5 Ways to Attract and Retain Young Talent

It’s becoming increasingly imperative that companies do everything in their power to keep up with the needs and expectations, not just of their customers, but of their employees. To attract a workforce that views you as an employer of choice and feels committed to your company is becoming more and more difficult as the demographics of the workforce grows and evolves. This year, over a third of the workforce will be Gen Z, meaning that all the work you did to try to attract millennials is going to need to be reviewed and adjusted.

But that isn’t such a bad thing. Your company should always be working to improve its culture to be the most attractive to new talent. It’s just part of the game. Thankfully, there are large trends that you can follow to help guide you to the best decisions around what benefits and perks you should offer, personalizing them to the distinctive needs of your company.

Personal Development

The lifecycle of a typical career has evolved dramatically over the past 40 years. Where an employee used to stay with the same company for decades and work their way up the ladder, employees now are viewing their career as happening in a series of waves, not linear steps in a ladder. With more and more people expecting to work longer than their predecessors, there is a natural expectation for more variety within a career, with more frequent breaks.

Younger generations are continuing to evolve by prioritizing jobs that offer opportunities to grow and develop their skillset, which will widen their career options moving forward. Four out of five employees consider the opportunity to develop new skills a critical factor when considering employment options.

Giving your employees opportunities to attend classes, conferences, and access learning opportunities is a great way to get the most potential out of your hires while building loyalty and engagement.


Younger generations are exceedingly interested in employment that allows them to have greater control over their schedules. Consider implementing flexible work schedules, offering flex time, or even fully remote positions at your company. You may find that you can actually save money while increasing productivity by providing remote working opportunities.


It’s common knowledge that Gen Z and Millennials have put a stronger emphasis on the importance of a healthy work-life balance, and as an employer, it’s important to factor this into your attraction and retention plans. Younger generations are seeking employers who offer wellness programs that support their needs and show that the company values their health. There is a large selection of wellness perks and programs to choose from, so you can select the perfect-fit programs for your company and staff. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide a monthly gym membership to employees
  • Offer a monthly stipend to be put towards personal wellness (massages, yoga classes, etc.)
  • Provide educational opportunities for employees to learn about nutrition, sleep, and self-care

Whatever you provide, make sure you’ve talked to your employees about what they actually want. That way, when you make the commitment to offer a wellness perk, you know it’s going to be used and appreciated.

Financial empowerment

Young generations face high levels of financial challenges, such as student loan debt, high cost-of-living, and excessive healthcare expenses. The current financial situation employees are dealing with has them expecting to work longer into their lives to be able to survive. You can support these employees by offering 401K programs, student debt matching, and financial coaching.

More employees than ever report being stressed by their financial situation. By offering them a way to find better financial security and relieve their anxiety, you’re showing them you not only understand their needs but are willing to help them meet and overcome their challenges.

Develop a positive hiring experience and company culture

According to a survey, nearly 80% of candidates consider their hiring experience as a top indicator of whether or not the company values its employees. Over 90% of job seekers research at least one resource to determine the employer’s brand before applying. This indicates a strong emphasis placed on company culture and values.

Make sure your hiring and onboarding process is candidate-friendly, accessible, and easy-to-execute. Do your workplace culture and online presence match up? Find ways to communicate the core values of your company through your hiring process and take pains to ensure they align with the experience of a committed employee. You want your candidates to know who you are from the get-go so they can make an informed decision whether or not to apply and aren’t disappointed when they join your team.

Never stop improving

As our world and culture develop, so do the expectations and needs of employees. Carve out time every year to evaluate how well your company is keeping up. Doing so won’t just make you look more attractive to prospective talent; it will help keep the talent you already have happily working for you.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

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It’s Not You, It’s Me: Breaking Up With Toxic Company Culture

Your company culture is at the center of whether or not your business runs successfully. It sets the stage for the level of success your employees will have collaborating, accomplishing goals, and pushing your company forward.

