In the age of the Great Resignation, having a pro-employee culture is a must. Talent can take their critical skills with them when they retire, so to become an employer of choice, companies must work to ensure company values and policies align to create this culture.
While one size does not fit all, most different groups of workers do share commonalities in terms of workplace needs and desires. I am fortunate enough to have a background that enables me to understand the needs of my talent pool — engineers — enabling Gentry Professional Services to treat our consultants as the valued employees they are.
After working for 15 years as an engineer in the aerospace and defense industry, family circumstances led me to establish myself as a subcontractor with my previous employer. When former mentors began asking me if I was hiring, I realized we had the solution to a much bigger problem.
What is the problem? In engineering, highly skilled and experienced professionals are retiring rapidly, resulting in a devasting loss of skills and institutional knowledge that companies struggle to compensate for. Meanwhile, many retirees in professional fields find they miss the work and the people that had been a daily part of their lives for decades and often want to return to a part-time consulting role.
Although returning to the workforce is possible, inconsistent and overly complex HR and procurement policies make the process difficult and complicated from the company’s perspective. Meanwhile, project managers struggle just to get the job completed. This dilemma is not unique to engineering. In fact, it happens in almost every industry. And this is where consulting firms like Gentry Professional Services can offer a specialized solution by connecting clients with our employees.
Most of our team members are retirees who want to work part time, and we have established and matured our policies based on input from them as well as our clients. Our clients are relieved to have the assistance of Gentry’s specialists because they need immediate expert help or someone to train the next generation in critical skills.
Establish boundaries. With our retirees often returning to their previous organizations as consultants, there must be clear boundaries. To make sure the client is aligned with the retirees’ new working situation, we make it clear they have the autonomy to choose when and how much they will work and what projects they will work on.
This model enables our employees to feel respected and empowered to choose their work; therefore, they are more engaged, motivated and productive. What’s more, there is no learning curve in situations where our team members return to their previous employers. Our team already knows the people, processes and procedures to begin contributing immediately.
Varied benefits. Of course, we ensure our employees’ complete needs are met. Gentry’s experts are our direct employees, allowing us to provide benefits and withhold taxes, reducing the administrative burden part-time consultants often face. We update our benefits annually based on feedback from our team members. But our connection with our team members goes much deeper. For example, we hold monthly family dinners for team members and their significant others, a tradition we continue post-Covid and have even expanded nationwide. Additionally, our annual performance evaluations do not grade our employees. Instead, our employees evaluate Gentry to determine how we can serve them better.
Engineering a new solution for the Great Resignation enabled our company to craft our company values. Many of Gentry’s business decisions are based on the desire to do what is right, not on profit. While Gentry provides solutions for businesses and employees like many other staffing firms, our values lie in making a difference for the people we serve. And for us, that is the ultimate solution both in business and in life.
While I had the benefit of inside knowledge that enabled me to create a pro-employee culture, you can create the same success by seeking insight from your own employees. Talk to them. Listen to what they say they need and are looking for and then implement policies to meet those needs. These workers are your company’s future. Your livelihood. Serve them well, and they will do the same for you. z