Be the Change: Solving the hiring issues that are fueling ‘The Great Resignation’

How one employer creates a virtuous cycle in hiring and retention: employees are treated with respect and have room for growth, and the whole company benefits.

Discussion

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Last week Gavin shared the hiring process that Howard Development & Consulting uses to build and nurture its incredible team (one that I am thrilled and proud to be a part of). He even received feedback that stated in part: 

As a WordPress developer, I’m increasingly frustrated with the hiring process and especially in the seeming lack of vision when it comes to growth. If positions and interviews were all laid out the way you handle them, life would be a lot more spectacular.” 

I agree, wholeheartedly. It’s well beyond time for antiquated hiring practices to be overhauled.

I’ve had interviews in many different scenarios: in person, over the phone, via zoom, with one person and multiple people, going through only one round and through several rounds. This last experience, for me, has been like no other. The way I was exposed to the posting, the interview with Rob, the “audition” (a paid trial project), the way I felt through the entire process… these things were all different. With the process and all details laid out in the job posting, I felt more confident than I ever had before. I was able to just be myself, do the work I normally do, and let that speak for itself.

The Job Posting

I’ve been using Understrap as my foundation theme for many years, starting well before HDC took the reins. Thankfully I was still subscribed to the theme newsletter, which is how I came across the job opening. I remember thinking “Ooh, I bet this would be a cool job, seems like a good company.” So, I clicked over to read the posting.

Now we’ve all seen thousands of job listings in our lifetimes, and some of them tick off one or two (or if we’re lucky, a few) items on our Perfect Job List. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have never gotten as excited about a job ad than I did when reading this one. My experience went pretty much like this:

MEME:  100 REMOTE, FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
PAID TRIAL PROJECT (NO CODE TEST!)  DIVERSE TEAM, HEALTHY WORK LIFE BALANCE  EQUAL PAY. PROFIT SHARING. YEARLY COST OF LIVING INCREASES.

The more I read, the more items ticked off my list. Big items. HUGE items. Very-important-to-me items. Items that make me want to work hard for a company that holds the same values that I do: inclusion, equality, personal and environmental health, work-life balance / self-care. And, of course, the one thing that we all struggle with companies over: salary. A good one.

The Fight for Salary Disclosure and Getting Paid What We’re Worth

Nyasha has talked before about the stigma that WordPress developers aren’t “real” developers. The salaries we find with corresponding WordPress job postings (if we find a salary at all…) only help encourage this perception. Granted, you can find WordPress developers of any caliber across the spectrum. But if you’re looking for quality, you need to pay for quality. And I get it… hiring is a big risk. It costs a lot of money, both if it does or if it doesn’t work out. But it’s a big risk from our end as employees, too. Our choices as employees can be pretty slim, and we often have to make sacrifices and take jobs with circumstances that can wear down on our mental health very quickly.

Screenshot of Tweet:  I LOVE APPLYING FOR JOBS  SO MANY GREAT OPTIONS  WOULD I LIKE T BE PAID POOLY OR WOULD I LIKE TO WORK FOR SOMEONE EVIL  OH COOL THIS ONE IS BOTH

Salary disclosure shows basic respect to your applicants. That aside, this also happens to be Colorado law (where HDC is based). Unfortunately, Colorado is currently the only state with such a law, and I think more states really need to follow this lead. To skirt this law, companies are doing shady practices like salary bait & switch, or excluding Colorado completely. Part of the reasoning behind the “Great Resignation” is that employees felt they weren’t being paid enough and felt disrespected. So, show your potential employees some respect, and show them the money. We know your games, and you aren’t fooling us.

The Balance Between Opportunity for Growth & Finding the Forever Job

For 10+ years now, lack of growth opportunity has been the #1 reason people leave their jobs. Some people enjoy doing the same job for a long time, but I think most people need some stimulation and like to move around into different things. I think a nice happy medium is a job where you get to work on a variety of projects in different capacities. That’s why I enjoy working in an agency that takes on clients from different industries. No two websites are ever going to be the same, and the tools you use will vary.

To me, growth doesn’t exclusively come in the shape of job promotions or pay raises. Growth includes being encouraged to try or learn new things. Problem solving. Brainstorming. Conversations with colleagues. When you take the time to consider your employee’s strengths and place them in situations where they can shine, you both benefit.

At HDC, I get to do things that both utilize my strengths and push me slightly outside my comfort zone. I’m involved in all sorts of projects, doing the things that interest me. This promotes my desire to keep learning and experiencing new things and keep improving. And the support behind this is strong. There’s an infinite loop of me benefiting the company > the company benefiting me and on and on. I’m a person with specific talents. I’m not a code factory.

How Do We Change Hiring Practices?

Well, like Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That said, we as job seekers can’t control the hiring practices of companies. What we can do is demand change. We can spread the word. We can share our stories, both horror stories and success stories. Employers: quit blaming job seekers for your poor hiring practices, suck it up, improve your process, and attract quality talent the right way. It will pay off, I promise.


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