Four Ways to Attract and Retain Employees During the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation trend signals a changing employment dynamic, one in which talent—forced to adjust to a new way of working—is also open to opportunity. Now’s the time to supercharge the team with the top talent available.
By Karl Feldman
November 2, 2021

Many white-collar professionals are disappearing from construction firms.

The pandemic profoundly affected employment, including how and where people worked—if they worked at all. In many cases, individuals were laid off or let go as work dried up. Yet a wide range of workers, especially white-collar professionals, questioning what employment meant to them, have left or plan to leave their jobs in search of more money, flexibility and happiness. Dubbed the “Great Resignation” by business pundits, this phenomenon has, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seen nearly 4 million individuals quit their jobs each month since April.

Building for the future

This workforce uncertainty comes at a critical time as the Biden administration pushes an aggressive infrastructure bill that could channel as much as $400 billion into a wide range of construction projects. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that construction firms hold onto their most talented employees and recruit top prospects to strengthen their benches.

Hinge Research Institute’s study on white-collar AEC employees revealed several factors influencing employee satisfaction, including M&As and their firm’s pandemic response. The survey shows 100% of active seekers, and almost three-quarters of passive seekers, were dissatisfied with the M&A process. Likewise, 67% of active job seekers, and 26% of passive seekers, felt their current employer did not adapt well to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The root cause of these two major influencers of employee dissatisfaction? Poor communications. Fifty percent of surveyed professionals indicated that clear communications about how the firms involved in the M&A fit together would have helped elicit a more positive response to the deal. AEC firms engaged in an M&A, or trying to transition their workforces in response to the pandemic, simply failed to communicate their intent or strategy to their employees.

How to attract and keep top talent in the Great Resignation Era

1. Build the culture that will help you keep the brand promise.

For an AEC firm to succeed in the turbulent post-pandemic business environment it must focus on having the right people, processes, and tools to run and grow the business--all the elements that make up company culture, which is one of the most important things a candidate considers when seeking a new job. It reveals what kind of behavior is valued, how management interacts with employees and employees with clients. A positive culture is a vital recruitment tool that can attract more and better talent to a firm. It’s also a key to retaining the talent a business already has.

2. Make the employer brand a priority.

Well over half of all job seekers avoid firms with a poor reputation as a place of work. Top prospects seek out and prefer to work at a highly visible, respected firm that others know and admire—one with a strong employer brand.

A strong employer brand can be a powerful incentive to stay with a firm. The research suggests many employees value a great workplace and a prestigious, highly-regarded brand over higher pay.

But companies can’t build a brand out of thin air. The brand needs to reflect the company culture. Strong employer brands are validated externally by positive mentions offline and on external platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

3. Monitor and manage the employer brand online.

What do candidates find out about the firm when they do a Google search? To make sure the reputation is untarnished, it helps to actively manage it online with a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that combines onsite and offsite approaches.

Business leaders can tout the team’s accomplishments and good deeds on the site and distribute that same content through social media, bloggers and publishers. It not only makes the firm look good, it also makes the team feel good about the firm.

4. Understand top prospects and how to engage with them.

It’s hard to attract top talent if business leaders don’t know what’s important to them and where they are. Many employers think money is the most important criterion to a candidate, but research shows compensation ties at a distant second with a desire for strong leadership and a clear vision for the future, behind the number one consideration: company culture.

The top job search method for survey respondents was LinkedIn. While some AEC firms might be reluctant to have a highly visible presence there, it can be beneficial to promote experts and expertise on LinkedIn to help build a positive employer brand.

Building back bigger

The construction industry is poised to become even more challenging as some form of infrastructure legislation eventually gets passed. Leaders must make sure their companies are positioned to take advantage of it. The Great Resignation trend signals a changing employment dynamic, one in which talent—forced to adjust to a new way of working—is also open to opportunity. Now’s the time to supercharge the team with the top talent available.

by Karl Feldman

Karl Feldman is Partner at Hinge, the leading research-based branding and marketing firm for the professional services. Hinge conducts groundbreaking research into high- growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to become more visible and grow.


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