How to Navigate the Current Shift in Leverage in the Workplace

navigating through your workplace

Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
Change is rarely desirable, but is often inevitable, and in our current society, change seems to be the new name of the game. 

Many companies are finding themselves in the unfamiliar and precarious position of having more job openings than they are comfortable with, but not enough applicants to fill them. 

In the past, employers would have their pick of top candidates, from either current employees or new job seekers. This dynamic gave employers more negotiating power and the ability to be more selective. They could take their time to determine who was the best fit and conformed to the financial needs of the company, as well as the goals of the existing teams. 

However, it seems this may no longer the case for a little while.

This predicament has created a significant shift in the workplace where employees and job seekers now have leverage in selecting, negotiating, or extending employment opportunities. While initially, this might seem like a disadvantage, executive teams and hiring managers who can find ways to capitalize on this change use it to their advantage. 

Current Employees and Existing Teams

While the current issues at hand might be at the forefront of your mind, it is vitally important you not overlook the employees you already have working for you. 

Leverage is not just important when bringing in new employees. Take good care of your current teams and they will take good care of you. 

English business magnate Richard Branson said, “A company’s greatest asset is its employees and your people are your product.”

If you want to be a company that is proud of its product and attracts top talent, it’s imperative to start with your present workforce, and there is no time like the now to start making positive changes in how you value your team. 

Human resources expert, Dawn Sipley, recommends considering the following measures to make sure that you are investing in your employees on a consistent basis:

  • Make sure you see your team members as whole people and not just employees, and treat them this way as well. She says, “Always be humble and stay connected no matter how high up in the company you are. Anyone giving you at least 40 hours of their life every week, deserves for you to know their first name.” 
  • Create a culture of loyalty by staying engaged with lives of those who work for you. 
  • Recognize your team members. Celebrate birthdays, special occasions, and achievements. Consider using social media or your company newsletter to highlight and appreciate a different person each month.


Your Workplace

If you want to attract top talent, you need to be intentional about building a company that people want to work for and create an environment where people can flourish. The more attractive you are to employees and candidates, the more leverage you have in your workplace. 

Find out what resources your team needs to be successful and do all you can to provide it. Creative environments, and holistic benefits packages create workplaces that are good for employees and attractive to job seekers.

Current job seekers are becoming more and more concerned with the culture of a company. They want to know how a company treats its employees when times get tough, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Create a culture of discovery where there is no wins and losses just the ability to discover,” says Sipley. The expectations in the workplace are more different now than they have ever been. People are looking for environments where they can learn and grow, have freedom and flexibility to discover what works, and produces quality outcomes without the fear of failure. These are highly coveted aspects of the modern workforce. 

It’s important to double check your company on a regular basis for flaws, systems, and policies that aren’t working or possibly used to work, but don’t any longer. The companies who are able to adapt are the ones that will stand the test of time. 

The more you have to offer others are looking for, the more leverage you have. You will attract more and better candidates, have more negotiating power, and create a loyal and high-functioning team. 

Your Reputation

 Our work is a big part of our lives. It impacts our home lives and relationships, so give your employees good things to talk about.

Being careful about how you treat job seekers, especially the ones you don’t hire, is one of the best ways to create a positive reputation. It is easy to put all of your time and effort into the candidates that you want to hire. However, taking just a few extra moments with the ones you don’t to make sure you are doing what you can to keep your reputation intact, can make a big difference in how you are spoken about later on. 

Today’s workforce is more socially aware than any before. So, building your social reputation counts as well. What kind of presence do you have in your community? Are you engaged with what is happening in your city, current events, and local charities and organizations? Partnering with local causes and events is a great way to give your company some positive exposure.

Being intentional about establishing a good reputation and being a sought-after company will pay off when it comes time to fill empty roles.  The more candidates you have to choose from, the more leverage you will have in the hiring process. 

Job Seekers and Candidates

Are you consistently attracting talented candidates or are you simply screening resumes to hire barely warm bodies and fill open roles?

The current group of working professionals is mostly made up of Millennials who are between 25-40 years old. This age group was one of the first generations to see both mother and father working full-time outside of the home. They had the experience of watching their own parents be negatively and significantly impacted by the recession. They are also the first generation to have full-time access to the internet, social media, and countless technologies that were not available to previous generations. As a result, this age group is different than any before it. And as statistics show, they are not getting married and having children as early in life, or as much as, the generations before them. All of these factors play a part in how they will approach job seeking and should shape how you approach the recruiting and hiring process. 

Job seekers now are much more entrepreneurial minded. They are wary of dedicating their lives to a company that won’t be invested in them if times get tough. They crave the flexibility of being able to set their own environment. 

So, how can you use this to your advantage? 

One of the strengths of entrepreneurial minded people is that they are much more willing to take a risk in their work. Risk-takers are confident, quick to act, and highly motivated. If you give them what they need to function at a high level, they will not disappoint you. 

Under the current circumstances, you might have found it necessary to begin considering candidates for positions that you otherwise would not have. While at first, you might feel like you are lowering your standards, there are great things to be found in unexplored places. 

One way to tap into all this greatness is to begin looking at talented candidates in terms of strengths and weaknesses, not necessarily in education or experience. Someone who isa cultural, personal, experiential, and foundational fit for your organization can always be taught the details of the job. But sometimes all the education in the world cannot teach someone how to have the natural drive and talent to succeed. If you find someone with the natural talent, drive, and desire to learn and grow, you have a rare opportunity to mold this candidate into exactly what your company needs. Investing in someone this way also creates a sense of loyalty. 

Another benefit of stepping outside your usual search fields is increased diversity in your workplace. An increase in diversity equals an increase in creativity and a more well-rounded workplace. When we turn our companies into echo chambers, we become stagnant, and growth is stunted. We cannot continue to conduct business as usual when everything around us is changing, then expect to grow and remain relevant the current workforce. 

Your Plan

It might be time to review your current recruiting and hiring practices and determine what might need to be changed in order for you to continue being successful. Try out  the following:

  • Review how you are actually finding your candidates.  To attract top talent, you need to also think outside the box. Social media, recruiting services, and networking are the methods that can produce outstanding results. 
  • Compensation is not the only tool for competition. What can you offer that is sought-after? Padding your benefits and amenities packages with out of the box perks and showing your employees that you value them are all things that will put you at the top of the list. 
  • Be aware of your branding. Branding is more important than ever before. Just like you might check out a job candidate on their social media profiles prior to hiring, prospective candidates are going to check you out too. Your branding will either encourage or discourage them from pursuing the application process. Make sure your branding aligns with the type of talent you’re looking to attract. 
  • Make your quality measurable. You cannot just say you are the best. You need to be able to back that up with measurable qualifiers. What is it that makes you better than the next company? Being willing to prove that will set you apart and show that you respect those who work for you, those who want to work for you, and those you work for. 

As a society, we are moving through uncharted waters. Things are changing quickly and we are all having to figure out how to navigate through unfamiliar territory the best way possible. 

If you want to set the tone and be a pioneer in today’s workforce, you have to be willing to do what other people aren’t. It’s a risk, but it will pay off and will continue to make you attractive to the top talented candidates giving you leverage in this changing workforce.

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