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Secrets to building a satisfied workforce

By Sandra Lavoy


It’s no secret that employers across Canada are currently having an especially challenging time finding and keeping skilled workers. Low unemployment rates are indicative of a particularly tight hiring market, where job seekers have more career options than ever. Translation? Organizations are competing for talent – and recruiting and retention should be top of mind.

From corporate environment to the type of benefits offered, there are a few key factors that can give candidates a sense of their potential job satisfaction within an organization. For human resources professionals, being aware of those factors is key to improving employee engagement and, ultimately, retention.


Organizational culture is essential

According to a recent study by staffing firm Robert Half, 40 per cent of Canadian workers wouldn’t accept a job that was a perfect match if the corporate culture clashed with their needs. Ninety per cent of Canadian managers said a candidate’s fit with the organizational culture is equal to or more important than their skills and experience. While workers in Canada and the U.S. said their ideal corporate culture is supportive or team-oriented, most described their company as traditional.

It’s 2019 – today’s professionals are looking to do more with their careers than satisfy a job description; they want to be part of an organization whose values align with their own and feel inspired with a sense of purpose in the workplace. This means HR professionals and hiring managers need to evaluate more than a candidate’s skills or qualifications to find the right fit for their business. There must be a focus on identifying individual motivations and promoting the type of work environment that puts employee engagement and success at the heart of the corporate culture. In a survey on workplace happiness by Robert Half, research revealed that employees who are a poor fit for an organization are headed for the door – workers who report that they are not a good match with their employers are most likely to leave their jobs.


What it means to work happy

Happiness at work is serious business – it’s not some fluffy, intangible concept that companies can simply ignore. Happy workers are typically more productive and make measurable contributions to their organization’s bottom line. While most businesses naturally want their employees to be happy, they may not know how to go about increasing happiness levels. Being happy at work doesn’t mean every day is perfect or fun – in fact, according to Robert Half’s study on workplace happiness, it boils down to six main drivers:

  1. Pride in one’s organization
  2. Feeling appreciated
  3. Being treated with fairness and respect
  4. A sense of accomplishment
  5. Interesting and meaningful work
  6. Positive workplace relationships


How do HR professionals know if these drivers are present in their workplace? Aside from evaluating overall job satisfaction through employee surveys, which is highly recommended, it’s also worth asking the following:

  • Does the organization truly offer competitive compensation and benchmark salaries for the region based on reliable resources?
  • In addition to competitive compensation, does the organization provide in-demand perks and benefits?
  • Does the organization offer workplace flexibility such as alternative work hours or telecommuting options?
  • Does the organization have a meaningful employee recognition program?

If “no” came to mind for any of those questions, it may be time to suggest a few changes. For instance, it turns out that 47 per cent of Canadian workers surveyed by Robert Half said they feel underpaid. Additionally, many employers and workers aren’t in sync on popular office perks. In another survey, employees cited flexible work schedules, a compressed workweek and the ability to telecommute as the most sought-after non-monetary perquisites. However, while many companies offer flexible work schedules, fewer than one-in-five offers shorter workweeks or remote work options.


The bottom line

As competition for skilled workers intensifies, companies are under more pressure to keep pace with hiring demands and shifting candidate expectations. To engage top talent, it is crucial that employers stay up-to-date with local salary and workplace trends. Robust compensation packages that incorporate the benefits, perks and incentives that professionals’ value most are key to attracting highly capable workers and building the strong teams companies need to support evolving business needs.


Sandra Lavoy is a regional vice president for Robert Half.




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