Growing Greener Grass in the Great Migration

/ / Human Resources

The buzz is heavy around the virtual water cooler about the Great Migration. As wise organizations adapt to an increasingly flexible and employee-centric model, opportunities abound to discover whether the grass is greener. And, employees are discovering the truth: it often is! 

In our unique pandemic environments, service-oriented organizations are discovering the efficiencies and financial benefits of remote or hybrid work environments: productivity stays the same or increases, the demand for brick-and-more facilities decreases, and operations can continue beyond the traditional 8-5 through competent employees around the globe.  

Likewise, employees have learned that these environments – those that allow for greater flexibility and control of time – exist. Employee groups are emerging who prefer remote or hybrid environments. Similarly, the tumultuous times have caused remarkable introspection – particularly at the executive level – that has resulted in a values-based and fresh-start mindset shift. Flexibility and work-life balance are neon lights for the best recruiters and retainers.

Before the pandemic, companies didn’t always have to be so aggressive to seek out and retain talent. It was an employers’ market where organizations had the upper hand for selection, timing, and hiring. Today, the Great Migration has changed the narrative. In areas of the United States that have done well economically throughout 2020-2021 and have low unemployment, such as in Utah (our home base state), organizations have had to reframe budgeting, compensation, people management, value hiring, and critical HR conversations. 

The “change or die” mantra is, in many cases, a reality. People are different. 

Communication is different. Technology is different. Profit strategies are increasingly designed around employee recruitment and retention strategies, requiring companies to become more aggressive both as a matter of survival and to support hypergrowth objectives. 

Fortunately, organizations struggling to reframe operations have many opportunities to implement policies and strategies to ensure change is timely, relevant, effective, and profitable. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Include HR in all strategic planning. Where culture and creativity are essential to staff and retain your organization, ensure HR sits at the table.
  2. Treat candidates like your top customers. Make sure to communicate before, during, and after the interview (regardless of the outcome). Roll out the red carpet once you know they are capable and may be a good fit. Remember that even entry-level employees are interviewing you and your organization, especially in a competitive market. Your behaviors may be responsible for opening or closing doors to attracting essential talent.
  3. Use social media and online reviews to move beyond your physical walls. If a company isn’t using social media and online reviews to woo or wow, red flags may signal potential employees to look elsewhere. Beyond LinkedIn, job boards, and Facebook, tap into TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Google (among others) for a more visible presence to an unlimited diverse global audience. 
  4. Implement a referral program. Ask your star performers for employee referrals and reward them for successful hires. By incentivizing your workforce, recruiting and onboarding are shortened, and potential employees are already vetted. Nothing improves company culture more than rewarding, recognizing, and celebrating your workforce! 
  5. Create compelling job descriptions. These can make or break your applicant pool. Prime candidates want to be confident the job and work align with the compensation and benefits. A blanket and vague job description can quickly be passed over. Clear expectations that cover short- and long-term goals help more engaging interviews. Don’t be afraid to use interesting and fun language! Also, post your salary range (no one wants to waste time).
  6. Tout training, support, and professional development as frontrunner perks for your potential candidates. People quit bad managers and organizations that don’t help the employee grow. Don’t be either. Start on the right foot by thoroughly describing your offerings – and then deliver them. 
  7. Highlight your genuine efforts as an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Be conscious of compliance and aware of how more and more candidates are honing in on companies that make this a value and a priority. 
  8. Compliance, safety, and awareness need to be a priority. Many start-ups and smaller organizations offer overviews but don’t pay attention until fines or subpoenas surface. Does your organization understand the implications for non-compliance or realize that safety for a remote/hybrid workforce is still critical? Make sure your policies and handbooks are in order as you implement new strategies for employee recruitment and retention.

Limelight specializes in strategies to enhance people practices across organizations. For help with recruitment, retention, documentation, HR law, safety regulations and compliance audits, referral and recognition programs, online strategies, job descriptions, market and salary analyses, or training programs, contact us at