May 2022

Attracting and retaining talent: The importance of data

For the first time in more than 30 years, inflation in Canada reached 6.7% in March. Some employees may ask their manager for a raise or accept a more generous offer from a competitor. In these circumstances, what can you do to retain talent and attract new employees?

Start by gathering data to position yourself effectively in your market so you can better explain your total rewards program. What base salary is offered in your industry? How many days of leave do organizations similar to yours provide? What type of pension plan and group benefits do they offer?

Each year, Normandin Beaudry produces a complete survey on total rewards to keep track of market trends. With this information in hand, organizations can easily compare themselves to the competition.

The challenge of standing out during a labour shortage is a significant one. Retirements—a direct consequence of an aging population—restrict the talent pool, together with immigration levels, which are too low to meet demand. As a result, 98% of organizations are having trouble recruiting, according to our 2022 Salary increase survey.

Avoid pitfalls

Market data can help you strategically position your organization, provided that you avoid certain pitfalls.

Constantly monitor data

Forget biennial or triennial analyses. The situtation is evolving too quickly and you must monitor market trends closely. Be proactive rather than reactive.

For example, by basing yourself on changing market salary data, you may want to adjust your employees’ compensation quickly. Close to half of Canadian businesses (44.9%) were considering increasing the salaries of their current employees at the start of the year, according to Statistics Canada. However, this initiative is not sufficient, because it does not take into account the non-monetary benefits of the total rewards program, whereas they often represent more distinctive elements that are less easily copied by the competition. The monetary and non-monetary components are essential to standing out as an employer.

Manage perceptions

Similarly, only reviewing compensation for positions that have the biggest differences with the market could create frustration among employees who don’t receive any adjustments. The underlying reasons for the decisions must be explained as transparently as possible to lessen perceptions of unfairness and negative feelings.

Think ahead

Another frequent error is to implement measures that the organization would have difficulty maintaining. For example, implementing a skills bonus for positions that are harder to fill. Employees will become accustomed to it and you’ll have difficulty discontinuing it later on.

Finally, neglecting the importance of communication can thwart all efforts invested. Be sure to popularize and showcase the total rewards program both internally and externally. Employees and candidates will be better able to compare everything you offer with what the competition offers and make a better decision.

There’s only an upside to being familiar with market practices. But be careful. Data must be used as a guide. The organization’s mission, values and guiding principles must take centre stage in the decisions so that your total rewards program is as consistent as it is attractive.

In addition to better targeting what sets your program apart and showcasing it to potential candidates, you increase your chances of attracting those who embrace your organization’s values, which is undoubtedly a sign of retention.