Bridge Insights

Are Low Unemployment Rates Costing Your Company Its Culture?

Jan 23, 2020

The US unemployment rate hit a 50-year low in late 2019. The record low unemployment rates and the nature of today’s employee-driven hiring landscape have made it difficult for employers to fill open positions.

To stay viable in today’s talent market, your business and its employment opportunities must be more attractive than your competitors’ –after all, you are all vying for the same candidates.

To achieve a competitive edge in the talent war, many businesses have looked to compensation packages, benefit programs, and even more flexible work schedules for the answer. But what this approach fails to account for is the impact low unemployment rates have on current employees –specifically, company culture and employee retention.

If you find someone who is bright, willing to learn, energetic and fits within your company culture, it would be doing your business a disservice to let this person pass you by.

For most employees, a positive work environment is one of the best parts of going to work every day. In times where your workforce is running lean because of open positions, you increase the risk of missed company growth initiatives and employee burnout.The burnout caused by understaffing can lead to a lower quality of production, increased amounts of stress, rising tensions and negative attitudes between team members, decreased communication, and overall employee dissatisfaction with your business’ operations.

According to a 2018 Gallup Poll, employees who very often or always experience burnout at work are:

  • 63% more likely to take a sick day
  • Half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager
  •  2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer
  • 13% less confident in their performance

In a hiring market with a low unemployment rate, it’s easy to be understaffed while you search for top-quality candidates; there are more jobs than candidates and fewer candidates available who meet the required criteria for your open position.

But the pain points that come along with an employee-driven market make this the opportune time to ask ourselves what skills are truly required to perform this job, and what skills can be trained.

Reframing your current hiring strategy to focus more on a cultural fit and train on teachable skills may be the best option for casting a wider net to find talent –without compromising quality where it truly counts.

Yes, it may take longer to train someone up the learning curve, but if you find someone who is bright, willing to learn, energetic and fits within your company culture, it would be doing your business a disservice to let this person pass you by –simply because they don’t check off all the boxes of (trainable) skills.

Don’t let a great employee get away! Training is an important part of company culture and employee retention. Regardless of the market, no business can afford to lose a stellar company culture; don’t let low unemployment rates and employee burnout cost you yours.