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‘Employers are no longer in the driver’s seat’-Challenges of tight labor market are focus of LVB’s HR Symposium 2019

How can employers recruit and retain good employees in today’s tight job market?

The answer, according to the professionals gathered for this year’s Lehigh Valley Business HR Symposium, is to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce.

“Employers are chasing a very small pool of available workers,” said Jacob Stitman, shareholder with Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, a Center Valley-based law firm, at the September 25 event at Artsquest in Bethlehem.

Jacob Stitman, shareholder with Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba –

In the last 10 years the job market has switched from one in which employers had the upper hand to the opposite today, he explained.

“The numbers favor workers,” Stitman said, forcing employers to raise wages in order to attract and retain talent.

Also changed are the cultural norms and expectations for the workplace, he added, with more workers demanding flexibility and the option to work from home.

In addition, employees are no longer staying with one company for a lifetime, but are job-hopping frequently.

“Demand on HR has grown because you will be doing more hiring due to increased turnover,” Stitman said. “You must focus on effective recruitment and retention more so than ever before. Employers are no longer in the driver’s seat.”

One way to effectively recruit and retain employees is to create a positive company culture, said Kevin Davis, vice president and senior benefits consultant with Coopersburg’s Univest Insurance, during a panel discussion with Tom Hess, CFO of Genomind Inc., a King of Prussia-based genetic testing company and Kym Kyra, HR Director with Barry Isett & Associates, an engineering firm in Allentown.

Davis described how Univest has a companywide workplace culture initiative called the “Univest Way,” which includes 18 fundamental corporate lifestyle tenants that flow out of broader corporate values.

Kevin Davis, vice president and senior benefits consultant with Univest Insurance –

Examples of the Univest Way fundamentals include “Celebrate Success,” which is about choosing to see the best in others and “You Earned it,” which awards recognition points that can be redeemed for gift cards or charitable donations.

“Each employee and new hire receives training in the Univest Way,” said Davis, “and we give a weekly quiz about the fundamental of the week, in order to instill the values even more.”

Davis added that it is important to hire those who are a cultural fit with your organization.

Genomind’s Hess also discussed several ways to increase company morale without increasing pay, such as offering more time off and paid community volunteering days.

Also at the symposium, Barry Isett & Associates’ Kyra detailed how being open about a company’s financials will help to engender trust in employees, and Raymond Lahoud, attorney with Norris McLaughlin, discussed the increased need for immigration law awareness when hiring today.







Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at [email protected]. or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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