How to Attract and Retain Employees in Westchester County

Adobe Stock | Alexey Chigretskiey

The Business Council of Westchester’s Ivette Molina weighs in on an issue of increasing concern amid “The Great Resignation.”

Businesses across the globe are grappling with what is referred to as “The Great Resignation.” But no matter what you call it, as pandemic-weary people begin to reassess their careers in the face of a changed economic landscape, plenty of companies are finding it difficult to retain and attract new workers. We asked Ivette Molina, director of operations at the Business Council of Westchester, for some advice on how companies can help fill their ranks rather than resorting to want ads.

IVETTE MOLINA, Director of Operations, the Business Council of Westchester | Photo courtesy of BCW

Why are so many businesses finding it difficult to retain workers these days?

The pandemic has given workers all kinds of reasons to change the direction of their careers. Workers are leaving their jobs because they fear returning to an unsafe workplace. Some were waiting out the pandemic to leave positions that were causing them stress and burnout. Workers are finally choosing themselves first for a change, mainly due to the flexibility of remote working, especially for working parents.

What are some ways companies can attract new workers?

In this post-COVID world, employers can attract new workers by continuously following best practices to reduce exposure to COVID. Companies should also build a remote culture that includes adopting a remote-specific hiring plan. I believe the more creative organizations are with their recruitment processes, the more progressive they will appear to job candidates. For example, many HR professionals can now conduct live tours of their offices via FaceTime to give candidates a taste of their physical environment and company culture.

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What are some ways companies can retain current workers who may be thinking of leaving?

I believe it is very important to establish procedures for social distancing, temperature checks, and ensuring that employees who test positive for COVID-19 are given the time they need to recover fully, in addition to offering enhanced benefits, such health and tuition-assistance programs. Employers who invest in childcare support for employees, including resource and referral information, are also better able to attract and retain workers and benefit from reduced turnover and absenteeism. Offering more learning and development programs to fill in any knowledge gaps is also a good way to retain current workers. Lastly, companies that care for their employees, educate them on their rights and what is available to them, and are transparent with issues, have higher retention rates than companies that don’t.

Do you know of any specific examples of companies in Westchester that are embracing these approaches, and if so, who are they?

Mastercard in Purchase provided up to 10 additional days of paid leave to employees who were unable to work because they or a family member were affected by COVID-19. Slalom, a modern consulting firm that recently opened in White Plains, will be offering more than 300 jobs in Westchester. The management openly shared financial and operating figures with its employees in the hopes of offering greater transparency to its worker base.

Overall, how can companies keep up their workforces?

Ensuring that your employees have a positive, engaging, onboarding experience is as important as making sure you’re recruiting and application processes go well. Pairing a new employee with a mentor is a great component to add to your extended onboarding process, especially in a remote-work environment. Show your existing workforce you trust them, by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow. In addition, recognizing your employees for a job well done is an important part of helping to ensure employee engagement.

Related: Westchester Restaurants Struggle to Find Employees Post-Pandemic

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