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4 Tips to Retain and Motivate Your Team in a Hot Job Market

Zak Brocchini

  • 02-25-2021
  • Blog articles

As the Covid pandemic (hopefully) is winding down, and more people are getting vaccinated, business leaders are optimistic, and the job market is heating up!

Managers need to stay in front of this or risk losing their best employees.  This is especially tough when people are working from home as it’s a lot easier to surf job boards, talk to recruiters, and have video interviews without coworkers around.

What can managers do to keep their employees motivated and retain them?  Read on for 4 Tips to Retain and Motivate Your Team in a Hot Job Market.

1: Engage Your Team

There’s a lot of anxiety and different feelings about returning to an office.  Talk with your team and see what people are comfortable with.  Recent surveys show most employees would like a hybrid of on-site and remote work.  Try to offer as much flexibility as possible with work schedule.  Check in individually with team members to see how they’re doing.  Are they experiencing burnout or anxiety?  Is there anything you can do to help?  Sometime people just want someone to listen to them and show some sympathy.

People stay with companies longer when they have personal connections to a team.  It’s harder to develop relationships when people aren’t seeing each other in person.  Check in with people through one-on-one video chats and encourage them to video chat with each other.  Teams could try video happy hours (a plus is there’s no concerns about how people get home).  There are lots of tools to keep people connected.  Encourage team members to use them and connect socially as well as professionally.

Often employees feel like they’re the last to know what’s going on, which can lead to gossip and speculation.  When people’s minds start running wild, it’s never a good thing.  Over communicate with your team individually and collectively.  Make sure people know what’s expected of them.  Encourage people to be engaged and make them feel like they’re part of the decision-making process.  Celebrate people and teams when they achieve goals and milestones.  Employee’s love recognition, even the ones that claim they don’t…

2: Offer Competitive Compensation

Money is a major motivator.  In a bad market people are happy to have a job.  When the market improves, people who have been unhappy will seek greener pastures.

There’s a high cost to turn over, both financially and to morale.  Hiring is expensive, companies will need to buy job posting slots, pay recruiting fees, and dedicate a lot of work hours to reviewing resumes, interviewing, and on-boarding new employees.  There’s always a ramp up period with a new employee as well.  Training takes a commitment of time from the manager and team as the new person gets up to speed.  This is very expensive for companies.

There’s also the loss of morale when someone leaves a team.  Others on the team start wondering if maybe they should be looking as well.  This is not the momentum a company wants!

3: Clearly Define Growth Opportunities

People want to continue to grow, to take on additional responsibilities and learn new tools.  Communicate with your team members about what they can do to reach their goals and be given more responsibility.  If there are new technologies to be developed or implemented, talk to them so they know and can get excited about what the future holds.  When there are new positions internally, see if there’s anyone that can be promoted into that role before looking externally.  When people are promoted, adjust their salary accordingly.

As people step into new roles, be sure to support them.  With new responsibility new learning is required and often there are growing pains.  Support employees by mentoring them in their new roles.  Don’t assume because they were good in a staff level role, they’ll automatically be a good manager for instance.  Mentoring goes a long way to insuring an employee’s success and continued growth.

4: Eliminate Negativity

Toxic employees kill team morale.  Not everyone will be best friends, and we all have bad days, but everyone should be generally positive with each other and about the company.  If someone on the team is toxic, managers need to address that immediately before it alienates the whole team.  If there’s been a change in a tenured member, try to engage them and see what’s happened.  Be patient and listen to them, this last year has been a difficult time for everyone.

Speak to the person and try to work with them.  Set clear expectations and be direct.  If the offender doesn’t change their ways, terminate your employment relationship.  The alternative is the toxicity spreads, resentment builds, and the team unravels.


Managing teams is difficult work.  It requires a commitment to the team and being both intuitive and a good listener.  It requires excellent communication skills, and a lot of patience.

There will be a lot of people changing jobs now that the hiring market has become very competitive again.  Good managers will engage their teams and be mindful of these 4 tips to retain and motivate your team in a hot job market.

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