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Talent-Search Series Explores Changing Employment Landscape

The BCW’s new talent-search series launched on Tuesday as a five-part effort to help members secure their workforces.

The highly informative one-hour webinar, Talent Tuesday: They’re Just Not That Into You: The Changing Employee-Employer Relationship, featured insights from Greg Giangrande, NY Post Columnist and Chief People & Chief Communications Officer, Ellucian; Jack Lusk, President and CEO, Harris Rand Lusk; Allison Madison, President & CEO , Madison Approach Staffing; Susan Thomas, Client Partner, Heyman Associates; and Don Zinn, Senior Vice President, Steven Douglas.

“Many of our members have told us that talent attraction is the number one issue facing their businesses and organizations,” said BCW President & CEO Marsha Gordon, who moderated the panel. “We recently conducted our own flash poll of the Business Council of Westchester and found that it was almost evenly split, 50-50, between respondents who believe it is more difficult to find people to fill their open positions this year versus last, and those who say this difficult situation remains unchanged.”

Giangrande said that smart employers are breaking with past work practices that required stressful life trade-offs. “There is definitely a tug of war going on in the workplace between employers and employees, and for the first time ever in our lifetimes the employees are winning,” said Giangrande, adding that not enough employers are focusing on employee desires. “We want to feel like we do have some meaning, some purpose, that we matter and that it’s not just a transaction. That I’m not just a cog, a replaceable part.”

Thomas said there has been a great awakening to what she called the cost of work, including life in a high-cost region like New York. “I’m a little flabbergasted that companies are still not really waking up to what it takes to move a candidate if they are living somewhere where the cost of living is so much lower than the place where our client is,” said Thomas.

Lusk said all his social service clients are short of staff. New employee preferences about relocation have led to unexpected windfalls for local organizations. “One of the most interesting things about Covid has been that it’s been easier for us to recruit in Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk and over in northern New Jersey because people are perfectly happy to stay close to home,” said Lusk, adding that despite the stay-local effect, overall talent search is still difficult.

Madison said organizations must define their core values to enhance their brand. “That causes you to really attract the people that are going to align with your organization and your business, especially for recruiting younger candidates because they will always look up your company,” said Madison. “At the end of the day, the thing that differentiates you from another employer in your space or generally is how you approach work. How you engage with the world. That’s the key that makes someone want to work for your organization.”

Zinn said best practices for attracting talent requires analyzing a company’s requirements. “You don’t start by saying Who do we need to hire? You start by looking at your business first, you define the business needs, and I just ask a very simple question. Where do you need to be in 18 months and what’s preventing you from getting there?” said Zinn.

Click here to watch a video of the first Talent Tuesday webinar.

Click here to register for the next Talent Tuesday on April 18.

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