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2019: The Year of the Employee


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It’s common knowledge that people are the greatest asset for any business. In 2019, good employees will never be more important – or more difficult to find. In this new year, employees will hold most of the cards, but employers can woo the best of them with a few strategic moves.

Get ready for Gen Z.

Millennials aren’t the unicorn in the room anymore. They’ve been in the workforce for a decade now. Generation Z is the new kid on the block, and they’re much different than their immediate predecessors. They spent their formative years during the Great Recession, and while they value hard work, they aren’t all aboard the loyalty train after seeing family members laid off despite long histories with their companies. Know your Gen Z!

Employees expect more. Deliver.

Employees expect (and deserve) more from their employers – and that includes their interview experience! Employers should:

  • Have an efficient interview process. If you take too long, you will lose good candidates to someone who made an offer more quickly.
  • Pay for the job, not what you think the candidate is “worth.” Employees have more information than ever before, and they know if they’re being lowballed. Don’t risk losing a good candidate over a small salary savings.
  • Keep your current employees happy. This has dual implications, as up to 70 percent of candidates are passive (meaning your current employees are being targeted by other companies) and 69 percent of candidates would not accept an offer from a company with a poor reputation. Whether you implement work/life balance initiatives, offer competitive pay or make in-office changes, employee satisfaction is certainly worth the investment.

Employees, make yourself attractive.

Whether it’s pursuing an in-demand field or accumulating relevant experience, the best way to put yourself in an advantageous bargaining position is to be valuable to potential employers. Consider:

  • Finance and technology are always growing and in need of employees. But this doesn’t mean you need a degree in finance or vast tech experience. At Vaco, we’re actually seeing an uptick in more entry-level accounting positions in areas like accounts payable, accounts receivable and data entry, especially among mid-sized companies.
  • Employers want experience, but don’t dismiss self-branded alternatives. Strategically blogging, branding yourself on social media or corporate volunteering can increase your profile within a community.

Recruiting is getting trendy.

The relatively new phenomenon of recruitment marketing is a result of the shortage of qualified employees today. Employers embracing this philosophy follow the trends in the market and offer solutions ahead of their competitors. So, for example, forward-thinking employers already offer things like flex-scheduling options and generous paid time off packages, which helps them attract the best employees. Most people will spend one to four hours researching a company before an interview. Make sure your career website showcases your company well and provides enough information to interest potential passive candidates.

It goes beyond marketing, though. If you’ve got great employees, rely on them! Referrals are and will always be an efficient, effective way to hire new people.

In 2019, run toward change, not away from it. Employers treating their employees like the assets they are will succeed.


Kirk Johnston is a senior managing partner with Vaco, which provides expert executive search, consulting, permanent placement, managed services and strategic staffing solutions for companies around the world. 


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