The battle cry of nearly every business leader we meet with is “how do I attract and retain good talent?” Just as when the real estate market where the inventory is low and the seller is in the driver’s seat, so it is with the current job market. “The buyer” or the employer, is having to engage in all forms of bidding wars to land employees. Many industries are offering hiring bonuses and other incentives to persuade people to take a job with them. Companies are getting creative, maybe even desperate to find enough workers just to keep their doors open. So why do some companies seem to have all the luck? How is it they have gobs of good people working for them and no problem attracting top candidates? What does it look like to thrive in this climate?

In response to that question, Know Your Talents we’ve adopted the mantra “Know Me, Grow Me, Include Me, Inspire Me” because research and our experiences have shown that these are the elements the current multi-generational workforce is seeking. Be a company who incorporates these factors into your culture and your labor shortage problems should shrink, if not disappear altogether, and your talent pool will thrive.

So, what does all that mean?

Know Me… People want to work for companies who invest time and resources into getting to know them. They want to see that businesses are taking steps to understand their behavior, motivators and unique talents; to learn what makes them tick and then to find the right fit for them in the organization. They want to be led by managers who are self-aware—of their own behavior and how it impacts the team, as well as gaining insight into each of their team members’ behavioral strengths, communication styles, and drivers or motivators.

Investing in the resources to get to know your employees may take some time and require training up front, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. For starters it will reduce turnover, which is a huge savings (estimated cost of turnover is 3x the employee’s annual salary) and increase engagement, contributing to productivity, as you place people in roles that match their behavior and meet their motivators. Connecting all the dots pays off!

Grow Me… One you attract and recruit the right talent, you’ll need to provide growth opportunities for them if you intend to retain them. That means showing them clear Career Pathways depicting where they grow in your organization. Offering leadership development and on-going learning opportunities is another sure way to develop loyal, fulfilled and motivated team members. As you invest in their professional growth, your employees will see that they are valuable to you and that their contributions and continued development are assets to your organization’s success. In essence, your business will thrive and grow as your people do.

Include Me… Certain behaviors thrive on being included in brainstorming, planning and knowing their voice is heard. But regardless of individual behavior, all employees want to know that they have a say in things and often contribute game changing suggestions for your business and customers. By fostering a culture of openness and safety, as well as actively encouraging feedback and input, you’ll be letting your people know that their thoughts and ideas matter. This should occur on an informal, ongoing basis as well as through formal efforts such as employee surveys, or strategy sessions that include everyone.

Another way to “include” employees is to value their unique contributions to the overall success of the organization and to make sure they know that you do. It’s highly motivating for people to see how they contribute to your thriving success. By recognizing individual talents and abilities and finding ways to incorporate them into a person’s role and responsibilities, your company will be sending the message that “you’re an important part of this team and your contributions are valuable.”

Inspire Me… The term inspire actually means to put breath or spirit into something or someone. That’s exactly what employees are looking for companies and leaders to do. The means of inspiration varies depending upon the individual and what motivates them, so it’s important to truly know what makes each person tick. Once you have that information, providing inspiration comes easily. One great way to start is to include all employees in the vision as to where the company is headed and how they contribute to it. Now more than ever, employees are seeking to connect and translate their purpose to the organization’s purpose. Another way is to provide opportunities for people to further their education or training by offering online courses, leadership or sales workshops, or tuition reimbursement. These courses can be work related, or something of personal interest to individuals. Create community service opportunities or allow employees to create their own. Build a culture of innovation that encourages people to take risks, think outside the box and work on something they dream about. There are countless ways to inspire your team, the important thing is to find out what motivates them and inspire accordingly.

Now What? If you haven’t already, begin to incorporate these principals into your hiring strategy and company culture. Once you do, word will get out that your company is a very desirable place to work. At Know Your Talents, we have learned that these are the qualities workers from all generations are looking for, important ones. Solving the labor shortage is no easy task, but starting out by cultivating a culture of Knowing, Growing, Including and Inspiring is a powerful step in the right direction, long term.