5 Tips for Successful Recruitment and Retention During Uncertain Times

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It’s no secret that continuous change in the workplace, particularly around recruitment and retention, has been the norm for the past few years. Many have tried to label these changes: the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Quick Quitting are a few new terms we’ve heard about over the past few years.

Regardless of the latest buzzwords, this year will continue to bring change. Even with news about layoffs happening early in the year, particularly with tech companies and potentially soon to impact a few other sectors, finding talent will continue to be a challenge, remarkably skilled and engaged talent.

At the same time, concerns about inflation and a potential recession have business leaders trying to figure out how to balance staffing levels to meet their overall business goals. Given these uncertainties, focusing on recruitment and retention during this change is more critical than ever. Organizations that approach these challenges with a people-first mindset will be most successful.

December’s statistics show the current U.S. unemployment rate  (December 2022) edged down to 3.5%. At the same time, data  from Monster.com shows that 96% of workers are looking for a new job in 2023, showing that employers looking to add to their teams will need to actively work to find the right match in a competitive marketplace.

At Salo, we know that the key to recruitment and retention success in a tight labor market, particularly during uncertain times, is focusing more than ever on your people. Creating a People-First workplace is foundational to keeping employees excited and engaged. 

To help businesses be successful, here are the top five recruitment and retention-related workplace trends we see in 2023. Each of these is grounded in focusing on your people first – giving you confidence that business success will follow.

1. Prioritize Recognition for Your Current Team

Backfilling roles is time-consuming and disruptive. Organizations can reduce turnover and their need to focus on recruiting for new positions by focusing on the needs of each employee.

Take time to get to know each team member personally and learn how they like to be recognized. Talk with them about their professional goals and identify stretch assignments or new roles on special project teams so they can continue to learn, grow, feel valued, and know their contributions are essential.

2. Invest in Skills Development, Particularly for Your Leaders

In today’s fast-paced work environment, all team members, but mainly people managers must be change agents, resilient and agile, and skilled at pivoting quickly. In some cases, these are new skills for leaders who previously may have been focused only on managing outcomes or metrics.

Therefore, organizations need to provide skills development to help today’s people managers strengthen their skills around relationship building, handling mental health challenges, coaching, and guiding employees on a variety of topics so they feel they are being heard.

3. Co-Create a Successful Hybrid Culture

This year, companies will continue to evaluate their hybrid work policies to ensure they support their business needs and the team culture they want to create. Flexible work options and the ability to work in a hybrid setting are essential for current and future talent.

As more companies look to bring employees back into the office (for at least a few days a week), striking the right balance between at-home and in-office work expectations can be sensitive. The key to crafting the right policy for each organization is ensuring employees have a voice in the discussion.

Working to co-create a policy that incorporates flexibility and trust while setting clear expectations and outlining the business value and community feel that comes with being together will make employees feel seen and heard. 

4. Talk With Recruits (And Current Employees) About What Your Organization Stands For

As we move into the new year, employees increasingly want to work for organizations that share similar values and create a sense of belief that its purpose is meaningful. Business leaders who take the time to identify and clearly articulate their organization’s purpose and bring it to life in their daily business will find it’s a great way to identify employees (and prospects) motivated by the same vision and excited to contribute to it.

And if certain business practices are non-negotiable – say coming into the office a few days a week or being available during a set number of hours during the day – be clear about those requirements upfront to increase transparency and eliminate any surprises later in the employment experience.

5. Prepare to Handle Challenges in Managing Staffing Levels

Given the uncertain economy in 2023, businesses will continue to be highly mindful of staffing decisions. When is the right time to make a permanent hire vs. holding off? How do you determine if a consultant or contractor meets your needs for the short term? Turning to a consultant who can help you think through the right organizational design to meet your business needs can be an invaluable investment and save you money in the long run.

Businesses that focus on creating a People-First experience for their teams will set themselves up for a solid start to the year, particularly regarding recruitment and retention. The benefits of building a People-First culture will lead to ripple effects throughout your organization.

Companies with a sense of people-fueled purpose and weave this focus into their recruitment and retention activities experience positive results and are up to 21% more profitable. Along with more substantial business results, these organizations also experience better productivity and higher employee engagement, with team members becoming strong brand ambassadors.

There is no better time than the new year for organizations to be agile, innovative, and authentic. The best way to do that is by focusing on meeting the needs of your people. 


Colleen Frankwitz is the Vice President of People Connections at Salo.

By Colleen Frankwitz