However, just because your culture is a critical factor influencing the success of your business doesn’t mean it can rely on importance alone to maintain its health. In fact, workplace culture may be one of the most fragile and easily damaged components of any business. 

With just one bad hire, you can derail a once quiet and synergistic atmosphere, right? Not exactly.

All too often, leadership is quick to point to bad employees as the source of toxic workplace culture. The reality is that company culture comes from the top down, directly set by leadership and the expectations created by those in charge. So it’s actually more common for a company culture to turn toxic from poor leadership than anything else.

Blaming toxic workplace culture on an employee is merely shifting the responsibility from those who have a duty to protect the culture to someone who is there due to a poor hiring decision. Or who is being allowed to contribute negatively to company culture. For an employee to truly damage a culture, they have to have been given the opportunity to do so by leadership. 

So what’s the first thing a leader should do when they face a toxic workplace culture? Take ownership. 

It’s not you, it’s me

As uncomfortable as it sounds, it’s vital for leadership to take full responsibility for the state of their company culture. If they want to make any difference, they’ve got to start with themselves and move forward from there.

If your team is suffering at the hands of a workplace bully, incompetent managers, or poor communication, it means that somewhere down the line, someone got away with doing something they shouldn’t have. And as a result, the bad behavior continued until it became too much to ignore. It means that someone let them get away with it

The key issue here is that what could have been stopped at the beginning was left to grow and fester. For a culture to be protected, there must be an expectation of immediate corrective action if someone acts in detriment to it– without excuses or hesitation.

Here’s an example

Rose owns a small business with a handful of employees. She hires a new employee, and within their first couple weeks, the employee becomes involved in several disagreements with other employees. The owner listens to all sides of the story but doesn’t take any action, hoping it will just go away.

A month goes by, and there is no positive change. Instead, the disagreements have escalated to bullying. The owner of the store tells the employees to work it out themselves and scolds her staff for not getting along better.

Before Rose realizes the significance of the interactions, half her team has quit. 

By not responding to the toxic behavior and attempting to put the responsibility of fixing problems on those who are experiencing the issue, Rose made a statement with her lack of  leadership: she valued one employee over the psychological safety of the rest of her team.

The employees didn’t quit on account of the bully; they ultimately quit because they weren’t being protected or valued by leadership.

The moral of the story? What you tolerate at your workplace might as well be what your business promotes.

Time to make a change

So you may have issues with your company culture, and you’re ready to take accountability, but you’re unsure of the next step. Do you fire everyone? Or give everyone bonuses because you want them to stay?

No. The answer is a little more complicated, but a whole lot cheaper. 

Thankfully, your company culture is as resilient as its leadership. Which means you have the power to guide it back to where you want it to be. Here’s where to start.

Clarify and promote your values. If you haven’t already create a values statement for your company. (If you have a values statement already, then you need to ask yourself why it hasn’t helped you so far.) Identify the core values you want to use as a foundation to guide your employees toward the culture you envision.

This isn’t something you put at the top of your employee handbook and forget about. Make sure it’s top of mind and visible to your team, all the time. When you onboard new employees, use it as a reference for everything you do with them. Your values statement will be the basis for all the ways you seek to improve and protect your culture as your business grows and changes.  

Set clear expectations and boundaries. Using your values statement, design a transparent system for holding employees accountable. Make it clear you will not tolerate behavior that goes against your values. Create a well-defined path for your employees to take when they are experiencing issues with other employees. The idea is to make it as obvious and easy as possible for employees to address problems they are experiencing, without fear of retaliation.  

Don’t think of this in terms of punishment. It’s about protecting something you love, not punishing something you don’t. When you create a culture that values happy employees, they’ll be your first line of defense against misconduct. Over time, protecting your culture becomes a team effort.

