The Great Resignation. Is your bank resigned to living with it?

“Early in the pandemic,” says American Banker in their recent article, “In the war for talent, bank employees gain upper hand,” “early in the pandemic, the number of job openings at Zions Bancorp. plummeted to less than 200. A year later, the Salt Lake City company has three times as many positions available. Zions is offering certain perks to new employees, including signing bonuses for select positions and the opportunity to enroll in benefits immediately, instead of waiting the standard 30 days. But sometimes those enticements aren’t enough.”

Of course, they aren’t enough. After all, we’re now living in the era of The Great Resignation. By now, you’ve probably heard the term.  If you haven’t, it was first coined in 2019 by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School of Texas A&M University.  Klotz defines The Great Resignation as “the mass, voluntary exodus from the workforce” which we’ve experienced over the last two years or so.

In their article, “Overwhelming number of Businesses Report Difficulty Hiring Workers and Retaining Existing Employees:” US News & World Report speaks to what the Great Resignation has meant for businesses. “Large U.S. companies” it says, “are finding it increasingly difficult to hire qualified workers while also struggling to retain their existing employees. Citing an April, 2021 survey by the Conference Board, the article goes onto say that “more than 230 human resource executives echoed reports of labor shortages across the economy as businesses and other establishments that had shut down or were otherwise restricted by the coronavirus pandemic rapidly reopen.”

Not only is recruitment an uphill battle, but so is retention. A recent Gallup study found that 48 percent of employees are actively searching for new opportunities. The truth is, the pandemic merely fast-tracked a problem that has been percolating in American business since Henry Ford’s first Model T rolled off an assembly line. What the pandemic did was create an environment where workers who have long felt unappreciated, unengaged, and under compensated could actually act upon those feelings and leave. And between just April and June of last year, over 12 million did.

What’s a bank to do?  Recright, a Helsinki-based firm specializing in recruitment and retention, has the right idea:  Employer Branding.  What is Employer Branding?  “It’s the process of positioning your company as the employer of choice to a target group of potential candidates.”

Jill Castilla, President and CEO, Citizens Bank of Edmond, summed it up pretty nicely in a recent LinkedIn post:

“How in the world does a 1 location, $350 million community bank with 55 team members in suburban Oklahoma City end up on American Banker's 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking list? It's the team! It's the culture! It's the community! It’s the legacy! Culture change is hard. Driving change, encouraging high performance and rooting out negativity, unethical behavior and fixed mentalities should be so much easier. Standing out and being a little different can draw as much criticism as it does praise and it's so easy to let the critics get you down. Our team's focus to not only lead our bank and our community, but to also lead our industry into the next 100 years inspires me every single day. If you like to do big, impactful and sustaining work, Citizens Bank of Edmond should be your partner, your bank, your employer.”

Back to “employer branding.”  This is what it’s all about. If your bank is that employer that inspires, encourages high performance, and roots out negativity, unethical behavior, and fixed mentalities, you need to climb up to the nearest mountaintop and shout it out. If there’s no mountaintop nearby or you’re afraid of heights, you can always get that message out through branded messaging. Toot your own horn a bit, it’s okay. Be the brand that attracts the best and then work hard to get that message out there.  You’ll find that you’ll spend a lot less time looking for top talent… because that talent will be coming to you.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. To view our campaigns, both print and digital, visit BankMarketingCenter.com. Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.



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