The workplace is constantly evolving. It’s impossible to ignore the widespread effects of globalization, technology, shifting trends in where and how the working population lives, and a myriad of other factors that contribute to how organizations must operate in 2020. Many changes, such as the push towards wage equality for women are undeniably positive. Other changes in employee expectations have caused some debate, but one thing is certain: hiring managers and recruiters must accept change and roll with it – or be left behind.
For Karen Groom, Founder and CEO of Canadian-based recruitment firm Groom & Associates (headquartered in Montreal), adapting to shifting mentalities and keeping an open mind isn’t only recommended, but crucial.
“It’s not always easy to keep up with evolving workplace expectations, particularly those of the millennials, but expecting things to be the way they were in the 1990’s isn’t the best approach. I think one key to employee recruitment and retention is recognizing these emerging trends, and adapting to them,” says Groom.
Groom & Associates has indeed made deliberate efforts to remain current over the years. Recently, they announced their deviation from general recruiting to recruiting specifically for the I.T. and A.I., Life Sciences, Engineering and Industrial, and Finance sectors.
“Canada has become an important science and technology hub. We noticed an increasingly strong demand for talent in these sectors, which is why we have become specialized. Many of our recruiters have educational or work backgrounds in these STEM fields as well, which makes us that much more effective at understanding both candidate and client expectations,” explains Groom.
Understanding what candidates are looking for in an employer is important for anyone looking to hire and retain talent. Groom & Associates has not only turned their focus towards specific growing industries, but towards understanding contemporary employee demands and expectations. Karen Groom lists a few factors that recruiters and employers should consider paying close attention to:
Not only do companies do better when they have a workforce that comprises people from all walks of life, but candidates specifically ask about diversity when exploring potential employers.
“Our clients expect us to have access to a wide pool of talent that encompasses different cultural backgrounds, genders, and so on. Our team at Groom represents several different countries and diverse cultural backgrounds, as well as many languages. We know that having a diverse workplace actually improves retention rates,” says Groom.
In the STEM fields in particular, having diversity as a core value is also important for attracting female talent. While women are entering science, tech, and engineering in droves, it’s still quite male-dominated.
“When women see that a company has a real mix of employees including a significant percentage of women, it eases that barrier, and makes the company appear more favourable to them as an employer,” Groom says.
Respect for employee personal lives
For millennials (the hugely important segment of workers around 23 to 38 years old) staying at work late into the night and completely ignoring the need for sleep and a personal life is no longer a status symbol.
Employees now typically expect companies to have progressive parental leave policies (not just maternal leave), a justifiable number of sick and personal days, and some flexibility to work from home when possible.
According to Groom, “Hiring managers should bear in mind that well rested and mentally healthy employees are more productive. I think a lot of millennials actually have a good grasp of that elusive work-life balance that is always being talked about. Companies must foster a healthy work environment that includes reasonable hours.”
Corporate social responsibility
Salary is important, but it’s not the only thing candidates are currently looking for.
“Many of the candidates we work with want to know if a company has a positive social impact. They specifically ask about corporate social responsibility. Working is no longer just about bringing home a paycheck – it’s also about having a meaningful role that helps solve environmental or societal problems. The more employers understand this, the better they can attract and retain loyal employees,” says Groom.
Attracting and retaining talent is becoming a massive challenge, and is a reality faced by almost every single manager or recruiter. As the demand for engineers, scientists and other specialists in tech and biopharma seems to exceed supply, recruiters have no choice but to adapt. For Karen Groom, adjusting to changing attitudes is the only sensible option.
“Hiring managers have the choice to resist millennial expectations and operate the way we did 20 years ago, or we can accept change. For us, progress is a good thing, and I think being as progressive as we can is what will be the key to Groom & Associates’ success for years to come.”