By: Jennifer McGuigan, CMO, American City Business Journals

We all want the best people on our teams, but finding and retaining the right talent has become harder, especially given this year’s record-low unemployment rate.

So it makes sense that finding and keeping good employees is at the top of business owners’ list of concerns for 2018, according to The Business Journals’ 16th annual “SMB Insights” report. However, low unemployment isn’t the only factor affecting their ability to source and hire the best people.

Here’s what we found, with implications for even the largest of enterprises.

1. Candidates Are Looking For More Than Salary
While organizations are mindful of offering competitive salaries when pursuing employees, workers are seeking more than just money from their jobs, said Stephanie Oberg, a compensation and research manager at The Employers Association. In a recent webinar about hiring talent, Oberg discussed additional considerations:

  • Work/life balance, with wellness programs and flexible-work arrangements being available to them.
  • Performance management and career development.
  • A signing bonus.
  • A retention bonus tied to performance.

Another complicating factor is having multiple generations in the workforce. Each of those generations values different things, and even that can vary.

2. All Positions Are Not Equal
One size does not fit all. The ability to hire quality candidates varies by the position needed to be filled, according to the “2018 National Business Trends Survey,” conducted by the Employers Association. The most challenging roles to fill include sales account executives, executive assistants, and midlevel managers.

3. Bad Hires Take A Toll
We can all relate to the disruption and cost of hiring the wrong person. Bad hires lead to 80% of employee turnover and cost companies two to three times the salary level of the position for which they were hired. Other costs include loss of time, decreased morale, loss of productivity, and a distrust in the hiring manager and company, in general.

The Right Person For The Right Job
According to Tim Sorensen, partner at SelectionLink (with which The Business Journals has worked for 20 years), a person’s innate characteristics and natural dispositions give him or her the potential to be outstanding in a role.

“Talent can’t be taught, it can’t be faked, and it goes beyond what’s on someone’s résumé to finding out who that person really is,” Sorensen said.

Cleary, it’s the responsibility of those who are interviewing candidates to pick up on that. Also key: offering the right person a full rewards package unique to that individual’s needs. But don’t rush the process. The last thing you want to do is jump to fill a position and risk hiring the wrong person. With a relatively small supply of readily available candidates for most jobs, employers need to make sure they’re taking all the proper and necessary steps to identify the right people for the jobs they’re looking to fill.

Jennifer McGuigan is CMO at American City Business Journals.