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The Leadership Challenge - Attracting and Keeping Good People


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It seems lately that the individuals and groups I have been working with are going through some unique challenges. The prediction that there would be shortage on skilled workers is coming true. Recently while working with a health group in Alberta the VP of HR mentioned that the need for increased staff in the healthcare sector in Canada is increasing rapidly and in Southern Alberta alone there will be a need for 35,000 skilled workers in the next ten years. A home builder client in Oregon is experiencing the same challenge and many industries have to come up with new and creative ways to attract skilled workers. Attraction is only part of the picture however as the next challenge is then keeping the good people and preventing them from being scooped by competitors with better offers.

This means that leaders are preparing to deal with the emerging attitude within the workforce of 'the employers need me therefore they better make it worth my while'.

For employers looking to attract employees from the Generation X or Y segments this is a new and different dynamic then they have experienced. Generation X comes with an attitude of pay me what I am worth and I will come and work for you, if I prove myself in six months give me a raise and a promotion, don't make me wait. Any baby boomers reading this might respond with a disdainful response that in order to get promoted and a raise you have got to do the time.

Well, news flash, the Generation X group has a whole lot of confidence coming in to new jobs as they know they are needed and their attitude reflects this confidence. We can resist this or we can harness and use this new energy and attitude to our benefit. For leaders and companies to attract good people they need to look at what they offer their employees in terms of pay, holidays, benefits and perks. For instance a ski hill group I worked with a few years ago on Vancouver Island builds ski perks into their employee packages. They have a variety of options available that employees can pick and choose from such as increased use of the ski hill for the avid skiers or reduced use benefits for those who ski less or not at all.

On the TV news a month or so ago there was a gentleman from the baby boomer segment pushing for an 'a la carte' benefits option for those who do not have families or who have alternative lifestyles. This all makes sense but can drive the most good natured business owner and its leaders over the edge.

The main thing that attracts employees based on a 2005 survey done by AMA (American Management Association) is good leadership, good work and strong recognition. Brand recognition is important to employees as they want to be working for companies that are branded as top in their industry.

5 things that make employers attractive:

1. Great brand reputation in the marketplace

2. Listed in the top 100 employers list for US and Canada

3. Great leadership with focused attention to leadership growth within the company

4. Great programs and benefits that are a la carte

5. Top performers included in strategic planning and creative planning for the company.

Attracting employees is one thing, keeping them quite another-here is what some of the Fortune 500 companies do to keep their employees from jumping ship:

5 things that keep employees with their employer:

1. Good leadership

2. Recognition programs that reward results with customized rewards

3. Good compensation with opportunity to profit from extra efforts

4. Good benefits and choices of benefits

5. Energizing, fun environment with an enthusiastic CEO

With the current situation of a shortage of good workers the other vital component that employers need to be aware of is the need to be willing to invest in training and support. The American Management Association also states that one of the top issues leaders will need to face as well is the globalization of the work market with different cultures, languages and work ethics.

The good news is that the diversity will increase creativity and for now it seems it is a worker's world. If you are a baby boomer and reading this, my prediction is that you will never be without the opportunity to work if you are good at what you do! No matter how old or young you are :

About the Author

Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning industry leaders.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-08-14 17:15:51 in Employee Articles

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