The economy may be slowing, but the war for talent is still intense. Businesses continue to find it difficult to attract the right employees and are having to resort to some creative thinking to make their workplace attractive to new talent.
That was the message from Pina Melchionna, president and CEO of CITT, who this week addressed the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual convention. She urged businesses to define their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and effectively leverage it to make a difference.
In short, an EVP defines: “What do I stand for, and why should candidates come work for my company?” she explained.
“Competition remains fierce for talented professionals at all levels and employees are in the driver’s seat. Employers have to start thinking creatively about what they stand for, and how to better utilize and invest in their people.”
Era of the ‘reverse interview’
This is the era of the “reverse interview,” Melchionna noted, referring to interviews in which a job candidate has their pick of employers and will ask more questions of a prospective employer than they are asked themselves. “Candidates are actually asking employers, ‘Why should I come work for you?’” she said.
Businesses have responded by increasing pay. A recent survey indicated 43% of companies increased pay since the beginning of the pandemic, but still only 55.8% of employees are satisfied with their compensation. To make matters worse in this industry, supply chain and logistics jobs fail to capture the excitement of many job-seekers.
“The better you are at your jobs, the more invisible you become,” Melchionna said of supply chain professionals.
While compensation is important to job seekers, there are other ways to attract them. Benefits, flexible schedules, career advancement, and skills development opportunities are additional ways to make a company more attractive, she added.
Focus on the benefits
She urged employers to focus on those benefits they can offer, even if they don’t relate directly to compensation. One example she cited was a Toronto area employer that pays for its employees’ 407 toll highway bills.
“Imagine you have a candidate and you can say to them you give them the most precious non-renewable resource there is – time,” she said, noting employees are saving 40 hours a month or 480 hours a year by taking the pricey toll route. “I said to the company, plaster that all over the place. I’d like to work for a company that gives me back almost 500 hours of time. Think of all the things you can do with that.”
Once you’ve defined your company’s EVP, Melchionna said it’s also important to live up to it. “You can’t write a bunch of stuff that isn’t true,” she stressed.
An EVP can be as simple as Goldman Sachs’: “You will make an impact.”
Or it can go into more detail, such as Yelp, whose EVP includes gym subsidies, unlimited snacks at work, and healthcare benefits.
The value of employee development
Investing in employee development will also help attract and retain workers. A Robert Half study in 2021 found 63% of surveyed workers didn’t have a clear career path for advancement. Employees appreciate opportunities to advance their skills, and employers can help them by paying for them to attend conferences, subsidizing professional development courses, or providing paid days off to study and take exams.
Melchionna acknowledged this all comes at a cost, and that some companies fear investing in employees only to lose them to another company. The alternative, she contended, is having employees whose skills become stale. She encouraged employers to allot funding for employee training and professional development rather than viewing it as a discretionary spend.
“Competition for talent is not going away.”
Pina Melchionna, CITT
Melchionna said some companies are even finding success in hiring for personality and aptitude, even if the candidate lacks the required skillset that can be learned on the job. As an example, she cited the LCBO, which struggled to find qualified supply chain and logistics professionals.
With CITT, the LCBO created two customized micro-credential courses that taught the supply chain and logistics skills needed for the role, greatly expanding the candidate pool.
“Competition for talent is not going away,” Melchionna warned. “There may be ebbs and flows, but the long-term trend is there’s not enough talent to replace all the Baby Boomers who are retiring. Compensation and other perks are important, and training and development can be the differentiator.”
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