Springfield, MO

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2023 Talent Outlook: Sara Choate

Managing Director, Human Capital Solutions at KPM CPAs & Advisors

Posted online

Choate’s 2023 Projection
Companies will have to adapt to new benefits employees are seeking, but investing in the individual and their growth opportunities will be key. While many are exiting the workforce, many new, young talented individuals will step forward.

Companies are having to offer a lot of competitive options, pay rates and benefits such as remote work or child care because there are more jobs than there are workers available. What should employers be offering so their talent doesn’t leave?
A lot of it is about providing transparencies regarding opportunities that are available. They want to know that there’s opportunity for growth. I think as employers, we’re oftentimes really good at the technical piece. Sometimes we’re not as good at saying, how do we help develop you into a leader? I think that it is more important now than ever. You can throw all of the fringe benefits at people, but if they don’t feel valued and if they do not feel like there’s opportunity for growth and if they’re not doing a job that they deem as meaningful, then all of those nice things may not mean a lot.

Are those extra benefits becoming expected, and can you elaborate on those trends?
Flexibility is huge, and I think employers have to adapt. We are certainly in a climate, more so now than ever, where it is somewhat adapt or die. You have to have an open mind to alternative working arrangements, whether that’s flexible hours or whether that’s offering remote or hybrid options. Employers who are very close-minded to that are not going to serve themselves well in the long run.

There are companies now offering to cover tuition or mental wellness services. Are these types of offerings worth the cost for employers? Is it making a difference in retaining employees?
I haven’t seen any data to point to. A lot of these benefits are just entirely too new to be able to thoroughly demonstrate that this was helpful or not. I think that we’re in a bit of a holding pattern. Anytime you’re investing in the whole person, whether that’s through mental or physical wellness or in terms of paying for college, it kind of helps relieve financial stress. A lot of data will tell you that if employees are financially stressed, they’re not going to perform their best.

In regard to diversity in the workplace, besides equal opportunities, does hiring diverse people offer something to employers?
Absolutely. I think there is so much value in diversity just having those voices who have different life experiences. They can bring that fresh perspective to things that maybe a group of people who all look alike, who grew up in similar socioeconomic backgrounds, just simply don’t have awareness of. It’s not that anyone is intentionally trying to be typically pigeonholed in their thoughts. They just simply don’t have the awareness because they just don’t have that life experience that somebody who has a different background potentially has.

How is the “great resignation,” or the trend of droves of people exiting the workforce or changing jobs, many of whom are retiring baby boomers, impacting employers looking for new talent?
The new generation entering the workforce is going to challenge us, stretch us and have us consider alternatives that maybe were never previously considered. I think that certainly anytime you have a generation leaving the workforce, there’s just years of accumulated knowledge that you cannot necessarily replace overnight. But I do think there’s a lot of exciting things on the horizon with the newer generation.


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