Don’t be afraid to make moves.  It can be extremely difficult to untangle workplace conflict, which can make finding a fair solution seem unattainable. But there are ways to identify the sources of conflict. Look for the common denominator in the issues you see. If one person keeps popping up, they are most likely playing a negative part.

If you keep coming up against the same person (or people) who are responsible for damaging workplace behavior, it’s time to let them go. Chances are if someone keeps causing problems, they aren’t happy anyway. And if they aren’t satisfied working for you, then you shouldn’t want them on your team. 

Don’t be shy

It’s your company. Do you really want the legacy you leave behind to be of frustrated, betrayed employees? Obviously not—you’re not the bad guy.

But hiding from facing difficult facts, uncomfortable conversations, and, most of all, change, isn’t going to help you or your company. Be proactive. Be confident. Take accountability. Remember that leading people to a healthier, happier environment is only going to gain you a more engaged, loyal, and dedicated team. And that only means one thing: good business. 


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Photo by lucid_dream

Empowering Employees Through Financial Wellness

The heightened frustration around the rising cost of living in the US is unmistakable and likely felt in your organization. Extreme healthcare costs, massive student loan debt, and rising housing costs have put an enormous strain on the American workforce. 

In a study on employee financial wellness in 2019, it was found that the leading source of employee stress across generations stems from financial issues. Despite record-high employment, employees are still struggling to meet rising financial demands across the board. Nearly half of all employees struggle to pay their household expenses on time each month.  More and more  people are expecting to work into their retirement to pay for healthcare and living costs.

So what does this mean for employers trying to attract, retain, and care for their talent?

It’s an opportunity to find ways to empower and support your employees financially.

But how?

There are many ways to provide financial support services to your employees, but it’s critical you understand the particular needs of your workforce. What might be right for a start-up tech company may not work for a retail store or small insurance agency.

To identify what services are right for your employees, it’s always a good idea to start by asking them! Conduct an internal survey to pinpoint where your employees need help. You can decide how to best address the needs once you know what they are.

There are a few common financial pain points; however, you can expect to find in most communities. Here are some ideas to address them.

1. Offering 401k plans with matching contribution

It isn’t far-fetched to assume that everyone—really, everyone—wants to retire someday. And with  80% of people expecting  to work during retirement, you really can’t go wrong by providing an opportunity for your employees to get in (or ahead of) the game. Tax breaks are available to businesses offering 401K matching plans to their employees, which helps mediate the overall cost of set-up and maintenance.

To those employees you’re hoping to attract and retain, offering a 401k plan with matching contribution says you care about their future and are willing to invest in it. Doing so will help build loyalty to your company and will play into a company culture that values the empowerment of its employees.

2. Student loan repayment 

It’s widely known in the US that student loan debt has increasingly damaged people’s ability to thrive. It’s common to hear graduates working extra jobs, moving back home with their parents, and living in poverty to pay off their bills. Here’s what the numbers tell us:

Ok, so these numbers are pretty scary. Thankfully, there are ways that employers can help support those employees who are struggling to pay off their student loans. Two options are Student Loan Replacement Plans (SLRPs) and student loan matching programs. Do your research on the available options to make sure the benefits program you choose is right for your particular employee population. 

3. Short and long-term disability (STD and LTD)

Statistically, a  quarter of all adults  in the US will live with a disability in their lifetime. Offering long and short-term disability benefits can play a critical part in your employee benefits strategy. However, it’s essential to understand the different programs available and exactly how they provide support. Not all plans are created equal. For instance, STD and LTD programs define disability in a variety of ways. Some follow the definition followed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is more rigid, where some have a broader and more flexible definition, allowing a more comprehensive range of people to access support.

Join the cause

Whatever options you choose for building a financial support system for your workforce, make sure you communicate with your employees about their level of need and interest and do your research accordingly. Providing relevant and easy-to-use solutions will make your employees feel supported and cared for.

