Who is Today’s Workforce and How to Attract New Talent

Aug 12, 2022


Various employees at work

As competition for high-quality talent remains high, the U.S. voluntary quit rate is 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to understand who is today’s workforce and how to attract them.


You might’ve heard of the Great Attrition or Great Resignation happening right now, but it’s time we rename what’s happening to the Great Renegotiation. The pandemic has illuminated what’s most important to employees in their lives, and more people are quitting jobs that no longer suit their needs.


The amount of people leaving their jobs is at a record high, so how do we combat this attrition-attraction issue? Well, the answer lies in companies’ approach to attracting new talent.


No longer can we rely on traditional recruitment methods – companies must explore newer, multifaceted approaches to attract and appeal to these talent pools.


Continue reading to learn more about adapting your recruitment strategy and value proposition to appeal to the latest five distinct employee personas.  

Group of employees studying Great Attrition

Targeting Employee Value Propositions Using 5 Personas

These past two years have shown us three nuanced trends within the Great Renegotiation: reshuffling, reinventing and reassessing.  


Employees are leaving their jobs and switching industries, causing a massive reshuffling in talent pools between industries. 


Some employees are reinventing themselves, leaving their “traditional” jobs to explore non-traditional roles such as gig work or starting their own company.


And others are quitting their jobs after reassessing their priorities – a job no longer matters as much as staying home to care for a family member or child. This has drastically shrunk the already waning talent pool.


All this being said, don’t lose hope! Change isn’t bad; companies must look beyond these hiring challenges and consider the needs of different talent pools. Let’s explore the five primary employee personas and how to best appeal to them.

Traditional employee persona


1. Traditionalists: Risk-averse, classic labor pool.

The Traditionalists have been one of the leading talent pools for decades now. These are the career-oriented folks willing to make whatever sacrifices are needed to get the job done. 


Traditionalists are usually full-time workers who desire a substantial compensation package, great benefits, career growth and enjoy working for a high-status company. 


Because they’re risk-averse, they’re far less likely to quit their current job and can be easily wooed by higher pay to get them to stay. In fact, around 60% of Traditionalists haven’t quit their jobs during this period of attrition.


While this talent pool is easier to find through traditional recruitment strategies we’ve used for the past few decades, they’re also decreasing in number. Securing these employees becomes a bidding war between rival companies, the winner usually being the one who can provide the best comp package.


Therefore, pursuing Traditionalists ends up causing severe wage inflation and doesn’t necessarily solve retention issues. Just because someone pays them better doesn’t mean their job satisfaction is higher than before. 

Young worker in new talent pool


2. Do-It-Myselfers – Strive for flexibility and meaningful work.

We also have the newest and largest talent pool – this group tends to be highly varied, including self-employed, full-timers, gig workers, and part-timers.


They range in age from 25-45 years old, valuing autonomy and flexibility more than anything in their job. These values stem from work-related stress overload, poor management, and feeling unappreciated during the pandemic. 


It’s caused these once-Traditionalists to search for something different in their jobs. Part-time and gig opportunities give them more autonomy, allowing them to make their own hours and decide what type of work matters most.


While Do-It-Myselfers can be hard to attract, employers should look at ways to offer a sense of freedom and purpose in their roles.


I spoke to Ashley McNally, Digital Marketing Manager at Poached –  a national jobs marketplace for the hospitality industry. She told me about their new on-demand staffing solution for the hospitality industry, Poached Shifts.


“Employers can post a single shift or a series of shifts over time to fill any position. We then promote shifts to our network of skilled professionals who can apply to work those shifts as 1099 employees.”


“Employers and workers manage everything through our software, from booking shifts, tracking hours, and submitting payments. The whole process is streamlined and organized on Poached,” explained Ashley.


Turnover is exceptionally high in the hospitality industry, and Poached Shifts is a great way to offer flexibility to both employers and employees.


She highlighted that employers can “fill in with skilled workers, so they’re not overextending their existing employees or sacrificing service when short-staffed.”


Employers can also use Poached Shifts to find the right fit for permanent roles.


“Many of our customers post shifts with the intent to hire. They’ll find a worker that does a good job and book them for a series of shifts over a week,” said Ashley.


At the same time, Poached Shifts also highly appeals to this talent pool’s desired flexibility by allowing them to choose which shifts they want to take and for which business.


“Poached Shifts gives workers more agency over their monthly income without committing to a full-time position,” added Ashley. 


Regardless of your industry, another great way to appeal to Do-It-Myselfers is to manage outcomes rather than their time. This group wants to have the freedom to dictate how things get done. 


To reinforce this principle, employers should follow up by applauding accountability, good time management, and quality outcomes.

Caregiver talent pool


3. Caregivers and Stay-At-Home Folks: Motivated by compensation and flexibility. 

This talent pool has become more prominent as the pandemic has evolved. This group sat most of the pandemic out and comprised active and passive job-seekers. 


Most people in this group are parents or caregivers who require flexibility in their job to continue caring for those at home. They won’t find it worth it to return to work if their job is inflexible and they have to give up their duties at home.


