Original webinar date: October 22, 2021
This article is part of a series where we share the top insights from Gusto Next—the premiere conference for accounting professionals. Read the entire series and watch Gusto Next 2021.
Right now, employees are leaving their current positions at a rate previously unseen in history. To overcome the current talent shortage and hire new employees, companies need to adjust their current business model. Emil Yeargin, Recruiting Leader at Gusto, and Leah Brite, Head of Product Marketing at Gusto, provided answers about the current talent shortage and strategies for navigating the challenging hiring climate. In their session, they covered the causes behind “The Great Resignation” and what companies can do to hire new talent during difficult times.
To learn more about the future of accounting and how to build a robust accounting firm, be sure to look out for all of the articles in the Gusto Next article series. Also, for a high-level take on everything the Gusto Next 2021 conference had to offer, we have an overview article on our partner blog.
The 2021 talent shortage: a nationwide reevaluation of values
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to take stock in what matters most to them and decide how willing they were to risk their health for their jobs. This reevaluation of what matters most led many to leave their employer and search for something better. In June 2021, there were a record 10.1 million open jobs in the United States, and recent reports show that more than 40% of employees are still considering quitting or changing professions in the next year.
“Work has been inextricably tied to the American ethos. It’s provided a sense of self and purpose. The tragic experiences that the pandemic has brought has forced us to take a step back and put work in its proper context.”– Emil Yeargin
Employees nationwide recently decided to take a step back, consider what is necessary for their lives, and determine if their jobs align with their core values. In many cases, people discovered that their jobs do not define who they are, which pushed them to consider what they want from an employer.
“Everything has changed, and people are reevaluating what’s important to them. They’re thinking about total rewards including benefits offerings, the cities and communities where they feel most comfortable living and working, childcare accessibility, and—most importantly—health risks.”– Emil Yeargin
Instead of only focusing on the amount of money they make, employees are looking at the big picture of their jobs. They are asking questions like, “Am I safe? Are my colleagues safe? Is my family safe?” The talent shortage has shown that many found the answer to these questions to be a resounding, “No.” The resulting drive for employers to find workers has given employees increased power over where they want to work and how they are compensated for their time.
“Employees have more bargaining power than ever, and they’re definitely using it. Bloomberg recently reported that corporations are currently offering the biggest pay increase since the 1980s. The frequency that I personally see sign-on bonuses has increased significantly, and candidates are being more direct and asking more pointed questions than ever to determine not only a professional fit but also a personal fit. This [trend] isn’t acutely specific to any job profile.”– Emil Yeargin
This shift in power dynamic has forced companies to look at what they have to offer their employees beyond their salaries. Businesses need to attract and retain talent to thrive in this environment. Ultimately, the best strategy for the employee shortage is to create a great place for people to work.
How employers need to respond to the talent shortage
Businesses need to reevaluate their company values to overcome the employee shortage. Workers want a workplace where they feel accepted and comfortable from day one—creating a great place to work starts with the interview process and continues from there. When a candidate sees the potential to grow personally while at their job during the interview, they are more likely to accept the position.
“The future of work is all about empowering employees and providing equitable experiences, which includes the way we interview candidates. During COVID, our interview process went completely remote at Gusto, and we plan to stay this way. Interviews are nerve-wracking enough for candidates without the added pressure and commitment that comes with carving hours and sometimes days to do them in person.”– Emil Yeargin
Making the switch to remote interviews increases the flexibility of the process. Instead of designating large, in-person blocks of time, companies can schedule interviews that suit the candidate and interviewer better. Additionally, candidates can interview from a comfortable setting.
Remote interviews promote the idea that employees should be comfortable with their workplace. Rather than setting an entire day aside for a potentially anxiety-inducing interview process, candidates gain control over where and when the interview happens. This strategy makes it easier on new hires and increases their chance of being more authentic during the interview.
