Business Sherpa Group (BSG) recently hosted a Labour Market Lunch event for our clients and associates, to discuss trends in the labour market from a job seeker and a manager perspective. We were joined by Forrest Donaldson and Kelsey Ellis, two of our human resources experts.The event focused on what managers can do to remain competitive with larger firms, looking beyond financial compensation to what intangible benefits SMEs can offer applicants.
The shift to virtual work has made employer-employee relationships more transactional, and that trend will stay with us for a while. Job seekers want flexibility in where they work and when they work; it’s up to managers to decide if that is a good strategy for the business to use or if it will cost them. They’re also looking for more in terms of compensation. Inflation has increased the cost of living, so wages must also rise, however, they are only one piece of the compensation puzzle. Workers want their managers to support their personal lives to a greater degree as well, offering mental health support or covering some childcare costs, for example. It’s important to offer compensation packages that help provide balance. If your existing staff is unhappy, you likely won’t attract the best applicants and, in the very competitive labour market of today, risk losing them.
The role of a manager is changing, according to our panel. Soft skills like communication and team building are more crucial in a virtual environment so nobody feels left behind. Pairing new hires with employees for the first week or more can go a long way to making them feel supported in the organization. Another thing that managers can do is meet with new hires more regularly, to show them how they can grow within the organization, both through delivering on expectations but also through learning supported by the organization.
Finally, when considering going back into the office, managers need to remember the mental toll this pandemic has taken on people. Some staff might not be as comfortable returning to work than others, and that is okay. A good manager will deal with staff on a case-by-case basis and consider what worked well in a virtual setting vs what needs to be in office. The pandemic is not over yet, so managers need to be ready to make changes to their policy quickly.
We at BSG would like to thank our panelists for hosting this event, and we would also like to thank our guests for coming to the event and asking great questions of our panelists. If you have any human resources questions that you need answered, we’re here to provide our expertise. If you’re having issues attracting good candidates, we can help with that too. Just contact us through this link and we will be in touch shortly.