MReport August 2022

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30 | M R EP O RT FEATURE on building and supporting our culture and diversity at Guild through the use of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Now that we have somewhat emerged from the pandemic, is it easier or more difficult to hire the talent you need? T he pandemic was a period of adjustment that came with both positive and negative aspects in terms of talent acquisition. Many of our teams have gone fully remote; therefore, we have the new ability to reach out to a larger candidate pool from a geo- graphic standpoint, as we are no longer limited to candidates who are within commuting distance from our local offices. Not only does this allow us to hire the best possible talent but having candi- dates and new employees who come from various places around the country provides our teams with a greater sense of diverse perspectives. However, some difficulties have arisen as well. One of the biggest obstacles we face is a competitive market for talent. Now more than ever, we must work with even greater enthusiasm and swiftness to secure the best candidates for our teams. It has become more common to see highly qualified candidates have multiple pending offers, so while it is extremely im- portant for hiring teams to deliber- ate which candidate is the best fit, it is also important to remember that candidates are also looking to move quickly to find the best com- pany for their career move. How has remote work or hybrid models impacted your training and onboarding? W e very much rely on tech- nology to stay connected with our remote employees and new hires. We have leveraged our technology to provide virtual training, job-shadowing opportu- nities, and 1:1 video meetings for our remote employees and new hires. Our technology allows us to stay more connected than ever before. There's something to be said about having the ability to not just talk to someone who works remotely but also see them regularly via your desktop and share a virtual cup of coffee with them. Our enhancements with training now support a variety of interactive learning for our employees, including eLearning and Instructor-led courses. This has made a positive impact on our employee population. Have you seen changes in productivity or engagement with team members working remotely vs. in-office? How have you worked to maximize productivity as the office environment has evolved? Y es, this new virtual envi- ronment has required some adjustments, and there have been changes in productivity and engage- ment. Many employees thrive in a remote environment from a productivity standpoint, and this has positively impacted their perfor- mance. However, not all individuals do well working remotely. For some, the distractions of a normal household have made it more challenging and have definitely impacted overall perfor- mance and engagement. This is one of many reasons why Guild has maintained many of the local offices and has been looking at shared workspaces. We want to ensure that there are options to support overall productivity and engagement within the organiza- tion for all types of work styles. Aside from remote- working flexibility, how are the needs and requests of job candidates changing? C andidates have been more transparent about their indi- vidual personal needs, including family responsibilities and how homelife will interact with their work responsibilities. Many candi- dates with school-aged children or other family or household respon- sibilities are now more transpar- ent about their need to have a flexible schedule that allows them to manage their household and family needs during the typical workday. It's not uncommon for us to be asked if we can split a workday or start much earlier or work later than our standard core business hours. What are some other programs or policies you have implemented since COVID to try to attract and keep workers? T he new virtual environment provided the perfect platform for Guild to launch several new programs and initiatives. Among them, we started all-company Town Hall meetings for the very first time. Led by our executives, the Town Halls were a time for all employees to gather and learn about pertinent company information and ask questions. They were a wild success. Other initiatives that were easier to launch in the virtual world included our ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)— internal Company-sponsored communities within Guild formed by and comprised of employees who are linked together by shared backgrounds or shared interests. ERGs work to reinforce our positive workplace culture where employees with different backgrounds and interests are respected, treated equally, and are given more opportunities to succeed. Thus far, Guild has successfully launched three ERGs since COVID: a Military Veteran ERG, a Black Employee ERG, and an LGBTQIA+ ERG. We have plans to launch even more groups. How are you providing advancement opportunities within your organization? G uild's internal training teams have been leveraged to pro- vide ongoing support not just to new hires but also to all employ- ees throughout their careers. In the field, we have training teams dedicated to helping our oper- ations and sales support teams gain the skills needed to become subject matter experts. Current roles are consistently being re-evaluated to support additional responsibilities and opportunities for growth. Are there any other key issues or challenges regarding hiring and retention? W hile this may not neces- sarily be a new issue, it is worth noting that candidates are becoming much savvier when it comes to negotiating their compensation. Many states now require transparency with salary ranges. This, coupled with a com- petitive job market, has allowed candidates to be more assertive in asking for compensation, even if the request is not necessarily reasonable or aligned with the market. Given that salaries tend to be one of the biggest liabilities on the books for a company, this is forcing many companies to be more creative in determining how to compensate a candidate fairly. DEMETRIA C. LESTER is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in- Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at demetria.lester@

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