Candidates’ expectations of employers have changed drastically in the past year. They care more about a company’s mission and values than ever before, and the benefits they seek out in an employer have changed as well.
We gathered a group of experts to discuss not only how candidates’ behavior has shifted but how it will affect companies' talent strategies in 2021. Hear how your peers are preparing for the new year, and get insights into their hiring plans, employer branding strategy and culture programs.
Hear how the top talent leaders are preparing for the new year
About the Discussion
Talent experts from Cisco Meraki, Better.com and Built In gathered to discuss what companies should be thinking about in order to prepare for 2021. The discussion covered how the expectations of employers have changed in the past year, what companies can do now to set their talent strategy up for success in the new year and the trends talent teams should prepare for in 2021.
We also asked participants what they anticipated to be their biggest challenge in planning for 2021. Here’s what they said:
- 42% - Recruiting top talent
- 36% - Headcount planning
- 32% - Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
- 27% - Budgeting
- 26% - Returning to the office
- 21% - Employee retention
- 12% - Perks & benefits
The next section of this article highlights 5 key takeaways from the discussion, however, if you want to hear all of the insights our panelists shared, be sure to download the full, on-demand webinar here.
5 Key Takeaways
#1: Candidates Want Flexibility in the Workplace
We dug into candidate search behavior across our local communities to determine what perks and benefits candidates looked for in potential employers throughout 2020. Their top answer? Remote work.
However, what's interesting is that remote work reigned supreme in the beginning of 2020, as well as in 2019. The data shows candidates were seeking telecommuting opportunities long before the pandemic hit. As such, it stands to reason that COVID-19 merely accelerated what would have been a natural shift toward more widespread remote opportunities. It also indicates that flexible work environments will continue to be a sought-after benefit in 2021.
To prepare for this continuing trend, assess which of your current roles must be in-office and identify those that would allow for more flexibility. Continue to make these assessments as new roles open up in 2021.
#2: Candidates Are Assessing Potential Employers More Carefully
The many changes we saw throughout 2020 has made candidates research potential employers more carefully. They want to work for companies that are stable and are digging in to find signals of this before applying.
Candidates are looking to see how your working environment has changed in the past year and how your company has been impacted by COVID-19. Any insights they can find about your current culture will be a key factor in their decision on whether or not to apply to your roles in 2021.
#3: Be Prepared to Share Your DEI Plan With Candidates
More than ever before, candidates are asking companies throughout the interview process about their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. Be prepared to speak to this during an interview.
Remember, you must be transparent about the state of your DEI efforts so as not to overpromise and underdeliver. A clear and honest viewpoint will provide candidates with a much better employee experience should they decide to join your company.
#4: Finding Top Talent is Still A Challenge Despite Unemployment Rates Being High
COVID-19 has forced many companies into layoffs thus making the unemployment rate skyrocket. So why is finding top talent still a challenge? There is a mismatch in attracting the right talent for your organization and getting those who don't align to opt out.
To combat this in 2021, employers must be very deliberate in sharing their core values and employee value proposition up front so they attract the right candidates to hire. The more information you put out there about your company, the more opportunity you have to narrow the funnel of candidates you have applying to your roles.
Companies should also be honest with themselves about the specific skills that are required for an open position and those that are just nice to have. Likely your list of nice-to-haves aren’t going to make a candidate good at their job and you could be hurting your recruiting process by being too strict with these “requirements.”
#5: Constant Communication Will Keep Employees Engaged
After all of the changes employees had to go through in the past year, keeping them engaged, productive and happy is difficult. The key to doing this now and in 2021 is to keep channels of communication open and use them frequently.
Whether you use tactics like pulse surveys, town hall meetings, ask-me-anything sessions or something else, it’s important to recognize that things have, and probably will, frequently change within your organization. Keeping employees abreast of these changes and collecting feedback from them as they happen will foster a sense of trust and security among your workforce.
The world as we know it changed in 2020, and its impact on how employees feel about their employers and the ways candidates look for potential employers is significant. By investing in benefits and programs that will provide a sense of security for current and future employees, you’ll be poised for a successful talent strategy in 2021.