“These changes are working. We’ve seen a significant increase in offer acceptance rates and a huge decrease in hiring time, … [and] we’re still maintaining our high bar for the overall interview experience. Our offer acceptance rates have increased 13% compared to pre-COVID, and the days from application to acceptance have been cut by more than half.”– Emil Yeargin
In addition to the hiring process, companies need to create an appealing workplace culture. Potential hires don’t want to work at an univentive company just like the one they left months ago—they want a place of inclusion and appreciation for the work they do.
“The key [to making a great workplace] is to create a workplace culture, a total rewards philosophy, and an interview process that’s authentic to you. Copy and pasting wellness perks from the company next door won’t put you in a position to attract the talent you need to be successful.”– Emil Yeargin
Finally, businesses need to keep up with employee needs and not fall behind on what their team expects out of a job. Worker expectations will continue to change as society evolves, and companies need to be in tune with what their employees want:
“One way that you can be responsive to employee needs is by putting an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI]. In a most recent CNBC workforce study, 80% of workers say they want to work for a place that values DEI. Create an environment where people feel appreciated and where they feel like they can grow and develop.”– Emil Yeargin
When businesses shift focus from their revenue to their people, the benefits become apparent. Increased hiring, employee retention, and positive workplace culture stem from an authentic work environment that values DEI. To revamp business culture, partnering with Gusto is an excellent place to begin.
Three ways Gusto can help your business maximize hiring efforts
Choosing to partner with Gusto can grow businesses by making the onboarding process more manageable, offering benefits focused on employee health, and implementing employee engagement tools to improve employee satisfaction. With these tools, companies can set their teams up for success from day one.
Research conducted by Glassdoor shows that the onboarding process is crucial to employee retention and productivity. When a business has a great onboarding process, employee retention improves by 82% and productivity increases by 70%. Gusto can help companies improve the onboarding process with its easy-to-use onboarding suite:
“With the hiring and onboarding suite, you can easily recruit and hire talent, create and manage job postings, post them publicly, and collect feedback from your interview team. Send customized offer letters in seconds, … [and] save time with simple onboarding checklists. … [You can also] set up employees with the right software in just a click. Provide your favorite tools from the G Suite, Microsoft 365, Slack, Zoom, etc.”– Leah Brite
Once the onboarding process is complete, the second area of focus is employee benefits. Studies show that benefits are the number one factor in employee retention. Gusto provides benefits packages that express to employees how their employer values them as human beings and not just workers.
“When employees have a benefits package they know that they can rely on, they have the peace of mind required to do their very best work. At Gusto, we’ve got benefits for every budget—no cost, low cost, and premium health benefits [are available]. … You name it, we’ve got a solution for you. For financial benefits, we go far beyond the standard 401k by offering Gusto Wallet. It’s a free mobile app that gives your employees smart new ways to track, save, and access their hard-earned dollars.”– Leah Brite
In addition to onboarding and benefits, Gusto offers employee management tools to give businesses actual data about how employees feel about their work environment. This invaluable tool helps companies analyze and make adjustments to keep employees happy:
“Employee engagement tools help you create employee satisfaction and increase tenure. With our talent management suite, you can create monthly anonymous surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and put a face to a name using visual organization charts. … We’ve also used automation to streamline the performance review process, so you get the high-quality feedback you need to keep your top performers engaged and developing professionally.”– Leah Brite
Partnering with Gusto can help businesses create a great place for employees to work. With an improved onboarding process, people-focused benefits, and employee management tools focused on DEI, you can create a workplace that onboards and retains employees—even during challenging times.
Learn more about strategies for employee shortages and creating positive workplace cultures
As accountants, your role as a people advisor puts you in an excellent position to help your clients navigate talent shortages. Most businesses view their accountants as trusted advisors, and nearly 40% of them want a greater variety of services from their CPAs. By empowering your clients with Gusto’s People Advisory services, you can help clients build a positive workplace culture and future-proof their businesses.
If you’re curious about the future of accounting, watch the entire Gusto Next 2021 presentation here. Additionally, the Gusto Next 2021 wrap article is a convenient guide for everything we covered in this year’s convention. You can also join our waitlist to be notified about next year’s Gusto Next, where we’ll offer more solutions that support your clients through effective payroll, benefits, and HR tools.