Every month, Pinnacol CEO Phil Kalin reflects on the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's latest economic indicator report. His position at Pinnacol, with its 57,000 Colorado customers, gives him insight into the business trends - and what they may say about the future. See his latest post below and past articles here.
Everyone knows the labor market is incredibly tight these days, and every month these reports show it. What’s less clear is how to set one’s company apart to get, and keep, the employees you want.
This is a topic we are constantly thinking about at Pinnacol. While I wouldn’t presume to say that we have all the answers, here are some strategies we’ve adopted to ensure we are an attractive choice in this tight market.
First, we’re paying careful attention to our job seekers. Millennials and Gen Zer’s seek digital-first experiences, use social media extensively and care about the culture of the companies where they work. They look at Glassdoor, Indeed and social media postings for employee comments, and come to an interview knowing a lot about a potential employer. So, companies must tell their own story on these sites and social media, not simply watch what is being said about them.
Once they connect with you, job seekers also have high expectations about the process. While they have a digital-first bias, they also expect to be able to talk to a real person and find out what the company is really looking for before applying and want the interview to provide a realistic preview of both the company as a whole and their potential role within it. We also explain the interview stages up front, so candidates know what to expect, and have streamlined our process so it takes less time for us to make a hiring decision.
Of course, finding the right people to hire is paramount. We’re using artificial intelligence tools to search the internet and social channels for candidates who might fit specific job needs, and to help us prioritize applicants. And, as I’ve written about before, we believe strongly in growing our own employees with our apprentice program. Partnering with CareerWise, we began providing work/study training to high school apprentices last year. We now have 27 on staff, and recently hired a full-time employee from our first apprentice cohort – a full two years earlier than we thought we’d be able to. (She’s that good.)
Most important, though, is culture. As we all know, money is not enough to attract and retain employees. People, especially millennials and Gen Z’s, want work that provides fulfillment. Pinnacol has always had a strong, caring culture, but we can’t take it for granted – especially as we ask our employees to transform the way they work and become more efficient. Our efforts to put our people first have won us recognition as one of The Denver Post’s Best Places to Work two years running. They’ve also resulted in an “Innovation Award” from the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce for employee- and family-friendly policies like telecommuting, PTO donation, adoption assistance, breastfeeding support and many others. And our culture has helped reduce our turnover rate by more than 1/3 over the last four years.
Even when the labor tide turns, and the market isn’t as tight, we’ll continue these and other strategies to be an employer of choice. I encourage you to do the same.