Respect Triggers Commitment
November 30, 2011
Job Candidates Read the Corporate Culture
By Nicola Denning
Evidence clearly shows that Canadian employers are loosening recruitment budgets and hiring staff despite the economic uncertainty in other parts of the world. Recent results from the 2011 BOMA Canada Annual Industry Salary & Compensation Survey reveal that 70% of surveyed employers in the property and real estate sectors are looking to augment their existing staff this year.
Competition can be expected to attract high-calibre personnel as each additional hire shrinks the pool of available workers. Employers are advised to proactively promote the image and understanding of their organization they’d like prospective job candidates to take away.
Interviews, ideally, should be a reciprocal process of cross-selling to each other and not just a one-way sell by the job seeker. Employers should assemble a team of experienced interviewers who represent the type of characteristics and qualities sought from new hires, and ensure that their corporate message is consistent throughout the entire process.
To begin, interviewers should thoroughly read a candidate’s resume and prepare a list of relevant questions. Indeed, one the most common complaints that job placement firms hear from candidates is that the prospective employer clearly hadn’t contemplated the applicant’s qualifications and experience prior to the interview. This is insulting and conveys the message that the job candidate’s efforts are inconsequential.
It’s also important to budget an appropriate amount of time for the interview and ensure that it is uninterrupted. Asking the same questions to all candidates will provide a consistent frame of reference to assess their skill sets and cultural fit and alignment with future company goals and objectives.
In addition, interviewers should outline the career benefits that the position could offer to a new employee. This could include interesting and/or challenging projects they would get to tackle, opportunities for lateral and vertical growth, and the ambience of work environment they would be joining.
Giving job candidates a sense of what it would be like to work for the organization can create a connection that will have them leaving the interview already enthused and excited about the prospects of being part of the team. That might include a tour of the facility or an opportunity to meet other team members including managers.
Employment decisions should be made as quickly as possible so that companies don’t risk losing the candidate to competitors. Interviewers should always operate on the assumption that candidates have other choices and streamline the process as much as possible.
Keep the lines of communication open, both internally in the organization and directly with the candidate. Minimizing the time between the initial interview and the presentation of an offer of employment will increase the likelihood of securing a company’s first choice for the position.
Employers must be competitive with the market rate for salaries and benefits and be open to making adjustments if necessary. Ask about salary expectations near the beginning of the process and be honest about what’s on the table so there are no surprises or misunderstandings at the offer stage.
So-called out-of-the-box incentives can include perks like: signing bonuses; bonus guarantees; flexi time; time off in lieu; job sharing; working from home; three weeks vacation as a starting point; topping up vacation with personal days; paid overtime; a company car etc.. Results from the 2011 BOMA annual survey show that individual-related performance bonuses (as opposed to company bonuses, which cannot be directly controlled by the employee), extended health benefits and more than 10 days vacation were ranked first, second and third, respectively, in importance and influence on recruitment and retention.
Compensation packages should reflect that not all employees are looking for the same things. A multi-generational workforce has different attitudes and expectations toward employment and these differences come into play when they are seeking a new job opportunity.
For example, salaries are often less of a motivator for Gen Y aged staff, who place much more value on flexi- time, paid overtime, access to advanced technology and a company’s social conscience. These individuals are also often looking for a fun, engaging and interactive work environment that values diversity and change, and can offer mentoring, training and career development.
Meanwhile, older workers may place more value on salaries and benefits such RRSP contributions, pension plans, time off in lieu and meaningful work/life balance. These individuals are looking for macro vs. micro management, flexible work environments, personal gratification and recognition.
STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGED EMPLOYEES
Once a talented worker is on board, employers must be vigilant not to lose him or her to another career prospect. Engaged employees are easier to retain, and also more productive and profitable. Committed employees can promote a positive environment in-house to help inspire co-workers, while also imparting a positive message about the company to outside clients.
Employers can help to cultivate engagement by providing the resources required to do a great job, and offering feedback and recognition that give staff a sense of purpose about what they are doing. Strong leaders make their expectations clear, while providing career and skill development opportunities.
The need to feel valued is a common trait among job seekers. Hard work should be appreciated; talents and strengths recognized. They should be able to see how their individual contribution is making a difference to the organization at large.
This corporate culture is fostered and delivered from the top and works its way down. Staff needs to be both motivated and rewarded.
Employees’ work issues and career plans can be discussed in regular monthly, quarterly and annual performance reviews. In its simplest form, it can be a matter of senior executives being courteous, saying hello to staff, striking up informal conversations and making an effort to get to know them.
Competition to attract skilled labour is always an issue for employers since staff is one of a company’s most valuable assets in any economic climate. Companies with a strategy and commitment to meet the varying expectations of their multi-generational workforce will have the greatest success when dealing with the labour shortage challenges.
Nicola Denning is a Senior Manager at Hays Specialist Recruitment (Canada) Inc., specializing in recruiting for the property and real estate industry. For more information, see the web site at www.hays.ca.