Craft Marketing Hero Image with Martha Carrigan

There has been no shortage of disruptive world events over the past couple of years, and recruiters are all too aware of this reality. That’s why recruitment marketing extraordinaire Martha Carrigan, CEO of Big Shoes Network (BSN), joined AMA Madison’s Craft Marketing event on June 28th. In her presentation, Martha broke down the differences between the job market in 2019 vs. 2022 and the resulting challenges. She also shared tangible steps that recruiters and marketers can take to overcome these obstacles to attract and retain top talent, all while boosting branding. 

So, what has changed in the job market, exactly? Martha shared:


  • The national unemployment rate was 3.2%
  • The number of available jobs was 7.3 million


  • The national unemployment rate is 3.8%
  • The number of available jobs is 11.4 million

It was already ambitious to seek talent in 2019, but it’s an even bigger feat in 2022. Finding employees is very difficult, due to a variety of factors including but not limited to: Lives lost across all age groups due to COVID-19, the mass retirement of individuals who maximized their savings when the 2008 recession hit, burnout, and evolving expectations for one’s employer.

Sure, a lot of these factors are out of recruiters’ control, but there is still plenty that can be done. Read on to learn what the modern employee demands and Martha’s tips on how to deliver that experience to reel in top talent and build your brand.

Dig Into What Today’s Employees Want

Martha explained that the #1 recruitment brand platform today is quality of life. This is evident in modern employees’ expectations of their employers:

  • Social Responsibility – Trends show that today’s employees want their employer to have established policies and programs for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and committed philanthropic and environmental initiatives. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves – Something that makes a difference.
  • Trustworthiness – As people become increasingly distrustful of the government, they are turning to their employers as large-scale institutions they can rely on and trust instead. According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer study, 77% of respondents listed “My employer” as the most trusted of any institution, and workers expect CEOs to be the “face of change.” With a trustworthy employer, employees can maintain a feeling of stability that they no longer find with the government.
  • Ambition is Redefined – It’s more important than ever for employees to have a healthy work/life balance, as they increasingly prioritize personal happiness and fulfillment. Now more than ever, employees are looking to derive this happiness and satisfaction from sources outside of the workplace.
  • Flexibility – While remote work may have accelerated burnout in some employees, many more enjoy the option of working remotely. For many, remote work enhanced authenticity and relieved stress, as it allowed employees to live anywhere, save money and stress from the commute, and spend more time with family. As a result, offering hybrid work models and fully remote positions is in high demand.

Focus on the Individual

To help your organization attract and retain talent, it’s worth asking why people commonly stay at their jobs and what causes them to leave.

Martha introduced the top five aspects of work employees rate as “very important” for them to stay:

  1. Positive Culture – 46%
  2. Mental Health & Well-Being Benefits – 42%
  3. Sense of Purpose & Meaning – 40%
  4. Flexible Work Hours – 38%
  5. More Than the Standard Two Weeks of Paid Vacation Time Per Year – 36%

According to the study, Gen Z respondents shared the same top three qualities but rated “Positive feedback and recognition” as fourth and “A manager who will help advance their career” as fifth. 

On why employees typically quit, Martha presented the top five reasons:

  1. Personal Well-Being or Mental Health – 24%
  2. Work-Life Balance – 24% 
  3. Risk of Getting COVID-19 – 21%
  4. Lack of Confidence in Senior Management & Leadership – 21%
  5. Lack of Flexible Work Hours or location – 21%

Martha also suggests examining why your current employees stay at your company. For example, conduct a “Stay Interview,” or a marketing focus group asking employees why they stay. From this, you can deduce the top factors impacting your employees’ desire to leave, as well as other insights. You may even consider asking your interviewees if they would be willing to be featured in marketing materials sharing why they love your company. 

Additionally, encourage employee-generated content. Even if it’s just a LinkedIn post of an employee raving about your company or how much they like working with their coworkers, it can go a long way. Brands can repurpose employee-generated content for website content, career pages, job listings, and more.

Boost Your Brand & Employee Experience

In the age of The Great Resignation, it’s never been more important to retain your valuable talent. To deliver the employee experience your employees demand, you may want to reconsider your current policies and benefits offerings. Martha gave a variety of retention tips that can fight burnout, build loyalty, demonstrate trust, and even attract potential candidates to your organization:

  • Reconsider internal candidates for job openings. Even if they lack the “necessary” degree, they may have the skills and behaviors that would help them thrive in the position. Additionally, make employees aware of new positions so they can apply if interested.
  • Update job description communications for inclusivity. Ask yourself if the position truly requires a certain range of years’ experience or if the mandatory degree is necessary.
  • Encourage upskilling opportunities and professional development. Additionally, promote a growth mindset and a focus on career paths. Don’t let your employees feel stuck in their careers, help them feel supported.
  • Rethink your benefits. More organizations are wowing employees and candidates by offering mental wellness stipends, fully funded healthcare at zero cost, as well as life, pet, dental, and vision insurance, and more.
  • On-site benefits. If remote or hybrid work models aren’t viable for your organization, consider adding benefits like childcare stipends, bike-to-work benefits, a vanpool program, or a gas stipend. 
  • Paid first week of vacation. When a new employee starts, consider giving them their first week off paid. Encouraging new employees to pursue leisure time from the start makes a stellar first impression, especially if the employee exited their previous job due to burnout.
  • Require employees to use PTO by compensating them.
  • Offer sabbatical programs.
  • Offer bereavement for family members, partners, and pets.
  • Create elder care and illness support programs. Employees who have responsibilities caring for aging relatives and family members will appreciate it.
  • Tuition reimbursement for professional development can empower your employees to develop their skills and chase their ambitions. 
  • Update recruitment materials for inclusivity. Potential candidates want to see themselves in your recruitment materials.
  • Chase the appropriate media outlets. Each demographic uses a different array of media outlets, so take note and pursue each one accordingly.
  • Consider resetting company payment policies. Specifically, can you add profit sharing? Pay off student loans? Your employees will appreciate it.
  • Add referral bonuses with longevity bumps. 
  • Establish an Alumni Network. Stay in touch with former employees and even those who turned down past offers. This way, you can share job posts on there to stay fresh in their minds as an option. 
  • Accelerate the hiring process. Try to simplify your hiring process. Candidates despise drawn-out processes, and too long a process can cause them to accept other offers first.
  • Offer an opt-out bonus. If an employee isn’t feeling the job within their first couple weeks, you want to know as soon as possible. By offering an incentive for them to speak up early, you can save significant training time and money.

Martha closed out her presentation with a hopeful message: “We’re going to be OK,” she said. She explained that all these challenges may be difficult, but they’re helping us become more flexible, which will benefit us going forward. 

See You at Capital Brewery for July’s Craft Marketing

Craft Marketing invites you to its next live in-person event at Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison at 5:30 PM on July 25th, 2022, where Lindsay Ojeda will share use cases and case studies of how Chatbots not only benefit user experience but also create a  revenue stream.

About the Venue

Cozy atmosphere. Educated staff. Remarkable beer. Garth’s Brew Bar opened in 2019 on Monroe St. The bar started from a passion to do good for the people and right by the beer. Learn more at

Register here for the in-person event.

Thanks to our sponsor:

Picture of author, Kara MartinAbout the Author

Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs and beyond. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content.

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