Whether you choose a benefits package to help employees with student loans, get the upper hand on retirement savings, or offer financial protection in a time of need, you’re showing employees you’re invested in their well-being and care about their future success.

People want to work for a company that wants to see them succeed. There’s no better way to show you believe your employees are valuable than offering benefits that will provide real value to them. It’s not just good for your company culture and brand image; it makes a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people working for you. Now that’s real value.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd 

Five Signs It’s Time to Re-Train Your Managers

Employee engagement and satisfaction can make or break a business. Everything from company culture to benefits to schedule flexibility can affect the employee experience. Companies to go great lengths to maintain a happy population of employees, but what is the one thing with the most power to influence the employee experience? Managers.   

Frustratingly, many managers are placed in their position without being trained. Often high performing employees are selected to become managers because they’re great at their job. However, just because someone is excellent at organizing and executing their own work doesn’t mean they’re ready to manage a whole team of people  

When you have a manager who needs training, your employees are going to know it. But will you?  

How to know your managers need some help

1. Employee frustration at seemingly small internal hiccups  

If you’re finding that group morale dips when relatively small issues need to be addressed, you might be seeing a symptom of poor leadership. Employees that are already at the end of their rope dealing with poor communication or direction, due to lack of leadership, are going to get easily frustrated when issues arise, even if they’re relatively small.  

There is a threshold for the amount of juggling and direction change a group can take, and if their manager is adding to it, they’re going to have a much lower bar for what frustrates them. Are you familiar with the term “the straw that broke the camel’s back?” Then you get the gist. 

2. Confusion about role clarity 

As a team is organizing a project, do you see confusion around responsibilities? Do things slip through the cracks?   

If employees are unclear about their responsibilities, it could mean they aren’t getting enough direction from leadership. Or it could mean their manager isn’t following a consistent plan when delegating projects. If you have a manager assigning projects and tasks based on whom they prefer, and bypassing employees’ job roles, it’s going to create confusion at bestand downright resentment at worst. 

3. You don’t hear new ideas from your employees

If you’re wondering why your employees aren’t offering up new ideas and solutions to streamline processes, fix issues, and strengthen your company, you’ve probably got a problem with management. The fact is, everyone working at your company is going to have opinions and ideas. They just won’t share them if they’ve been shut down in the past, or if they’re afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes.  

Your employees are your best resource because they’re on the line doing the work. Your managers should be doing everything in their power to engage them and get them thinking about how to improve the company. If your managers are critical, dismissive, or even uninterested in their team’s ideas, all you’re going to get is a lot of silence and wasted opportunity.  

4. You get pushback when things change

Company culture comes from the top down, and if you have a manager or leader who is resistant to change, you’re going to see that translate to the way employees handle change. Lets face it, you can’t run a successful business without continually looking for ways to improve and grow, which means you have to be open to change.   

Managers who resist change are working against the natural flow of any company and ultimately end up stifling innovation and growth. Train your managers to expect change as part of the job, so they take it in stride and see it as an opportunity for growth. By doing so, you’ll develop a more agile and robust company.  

5. You only hear about the same few people on their team

If a manager only ever reports on the same people, this could mean one of two things. Your manager has favorites among their team who get special attention and recognition. Or your manager is failing to properly coach and lead their entire team, leaving people to become isolated and lose support.   

Either way, your manager likely isn’t looking at their team holistically but is picking out (either subconsciously or consciously) people they more readily connect with. This favoritism is detrimental to promoting diversity, which has proven to be an excellent resource for building teams. Plus, you never know what Shy Sam from tech might have to offer if he isn’t coached into being more comfortable sharing his thoughts.  

If any of these are hitting home for you, don’t lose hope! There are countless ways to train your managers and help them learn the skills they need to become great leaders. Chances are, you just need to give them the opportunity. When you provide your leadership team with development and learning opportunities to help them grow as leaders, you’re investing in them, in everyone they manage, and in your company 


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Rachata Teyparsit