CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 24, 2018

Will you be an employer of choice?

Employers that offer a better work/life balance will likely have the edge when it comes to recruitment and retention.

Hiring and retention are hot-button issues these days. Many companies report that despite today's high unemployment rates, it's getting harder to find qualified workers—and if they're lucky enough to find them, it's getting harder to keep them.

The situation isn't going to reverse itself anytime soon. In fact, it's expected to worsen. That's why a lot of farsighted employers are already looking at ways to ensure they'll come out on top in the competition for talent.

In a tight labor market, people can be more selective about which companies they'll work for. In order to attract top talent, companies will have to figure out how to become "employers of choice." In other words, they will have to make themselves more attractive to potential employees.

But how do you become such an employer?

Obviously, it helps to know what today's supply chain professionals want from their jobs. The latest salary survey conducted by our sister publication, DC Velocity, sheds some light on that question. In addition to asking about salaries and compensation, this year's survey included a number of questions about overall job satisfaction—what the respondents liked and didn't like about their jobs and what their employers could do to make them happier.

Job satisfaction proved to be extremely high among the survey respondents (a full 88 percent indicated they were happy on the job), but that's not to say they didn't see room for improvement. When asked what their employers could do to boost their job satisfaction (aside from upping their pay), respondents were ready with suggestions.

Some of the responses had to do with the work environment itself (like more up-todate technology and better communication on the employer's part). And a lot of suggestions dealt with career development, such as greater access to training and more opportunities for advancement. But a striking number of responses centered on another area altogether: accommodations to help workers achieve a better work/life balance. Like flexible schedules. Like opportunities to telecommute. Like holiday scheduling to accommodate diverse cultures.

What's notable about the items on this wish list is that they're budget-friendly. Unlike, say, onsite gyms or concierge services, most could be provided at little, if any, added cost for an employer. But the benefits could be huge. Employers that offer a better work/life balance will likely have the edge when it comes to recruitment and retention. And they can expect higher productivity as well. Studies have shown that employees work harder for companies that offer these types of accommodations.

The competition for the best and the brightest workers is about to heat up. If you're concerned about hiring, then it's time to start thinking about how to make your company an employer of choice. The upside could be huge, and the downside (if it even exists) negligible.

Mitch Mac Donald is Group Editorial Director of AGiLE Business Media.

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