As a global employment website, Monster has deep insights into the trends shaping today’s world of work—and it uses that lens to deliver for its own workforce, says Chief Human Capital Officer Claire Barnes.
From robust benefits to a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, Barnes says, employers need to be closely attuned to the changing expectations of today’s workers—if they want to keep the “Great Resignation” at bay. At Monster, for instance, leadership has recognized that workers are craving expansive benefits, so—at a time when some employers are dialing back benefits to contend with an uncertain economy—it has retained and enhanced its focus on wellbeing that rose at the start of the pandemic.
Monster also prioritizes company values in its people strategy—an approach that Barnes says she personally has seen the value of in her global HR work, including HR leadership positions in the U.K. at Clarivate Analytics and Thomson Reuters. Here’s what else Barnes says Monster is doing to meet the “cautiously optimistic” expectations of today’s workers:
HRE: What were some of the most innovative approaches to pandemic-era benefits and policies that Monster undertook for your own employees that have stuck?
Barnes: Keeping wellbeing at the center of our people strategy has been really important. We made self-care days a permanent benefit, we have one flexible Friday a month where employees can leave early for the weekend and we have retained the ability for employees to work from home. We also provided our employees with free access to a mindfulness/relaxation app, which is very well received and highlights the support available in our employee assistance program. We also kept several of the communication methods we used during the pandemic. For example, we still survey our employees each month to understand what they enjoy, and what could be improved. We also hold regular ask-me-anything sessions with leadership. At Monster, we learned a lot from the pandemic and, while it was tough, we worked hard to create a better environment for employees. We don’t want to take a step back; we want to continue to use that knowledge to ensure our employees feel supported and heard at work.
HRE: How is Monster working to counteract the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on the labor force participation of women (particularly women of color) in your recruiting and retention strategies?
Barnes: This is something that we proactively worked on during 2022. Prior to the pandemic, Monster already hired more men than women and we wanted that to change. As a result, we started using different hiring sources and strategies. We actively looked to have women in our final selection pools, particularly for management-level roles. We also updated our employer pages to highlight all of the work we do to make Monster an inclusive place to work. As a result, last year, we hired more women than men and we had more women apply than ever before.
HRE: If the “Great Resignation” was the top talent headline of 2022, what do you think will be the headline for 2023?
Barnes: The Great Resignation defined the workplace for a large part of 2022. In order to gauge employer and worker sentiment about the job market in 2023, Monster published its inaugural 2023 Work Watch Report, surveying thousands of candidates and employers across the country on the latest workplace trends. The results show that “Cautiously Optimistic” is the top talent headline for the beginning of 2023. While both U.S. workers and recruiters have experienced years of unprecedented workplace shifts, they still remain resilient and optimistic. Monster’s Work Watch Report reveals that 92% of U.S. businesses plan to recruit in 2023, while Monster’s recent Quick Quitting poll shows that 64% of workers are confident they could easily find a new job in 2023—even in a looming recession. While upcoming economic shifts may impact these sentiments, it’s clear that both workers and employers are cautiously optimistic about the job market in 2023.
HRE: How do you think your experience in managing global HR functions contributes to your approach to HR?
Barnes: I feel privileged to manage a global HR function. There are differences between cultures, legislation and practices, but if your values are consistent as an organization, you can create a strong global culture. As a leadership team, we feel very strongly that our employees should have a voice and be heard. We also want everyone to be able to bring their whole selves to work. That can look different for various people and cultures. Recognizing this is key. Personally, I always learn from what our employees are experiencing around the world and the various challenges faced. I’ve also come to realize you can never know everything! Knowing what you don’t know is as important as knowing what you do. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful team who work hard to positively promote our values around the world.