As hiring becomes competitive, employers may need to change their mindset to retain staff

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana is seeing record high unemployment levels statewide, but many employers are still struggling to fill vacancies. As hiring becomes more competitive, a local expert takes a look at what these employers can do to retain the employees they have.

Michael Kirchner, assistant professor of organizational leadership for Purdue Fort Wayne, said employees entering the workforce now are very different from older generations.

“We would start with one company, and stay with that organization for many years, often until retirement,” Kirchner said. “These younger generations, Millennials, Gen Z, there’s a much greater interest in opportunities for career advancement, a much greater interest in feeling supported.”

It’s something he says has only been amplified as workers process the impact the pandemic has had on their lives.

“I think between the pandemic and politics, that social media, we’re all under a level of stress and anxiety that we’ve never really had to deal with before and deal with, and I think the one consequence is that we’re ‘I’m not ready to tolerate a workplace that doesn’t care about us,’” Kirchner said.

According to Kirchner, employers will likely have to adapt to changing mindsets if they want to keep their staff stable and reliable.

“We often hear employers talk about when working on this labor shortage that ‘I’m just looking for a hot body’, and that really triggers a mindset that we don’t see our employees as assets. “said Kirchner. “We’re so entrenched in day-to-day operations and meeting existing quotas that we don’t invest enough time in building those relationships and having meaningful connections with our workforce.”

Without these meaningful connections, employers run the risk of their employees assuming only the bare minimum of responsibilities.

“If employees feel like the only reason they’re employed is because they’re there to do the job, as opposed to, they’re really valued as individuals, we show up for work, we we do the minimum work required and we get our wages.There isn’t a lot of investment from either party beyond just getting the job done.

Regarding the high turnover rate, some companies see Kirchner said that it is normal for people to decide whether or not they like the job during the first three months of employment and that this period is when the businesses see the most revenue. Employee training is one of the most expensive parts of running a business, which is why Kirchner recommends managers address the less attractive parts of a job during the interview process.

“We talk about paying benefits, oh, it’s a fun work environment,” Kirchner said. “What we don’t talk about are the negatives, the challenges that employees face, whether it’s a particular job within the organization or issues that exist within the organization. in general. s. Essentially, we lied to this new hire about what their work experience will be, and then this new hire starts, and very quickly we put them on their shoulders to pick up the things that aren’t so good to work here.”

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