This week, Impact Recruitment partnered with BCBusiness to host an evening of learning, engaging discussion and (of course) wine for HR professionals. Taking over the beautiful space in East Vancouver that Contemporary Office Interiors calls home, this event focused on ways an employer can develop an emotionally intelligent HR strategy to help them navigate the labour shortage and attract and retain talent to their organization.

The evening kicked off with a thought-provoking presentation by keynote speaker Caroline Stokes, executive coach and author and a Q&A during which the audience was excited to raise the HR questions and concerns facing their own organizations.

Following the Q&A period, our Founder + CEO Jeff Harris joined Jesse Garcia (Workplace Knowledge Consulting Lead at Herman Miller), Max Brunette (Partner at Gowling WLG) and Kandrice Cantwell (CEBS, ISCEBS Fellow and Partner at Montridge Advisory Group) for a panel discussion.

The diverse panel dove right into the driving factors behind employee satisfaction and engagement, discussing flexible benefit plans, balanced workspaces, on-boarding best practices and everything in between!

Though choosing only a few highlights was no easy feat, our team noted the below as their key takeaways from the evening:

It’s everybody’s problem

In the current job market, hiring and retention is a challenge faced by all employers – regardless of industry. While the specifics vary from organization to organization, the overarching issues are the same. A candid discussion between several audience members vocalizing concerns about the high turnover rates at their respective organizations really helped drive home the point that all companies – large and small – are feeling the effects of the labour shortage.

One-size fits all doesn’t cut it anymore

Happy, engaged employees are more productive, more hard working and more likely to stay with your organization. Understanding that, it seems clear that the goal of any organization should be to engage their staff. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Today’s labour market is made up of an incredibly diverse, varied workforce spanning generations. This means there’s no one right answer to the question we’re all asking: how do I best engage my team? Without a cookie-cutter solution, an employer will have to put in the work to engage with their staff on an individual level, acknowledging their unique needs and circumstances. We can expect to see a major increase in flexible, customizable plans that give employees the tools they need to be successful in and out of the workplace.

The honeymoon period shouldn’t end after two weeks

It’s common for organizations pull out all the stops for new hires on their first day: showering them with company-branded gifts (from pens and mugs, to umbrellas and backpacks), welcome packages and friendly introductions from their team members. The thing is, the welcome wagon shouldn’t disappear after the first week. It’s crucial to the development and retention of new staff to continue onboarding for the first 120 days. An employer can do this through check-ins, continued training and even invitations to join the team for lunch, coffee or a happy hour pint on Friday afternoon.

Move over, open-office

For a long time, everyone – from trendy start-ups to huge multinational organizations – seemed to agree that the open-office concept was the ultimate workplace design. Well, that might be about to change, as some experts are claiming the open-office concept isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Their thought is that the best way to promote productivity is through balance, which would mean giving staff the choice of working in a private space, a collaborative space or even remotely. Coined the “balanced workspace”, the pros suggest that this style of workspace offers a (you guessed it) more balanced environment for employees which recognizes each individual’s unique working style.

All work and no play…

Work and play may not have to be mutually exclusive. Enter: gamification. Never heard of it? You’re not alone, but luckily the concept is pretty straightforward. Basically, gamification is taking something that isn’t a game, and adding game-like elements to it in an attempt to increase engagement. Sounds strange, right? Well, science says it works, and so do all the organizations adding gamification to their employee engagement strategies. Playing on human psychology, gamification uses our basic drive to compete (and be instantly rewarded) to increase employee motivation, productivity and engagement. If you’re keen to learn more about implementing gamification at your company, there are lots of resources online to help you get started (personally, we use Spinify!).