations. However, since the pandemic, the rules of talent attraction and retention have changed.
The sharp increase in remote work has led to a new era of boundary-less recruiting. Organizations have access to candidate pools they never imagined being able to recruit, and candidates are considering organizations far outside a "commutable distance." Today, recruiters have more ways to communicate with your employees, and with a tight labor market, their offers are more compelling than ever.
Those who are looking for another job are able to find one. But the demand for talent continues -- which means those who aren't looking are next on the list. And those conversations can be coming from anywhere.
What We Know About the Non-Seekers
Gallup research has long shown that being engaged at work increases retention. This most recent study further confirms: Actively disengaged employees are three times more likely than engaged employees to be watching or actively looking for job opportunities. Much of the "Great Resignation" has been driven by disengagement.
But even engaged employees -- who are more likely to be committed and content -- are now a target for recruiters looking for talent to fill critical roles.
The experience of being recruited impacts employees in one of two ways:
1. They take a job with another employer. Many leaders have found themselves surprised by some of the recent departures from their organizations. These departing employees were not the "likely suspects." They were well-connected, well-supported and thriving at the organization. Now they are gone.
The consequences are manifold: Not only does the organization have to spend time and money to hire and train a replacement, but there are effects on team morale, engagement of team members (and best friends at work!) and the productivity of cross-functional workgroups, to name a few. Furthermore, peers or colleagues that remain may be left wondering if they should be considering a change. Ultimately, losing a committed, engaged employee is losing the kind of cultural and performance champion your organization is actually looking to duplicate.
2. They stay with your organization, but with new perceptions and expectations. Even if the employee isn't recruited away, they are changed. The experience of being sought out is likely to give them a new perspective on their worth. Perhaps they were offered a lucrative compensation package, more flexibility, a better title or additional perks. It's flattering to be valued in that way.
The demand for talent continues -- which means those who aren't looking are next on the list. And those conversations can be coming from anywhere.
Naturally, the experience is going to change the way that person approaches development conversations, performance conversations and pay conversations going forward. Even if a recruited employee stays with your organization, the ruler by which they are measuring satisfaction with their job, pay, benefits and development has been rescaled.
Leaders Have Agency to Reduce Turnover
There is likely a lot more attempted poaching going on than most leaders realize. It doesn't mean, however, that they are at the mercy of the job market and must accept this attrition. Organizations have agency in the face of this challenge and can interrupt the recruitment circuit before it's too late.
Managers: Connect with your committed, engaged employees ASAP.
Gallup's past research on employee exits shows that employees often leave an organization (a) knowing that the employer could've done something to keep them and (b) missing a conversation with their manager about their future.
Managers need to proactively address the factors that are contributing to resignations:
Pay and benefits: Competitive pay is table stakes to retain employees who are being actively recruited, but it also is a way to show committed employees how much the organization values their contribution. Even in cases where immediate raises can't be offered, managers can paint a compelling vision for how pay growth can be accomplished over time and with performance.
Career development: Development cannot be a topic visited annually. Employees experiencing investment from their manager and development in their career are much less likely to leave for another offer. Many employees exit because they don't see a clear or exciting future at the organization.
Work structure and flexibility: Employees are reaching a breaking point with burnout and are recognizing that work-life balance is the key to their sustainability. Managers need to have ongoing and individualized conversations about work structure (how work gets done) and flexibility (when and where it gets done) with employees, remote or not. Engaged and committed employees may not even realize how much they need this dialogue, so it's up to managers to make the first move.
Leaders: Expand your attraction strategy into a reattraction strategy.
Knowing that one in four employees are currently being recruited by the competition, it's time for leaders to remind people why they joined in the first place. While a tough labor market requires resources focused on attracting new talent, organizations also need to spend time reattracting their current talent.
Consider what is most appealing about the organization -- what sets it apart -- and highlight those values, attributes and offerings. Ensure the experience of working at the organization is aligned with the purpose and culture communicated by leadership.
Knowing that one in four employees are currently being recruited by the competition, it's time for leaders to remind people why they joined in the first place.
Knowing what people are looking for in their next job is the first step to ensuring your organization is offering what employees really want. Leaders and managers have agency to create an environment that retains committed, engaged talent -- even in light of increased recruitment.
Ultimately, organizations that face the challenge of the "Great Reshuffle" by prioritizing reengaging and reattracting their employees will set themselves apart in the war for talent.