The Importance of Employer Flexibility in Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

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Let’s face it: salary is no longer the primary factor job seekers consider when seeking a fulfilling career. Over the past two years, we have seen a significant shift in the workplace across Canada, especially a greater need for flexibility and adaptability, more benefits and wellness initiatives.

But how can business leaders stay ahead of the curve to ensure their employees remain happy? While there is no one size fits all solution to the many challenges facing leaders today, one thing is certain: they must re-evaluate how they approach their business to meet the growing demands of job seekers.

Although developing the ultimate hybrid work model may take some trial and error, the payoff will be clear. A well-led hybrid organization may result in more engaged employees, open communication, and a productive team that feels empowered with their work! Below, our Private Sector team shares a few tips on how to attract top talent in today’s job market:

1. Be flexible with onsite expectations

As priorities shift, we have seen a number of top candidates reluctant to give up remote work. As a result, a lack of location flexibility is a deal-breaker for many job seekers and current employees. Ideally, your workplace should be designed with your current and prospective team in mind! Providing enough flexibility for all of your employees (such as dedicating collaborative areas and quiet places in the workplace, implementing remote-only days, and empowering your team to sign-off earlier to fulfill their personal needs) can ensure that everyone on the team feels connected, engaged, and inspired to perform their best.

2. Determine how your organization stands out

As a business leader, you may be surprised to learn that you can significantly reduce recruiting costs by having a unique value proposition. To attract top talent, a clear value proposition may give your organization a competitive edge by positioning it as one that is dedicated to employee well-being and keeping up with industry trends. If your competitors offer the same compensation package as you, for instance, consider finding other, more creative ways to attract talent – perhaps you offer half-days during the summer or have a great RRSP plan!

In addition to employee benefits, your value proposition should also include some cutting-edge technology and proprietary tools that your organization may use, as well as how your company contributes positively to your community.

3. Consider expanding your wellness initiatives

There are many ways to ensure you can meet your employees’ physical and emotional needs! Some examples of wellness initiatives include:

  • Virtual or in-person mental health workshops
  • Subscriptions to meditation and self-care apps, such as Calm and Headspace
  • Monthly or yearly stipends to the gym or fitness classes
  • Promoting healthy choices by increasing the percentage of healthy options in the office (if applicable)

4. Share your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

The key to retaining talent is to create an inclusive environment that enables all team members to reach their full potential. In fact, organizations prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) report increased innovation and improved team engagement/employee experience. Here are some examples of how you can share your commitment to DEI:

  • Practice equitable hiring
  • Cultivate an open and respectful atmosphere
  • Assess and update company policies as needed
  • Acknowledge holidays of all cultures
  • Develop and participate in employee resource groups
  • Provide flexible working hours for parents who have school-aged children who may have to leave early for classes, daycare, etc.

5. Celebrate your team members’ achievements publicly

While each organization may have their own style of employee recognition, it is essential to choose several methods of celebrating milestones so that your team and stakeholders feel appreciated, confident and cared about! Below, we’re sharing a list of some of our favourite ways to show appreciation to our team:

  • Sending local treats to one another when celebrating career milestones and moments of appreciation
  • Celebrating birthdays and other special occasions by sending Kudoboards 
  • Welcoming new team members through our Instagram and LinkedIn pages
  • Recognize the highlights of our team on our internal and external newsletter campaigns

Flexible work arrangements are becoming the norm, not the exception

The LinkedIn 2022 Global Talent Trends report indicates that employees who feel cared for at work are 3.2x more likely to be happy in the workplace and 3.7x more likely to recommend the organization—as such, ensuring high employee engagement and reducing turnover begins with building a culture that supports team members both physically and mentally. Below, we asked Priya Bhaloo, COO of TAG HR, to share her insights on how business leaders can succeed in retaining talent in today’s job market.

Looking ahead, how do you think Canadian organizations will approach remote/hybrid work in the next year?

‘Simply put, I believe location flexibility will be the greatest deciding factor for all job seekers within the next year! Leaders must constantly evaluate their teams’ priorities and ensure they are placing a higher emphasis on what matters most to them. If leaders are not flexible enough to accommodate their team’s changing personal circumstances, they may risk losing top talent. During the beginning of the pandemic, we opened up our talent pool not only to Ontario residents but also to those living within North America, allowing us to find the best talent for both our Private and Public sector clients.’

What are the top three skills currently needed by leaders?

‘In the workplace, excellent listening skills are essential. Leaders who can absorb and digest new information can build stronger rapport with others, show higher engagement, and become open to new ideas and opportunities. Being adaptable is equally important, as rigidity and failing to listen to your team’s input can prevent you from finding creative solutions to complex problems. In addition, it is crucial to have excellent communication skills. Since working a conventional 40-hour/week schedule may not be the most productive way to build a stronger workforce, you have to communicate openly within your team and focus on the results instead!’

Can you share some tips on how to make location flexibility work?

‘The key to making location flexibility work for your team is ensuring all departments within your organization have effective digital communication tools and platforms. Instead of choosing platforms based on what has worked in the past, leaders must engage their teams and empower them to choose which tools work best for them. For example, project management software like can be great for organizing various projects when you work with multiple departments. If you work in a highly collaborative environment, you may want to consider setting up zoom meetings with whiteboards to streamline your collaborative efforts. In many cases, teams may need to meet face-to-face for various projects, but allowing them to choose when they come in and equipping them with the right tools will help them succeed in their role.’

Looking ahead to the future of work

We have seen that the most successful organizations are the ones who embrace the new way of hiring, advocate for their employees, and mirror what other companies do well. Looking forward, we are optimistic that the future of work will be hybrid, and it is encouraging to see many organizations focus on flexible methods to nurture growth and empowerment within their teams.

Thank you to our contributors: Priya Bhaloo, (COO, TAG HR) and Kenny Alfonso (Recruitment Consultant, TAG HR).

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