Good employees. Just get them and make sure they stay. Professor of Regional Labor Market Analysis Jouke van Dijk tells what to do.
Although many an employer is at a loss for words, recruiting and retaining staff is not rocket science, argues Jouke van Dijk. But it certainly doesn't happen by itself. The key concepts: appreciation, facilitation, fun and image. 'You have to listen carefully to the wishes of your people. That is perhaps the most important thing.'
First, appreciation. 'That can be about money. Just pay a little more than your competitor, or offer better salary prospects. In some sectors, such as education, there is still some room for this. But in other sectors, like IT, the ceiling has pretty much been reached. So then you have to come up with something else.'
Facilitation and fun, in other words. To start with the former, Van Dijk believes that more can often be achieved there than is currently the case. Employers who give their people the opportunity to arrange their work schedules more flexibly score well. During the corona crisis you saw that it is also quite possible, if you make an effort. People who worked in the hospitality industry did not return in part because they found elsewhere that working hours could be adjusted much more to their liking. I understand it's difficult, but that's something the hospitality industry could think about.
"Lifelong learning. The term has been popping up everywhere in recent years. And for good reason, because it is important, Van Dijk believes. 'That learning of employees also lies with the employer. He must enable his people to do so. Everything is becoming more digital, for example. Then you have to invest in your staff so that they can keep up. Facilitate and stimulate. That goes a little further than 'there is a pot for it'. You have to actively offer it and take people by the hand. Take staff questions and requests along these lines seriously, too. An employee who learns is happy and valuable.'
And then "fun," perhaps the overarching condition, because pleasure in work is essential. More salary makes work a little more fun, good working conditions certainly do, tasks that are appropriate certainly do. Learning opportunities are important, as are good coffee, a nice Friday afternoon drink, ping-pong tables, company outings and pleasant colleagues. 'Fun work is in many cases the most important factor in staying.'
In this, many companies could use a little more creativity, the professor notes. 'If you know that your people will be happy with suitable work, then you have to create that for them. If I look at myself: I don't get happy with all kinds of administrative tasks with apps and links and emails and stuff. My secretary used to do that, and I liked that much better. Thanks to her, I had more time for tasks that I myself find more interesting and useful.'
'I recently heard of a furniture factory where craftsmen loved their work, except for cleaning up at the end of the day. Did they really hate it. The employer decided to bring in two Wajongers, who enjoy sweeping and assisting in the factory all day. Everyone happy and labor productivity goes up too. Sometimes you have to think how to organize things differently, I wanted to say.'
So what about "purpose? In recent years, this concept has been popping up in discussions about attracting and retaining personnel. This usually means that today's employee prefers to commit to a company that does good for the world. The image of a company is undoubtedly important. No one likes to tell their friends that they work for a big polluter, or for a company that does not take child labor seriously. This is one of the main reasons why more and more companies are taking Corporate Social Responsibility seriously. If you don't, you won't be chosen.