4 Ways to Strengthen Recruitment, Retention and Engagement in the Wake of the Great Resignation A massive shift in the U.S. labor market has left organizations grappling to recruit and retain qualified staff; here's what you need to know.

By Martha Weidmann

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to a Pew Research Center study, low pay, lack of advancement and disrespect in the workplace are key factors in the Great Resignation, and more than 60% of those who've left their jobs have gone on to find a new one with relative ease. In this type of labor climate, how do organizations compete for top talent? Forward-thinking ones must put a strong emphasis on recruitment, retention and engagement in order to engage the next-level of applicants, and keep their current workforce satisfied.

Here are four ways to accomplish that.

1. Embrace transparency

Employees value open and honest communication. In fact, Glassdoor reports, transparency has been connected to increased engagement and a stronger organizational culture.

Companies can stay competitive by building an environment of candor, from hiring to onboarding to ongoing engagement.

To begin, make a habit of posting the salary range on all open positions. This practice not only promotes transparency, but also creates a sense of equity, as applicants know they will be paid within a publicly posted range. In addition, be conscious of culture sharing: Be intentional about sharing photos of your team, celebrating new staff and awarding accomplishments. Too often companies forget the power of visibility in the application process. In a world where creating authentic experiences and a distinct sense of place are key, fostering community among employees and sharing those moments with prospective ones shows that you promote belonging in the workplace.

Finally, be transparent about company progress. At NINE dot ARTS, we do this by sharing monthly key performance indicators; we believe that all levels of staff, no matter their role or seniority level, should have a holistic understanding of the company landscape and its growth goals. By regularly sharing them, employees see how their work connects to the overall good, creating a sense of shared ownership and ongoing motivation.

Related: Workplace Transparency is a Boon, If Your Company is Built on Trust

2. Champion diversity

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) are terms now much discussed across all industries and within a variety of scenarios, from financial incentives to special projects to opportunities for advancement. In fact, in our State of the Art Report, nearly 90% of stakeholders surveyed believe it is good business to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion as part of their projects.

Diverse teams lead to more creativity, collaboration and engagement, and this should start at the hiring process. Think about what truly matters for an open job position. For instance, for those positions outside the curatorial team, we do not require knowledge of or experience in the art world, despite being an art consulting firm. This incentivizes candidates who may not have initially applied for the role, while bringing in top talent with diverse expertise that make our firm stronger as a whole.

In addition, when reviewing your application process, consider the following:

• Does the application include language that explicitly encourages people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply?

• Does it welcome non-traditional professional experiences and a variety of educational experiences?

• Have you built real-world scenarios that allow you to understand the applicant's professional problem-solving abilities and ensure they're a right fit?

Beyond the hiring stage, it's also critical that DEIB training remains a regular part of employees' responsibilities, so consider instituting company-wide workshops to help staff members understand how equity and inclusion are related to their work, as well as how to be allies for their fellow co-workers. Leaders should champion diversity from the top down and bottom up, ensuring all staff are informed, accountable and progressive in creating an inclusive workplace and a positive social impact.

Related: Diversity and Inclusion are Driving Force of Future Businesses

3. Offer unique benefits

Strong benefits play a vital role in attracting and retaining employees, and a staple for forward-thinking companies is flexibility — offering hybrid work arrangements that favor employee preferences and comfort levels. This can also be fueled by improved in-office design, including indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces.

Leading companies will also focus on what makes them unique to potential and current staff members. Take for example NINE dot ARTS's Artshare Program, which allows staff to select a piece of artwork for their home office, enjoy it for a few months then trade it for another, free of charge. Whether adorning the walls of a curator or accountant, this program promotes pride and ownership, helping people feel more closely connected to the work we do and the artists we support. In addition, the company offers social impact initiatives that extend beyond the normal realm of business. Taking on philanthropic efforts or special projects (like our community mural) demonstrates a mission-driven approach and builds engagement among employees, clients and the greater community.

Ultimately, companies should consider the unique and authentic benefits they can offer that will distinguish them from the competition. What can you bring to potential employees that both sets you apart and strengthens your company culture and values?

Related: How Leaders Should Think About Employee Benefits

4. Recognize performance

Never underestimate the power of continuous performance recognition, and one way to accomplish this is by implementing thoughtful recognition practices into staff meetings. Find ways to publicly acknowledge those who did great work, helped problem-solve or supported another colleague.

Further, make this process open and continual. Practice 360 feedback, where staff can provide or seek out feedback at any time, regardless of traditional review periods. This creates an environment of care and accountability where mistakes are addressed respectfully and expectations are clear and actionable.

Company-wide incentives can also be a great way to motivate performance. Set goals for each quarter and then offer rewards such as more paid time off, bonuses or additional holiday leave. These benefits can encourage team collaboration while boosting performance, productivity and satisfaction.

Finally, understand that employees are people first, so get to know them as such. Valuing the person over the employee demonstrates your company's overarching empathy and support. Further, knowing your staff's unique skills and interests can help you navigate challenges, find opportunities and attain goals.

Ultimately, the best way to recruit, retain, and engage top talent is to create a human-centered environment where employees themselves are helping to drive transparency, inclusion and a rewarding company culture.

Wavy Line
Martha Weidmann


Martha Weidmann aims to be a mentor and champion for aspiring artists and business leaders alike. NINE dot ARTS has completed over 900 projects in real-estate development, generating over $40 million in revenue for the creative economy.

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