Written By Chris Ihrig

Published on February 21, 2023

Reading the headlines these days, it’s easy to get the impression that people just don’t want to work anymore.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s happening is that scores of people, post-pandemic, are looking for the right kind of work. They don’t want to just collect a paycheck, they want to feel fulfilled, challenged, and appreciated.

Because of this, employee engagement is more important than ever — and that importance will only continue to grow as we move forward. Executives must actively work to get their employee value proposition right.

Demands From the Workforce are Changing

It’s a simple equation, really. The smaller the talent pool, the harder it is for organizations to hire.

Yes, unemployment is at its lowest point since before the moon landing, but job numbers only tell part of the story. For example, in November of last year alone, the number of people working or actively looking for a job declined by 186,000 — the third straight month that saw a decline.

While there are various reasons for this and other drops in the number of job seekers — reasons that include ongoing illness from the pandemic and a growing population of retirees — these are not the only reasons employers are finding it harder to fill roles.

The fact of the matter is that, post-pandemic, more and more people are being selective in where and how they want to work. They increasingly want to:

  • Feel their work is purposeful
  • Feel included
  • Have flexibility
  • Know there will be investment in their personal development


The good news is that employers can meet these needs, as long as they take the time to engage with their current team members and build a culture that addresses the changing needs of their teams.

Turnover is Costly

A failure to create a culture that is enticing to those seeking a job doesn’t just make it harder to find fresh blood, it risks driving valued employees away as well.

And when that happens, it’s costly.

According to numbers from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it costs companies an average of 6-9 months of an employee’s salary to replace them.

Put another way, if an employer loses a team member making $60,000 per year, it will cost them between $30,000 and $45,000 in recruitment and training costs just to replace them — and that’s before the replacement even starts making a salary.

Engage to Attract and Retain

The truth is, it’s going to take time for the pool of available job seekers to return to pre-pandemic levels. This obviously creates challenges for employers. But it also creates opportunities.

Executives that invest in engaging with their employees are more likely to keep them. They’re also more likely to have a company culture that is attractive to candidates — all while limiting the very real costs of recruitment from excessive turnover.

The less time you spend on simply keeping seats filled, the more time you have to focus on achieving your company objectives. This doesn’t just grow your business, it gives you a competitive advantage.