In the April 2020 newsletter edition, I spoke about attracting qualified…or just candidates, these
days. Groan if you are still having problems with finding qualified candidates these days.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor and Statistics Jolt Report as of December 2021, there are 10.9
million positions that need to be filled within the U.S. while the total number of separations went down to 5.9 the percentage rate was still at 4.0% and the number of quits was still at 2.9%.
Why Are So Many Job Openings Not Being Filled?
When we look at the reality of having millions of available workers and millions of jobs available there
is clearly still a disconnect.
What’s is the disconnect? Can we realistically consider:
• Whether to vaccinate or not;
• Low wage jobs;
• Customer service jobs that interact with, at times, an angry public who “attack;”
• Poor benefits, if any;
• Lack of positive culture; and
• Millennials and Gen Z’s continue to be prejudged as entitled.
With so many reasons to throw blame around, a new one has been added into the mix – The Cancel
Culture Movement. What is the cancel culture movement and how does that affect the Great Resignation
The Cancel Culture Movement
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines cancel culture as “the practice or tendency of engaging in mass
canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.”
Generations are shifting and as we may be reminded from our own generational rebelliousness
against those who came before us, this is normal behavior. If you are a Baby Boomer, you were a trendsetter railing against the traditionalist. The same was and is true with Gen X and Millennials, as well
as the newest generation entering the workforce, Gen Z.
Making up roughly 24% of the workforce in 2020 and being a generation that is larger than the
millennials, Gen Z’s are willing to put in the effort at work, yet they question incongruities in employer
messaging i.e questioning the status quo. Why is a company investing in new (fill in the blank) but not willing to pay competitively or give out a raise? Why is one person chosen over another to do “easier” or “better” work? If the answer is not provided or is not a reasonable response, Gen Z’s are leaving for another company with a culture that includes effective communication, and most importantly, inclusiveness.
The expansion of social media provides the opportunity for boycotts and protesters to far extend the
reach that once existed in the local community. Nowadays a video can be shot within the exact moment a
perceived “wrong” is being committed and posted to be viewed worldwide. It is not unusual for postings
to reach 1 million + people in seconds with just the tap of a button. This tactic has led to culture changes
within companies such as Google, Amazon, Whole Foods, and other large corporations as they try to avoid being in the center of the negative spotlight that often starts with the social media posting of employees. The expectation is that public shaming will either change a practice or the audience will “cancel” that company, product, or person by withdrawing financial support.
Preserving the Brand
This leaves employers facing the greatest challenges in finding candidates, especially in the hourly
work sectors. Brand, mentorship, doing the right thing, and transparency are all key components of a
culture that is drawing Gen Z’s. Human Resources has been sharing this message over the past several
years and employers are just now seeing the effects that their lack of attention to developing a culture that will attract and retain employees is producing.
To reiterate, we can see there are many workforce dynamics—the outside influences that impact the
continuity of business operations—that are in play here. Whether one or many is personally affecting
your workforce, how does an employer keep themselves front and center stage in the midst of the hiring
frenzy? The solutions are largely “tried and true” but necessary now more than ever.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
• Employees are the greatest asset a company has and that should be the focus of strategic initiatives
used to attract and retain a viable workforce.
• Ensure that your company values and mission match the culture.
• Market your company brand as “The Best Place to Work.”
• When the competition is no longer just about the next-door company but now across the country, the
competition is growing.
• Evaluate your total rewards program.
• Is your company paying competitively for the work expected?
• Be creative in work-life balance. COVID-19 taught us we can virtually work from anywhere in the
country or world and be just as productive with accommodations, flexibility, and ingenuity.
• Expand those who can be in the role and consider if accommodations can be more readily available
to get the job done.
Marketing The Community
Once an employer has worked to develop their inclusive and holistic culture, the next step worth
adopting in their recruiting and retention strategy: marketing their community. This is about the
opportunities that exist to live out the lifestyle that embodies the work-life balance they seek.
Not only does this strategic branding opportunity highlight the multitude of benefits of a specific
region or city, but it also means marketing the internal community that brings your employees together.
Once the story is created, the next step is to generate the interest of applicants. How does this
information get shared? Employers should promote it on the company website or job board advertising.
The goal is to be creative. Companies can create videos walking around the internal and external
Be enthusiastic about the opportunity that is offered. Today it is not only about what the candidate
brings to the table, but also about what the employer has to benefit the candidate.
Human Resources is in that position to influence the employer and show how the profitability of the
employer is impacted by marketing the company culture. What an opportunity to promote: a fostered
happier, healthier, and productive workforce.
Bobbi Kloss is the Director of Human Capital Management Services for Benefit Advisors Network – an exclusive, national network of independent employee benefits brokerage and consulting companies. Bobbi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.benefitadvisorsnetwork.com.