ADDO'S Kevin Scott: Hiring? Here's what job seekers want more than flexibility, unlimited vaca days

Our small business was recognized as the No. 1 place to work in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2019 Best Places to Work competition, and as a company that helps other organizations attract, retain and develop talent, here are three strategies we’ve found to be successful for winning the war for talent.

Provide better benefits. 

This is the most obvious step, but it must be reiterated. While the job market is strong, middle class families don’t feel like they are doing as well now as they’ve done in the past.

Individuals are not only looking for companies that can pay them more, they also need organizations that can offer better health insurance and a business that will help them save for retirement through the matching of a 401(k) plan. Employees want a business to take care of them so that they can take care of their families.

Focus on personal development.

The stereotype is that young people want flexible hours, unlimited vacation time, bean bags and beer fridges, but the data show that they most want someone to invest in their success. The UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business studied millennials in the workplace and reported that 65 percent said the opportunity for personal development is the most important factor in their current job.


This might make some boomers roll their eyes and say, “When I first entered the workforce, my paycheck was enough of a reward.” But the reality is that any business interested in competing for top talent must develop their people.

Think about this: If the number one thing young people want from a job is personal development, and a business has delegated hiring to a weak leader, they’ll never attract the next generation of top talent.

Show you care.

As a small business owner, it’s tough when the big corporation down the street offers benefits and office amenities that we can’t. However, we’ve found it’s often not the grand gestures that win people; it’s the small, simple gestures that show care.

We encourage companies to create a culture calendar, celebrating events like business milestones and employee birthdays.


Additionally, when a business gives its best to the customers but never invests in their employees, it communicates a lack of care. Employers must find small, but significant ways to show care to their team.

Low unemployment rates are a good thing, but it’s challenging employers to step up their game. Businesses will be pushed to provide better benefits, to develop their people, and to find tangible ways to show they care.

Kevin Scott is co-founder of leadership consultancy firm ADDO Worldwide.