While the pandemic brought many changes, perhaps the most prevalent one was how it changed the way people think about work. Many executives spent the early days of the pandemic reflecting on what the purpose of their lives were and re-evaluating how and where their careers fit into them. Since the pandemic began, prospective employees have also developed new and higher expectations of their employers, becoming pickier than ever — even being able to name their price in the market.

Of course, this means companies have also had to change their talent acquisition strategies. A new paradigm with new playing rules has emerged that employers must use to successfully navigate attracting and retaining top-tier workers.

As a result, today’s retail CEOs need to quickly pivot to successfully secure their A-teams of executives and employees. Here are three key ways to take action:

1. Instill an extraordinary culture.

Retail CEOs must connect with their employees — and their prospective employees — on a human level and create an authentic value system. Culture, purpose and values are now key to the future of work. By viewing and treating your employees as your most important asset, you will attract and retain talent for years to come.

2. Think outside the box.

Companies must rethink their recruitment strategies, embracing an out-of-the box approach with a highly unique, atypical strategy.

At Amsterdam Associates, we’ve created several out-of-the box recruitment programs for our clients that help them find talent in new ways. At TJX, for example, which was in the market to hire a chief financial officer, we attended investment banking conferences for retail companies to identify and pinpoint the leading CFOs in the industry. This enabled us to see prospective CFOs in action and report back to TJX to recommend the best and the brightest. In another search, one of our clients was looking for executive-level copywriters. To find them, we researched who the key writers of the 2022 Super Bowl ads were and enticed them to join our client.

Before launching an out-of-the box-style recruitment program at your organization, do your research, meet with as many stakeholders as possible to gain their perspectives, and keep meticulous records of contacts for easy reference and follow-up. Of course, having an irresistible offer that prospects can’t turn down, staying real to attract and retain the brightest talent, and keeping inclusivity and diversity top of mind are critical factors as well to ensure your success.

3. Use different incentive levers to keep employees happy.

For companies to keep employees happy today, they must offer different incentives. Besides transactional compensation, for example, try incentivizing executives with pay plans that offer compensation based on company performance, including EBITDA, profits, revenue, increased customers, etc. Other benefits that can help entice executives and employees to return to work and stay with your company include the following:

  • flexible working hours;
  • hybrid working;
  • a four-day work week;
  • four weeks working in a remote area with a company-provided airline ticket;
  • an increased emphasis on well-being;
  • an environment that ensures employees learn and build new skills;
  • pairing new hires with more senior executives to help with onboarding, cultural nuance awareness, and a commitment to staying longterm with the company;
  • regular town halls or employee-led open forums;
  • interactive activities;
  • skills training offered to executives, not just for their current roles, but to broaden their involvement and commitment to the company;
  • special stock grants and college tuition; and
  • expanding mental health benefits and opportunities.

By implementing some or all of these attractive employee benefits and treating your talent as your most valued asset, each person working for your company will act as a brand ambassador, which will trickle down to your customers and drive goodwill, commitment, and loyalty to your brand.