Many of these folks seek the right opportunity to pique their interest and draw them back to work. They’re mainly motivated by compensation, flexibility, and employee health and well-being support and development opportunities. 


Attractive options for this group include part-time options, 4-day workweeks, and flexible scheduling.


Ashley explained how Poached Shifts is a great way to appeal to those needing more flexibility and development opportunities in their role. 


“Just like employers can find a better-fitting candidate for their full-time roles, workers too can take their time to find a business that better aligns with their career goals,” she explained.


“After creating a profile, workers can apply for full-time jobs, shifts, and try-before-hire opportunities to see if there is a fit.”


Employers can also offer unique benefits such as on-site childcare or a childcare stipend, wellness stipend, or extended parental leave.

Younger workers in the workplace


4. New Gen Idealists: Want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

This talent pool tends to consist of students and part-time workers between 18 and 24 years old. These folks are mainly without dependents, mortgages, or other significant responsibilities. 


Idealists are drawn to jobs that offer flexibility, professional development, and growth potential. New Gen Idealists also look for meaningful work and a company where they feel a sense of community within their team.


A recent study found that employees with a sense of purpose at work are almost three times more likely to stay at that job, 6.5 times more likely to be more resilient, and four times more likely to be in better health.


Compensation is much lower down on their list of priorities. Instead, they’re searching for a company with strong workplace culture and employees that support one another, reinforcing meaning and purpose in the day-to-day work.


The best way to appeal to this group is by highlighting your company’s workplace culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts throughout your social media platforms and website. Candidates look for these things when researching a company, so ensure this information is accessible and updated.


Ashley mentioned how Poached Shifts offers a wide variety of opportunities for all experience levels within the hospitality industry. 


“Restaurant work is an excellent way for anyone to earn extra income, gain experience, and develop the soft skills necessary to succeed in any career,” she said.


“With Poached Shifts, workers can make honest money, learn new skills–and have a lot of fun while doing it.”


Companies can also offer tuition stipends, flexible schedules, and development programs to attract Idealists.

Elderly worker on laptop


5. Relaxers: Seasoned workers where a job isn’t their priority anymore.

The Relaxers talent pool is a mix of retirees (natural age and early retirees), people who aren’t actively looking for work, or those who might return to a traditional job if the conditions are right.


Many of these folks have completed their traditional career path, and money likely isn’t an issue to live comfortably. They might be drawn back to a job that promises balance and meaningful work.


We’ve actually recently seen an increase in the rate of retirees returning to the workforce. Experts agree that this is primarily due to retirees feeling the pressure of inflation – some have been enticed by high wages or need to regain income to replenish their retirement funds.


This group hasn’t been pursued very often, but it’s certainly not impossible to re-engage this group. Employers should consider reaching out to folks who have left on good terms and see if they can offer the right balance to bring them back to work.

Happy employees with higher retention


How to Attract New Talent and Retain Current Employees

While employers will always target traditionalists, these other talent pools can offer great potential under the right conditions of employment, such as flexibility, balance, and career development.


Knowing these, we want to give you a few tips to help your recruitment team address the attrition-attraction issue and appeal to these other talent pools:

1. Get Creative with Roles and Benefits. We urge you to get creative and make the process personalized to show your company’s personality and values. You’ll want to highlight flexibility, well-being and health benefits, strong workplace culture, and career growth opportunities. If the role doesn’t offer these things, look for the best way to add them.


2. Broaden Your Sourcing Approaches. A few latent talent pools could be drawn back to work under the right conditions. There is a lot of exciting talent in these non-traditional pools that have been missed due to traditional sourcing techniques. Tailor your sourcing to the persona that’ll best fit your role.


3. Invest in Culture. Companies should continually look for ways to provide meaningful work, belonging, a strong workplace culture, and closer workplace ties. This will improve retention and build a strong sense of loyalty and trust within the company. Make jobs “sticky” where people feel happy and don’t want to look for something better. This will improve retention and build a strong sense of loyalty and trust within the company. 


4. Ask For Feedback. Always ask for feedback to continue improving, staying relevant, and making the employee experience the best it can be. Happy employees make for better retention. You want your employees to feel valued and heard, and asking for feedback is best to know if this is the case. Are they satisfied with their jobs? Do they have the tools they need to succeed? Do they feel valued and recognized for their hard work?


The Great Renegotiation doesn’t mean the world’s end for traditional recruiting and hiring practices. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Companies should take this opportunity to modernize their recruitment and hiring strategies to attract more people from these non-traditional talent pools.

The True Calling Recruitment Team can help with all-things recruitment and strategy! We’re here to support your talent acquisition process every step of the way – contact us to learn more about how we can help!

Zoe Stanley is the founder of Quill & Pine Digital Marketing and a content marketing extraordinaire. She’s passionate about helping small businesses worldwide achieve their top digital marketing goals. Connect with her to see how she can make your content marketing dreams come to life one blog, email, and article at a time. 

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