Thank you for taking the time to think about your hiring and employee engagement strategies. We know that finding the right talent can be difficult when you have limited time and resources. Today’s pandemic has only heightened these challenges.

This guide offers ideas for small and medium-sized businesses to build a thriving workforce. We recommend you pick an area to explore and try one or two ideas at a time.

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Build Your Thriving Workforce Strategy

Having a Thriving Workforce strategy can help you hire and retain good employees. It involves the six key components below. Within these categories are many options for what you can provide to your employees. No set of practices is right for every organization, but there is a lot you can offer, even if you are a smaller organization. Learn more in these areas: 


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Employee Compensation

Providing a living wage can be essential to attracting top talent—and keeping them. Other strategies also can support employees, including offering consistent hours and bonuses.


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Scheduling and Paid Leave

Having a stable schedule and paid leave can allow employees to better manage their personal and professional lives, increasing employee engagement and retention. 


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Hiring, Training, and Development

Creating career pathways, building partnerships with community organizations, and connecting with training opportunities in the community can help you hire and retain a diverse team. 


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Employee Engagement

Recognizing good work, enabling employees to participate in decision making, and fostering employee growth can build a workforce that is more motivated and productive.


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Some benefits—like health insurance or disability insurance—may be expected, while other benefits—such as education stipends, transportation vouchers, or gym memberships—can meet employees’ unique needs.


icon savings jarRetirement and Wealth-Building

Helping employees save for retirement and build wealth can reduce stress and turnover. Financial coaching and small loan programs are opportunities to meet employees' needs. 


Dive deeper into a strategy:

Central Iowa Works Guides

We've developed specific guides in topic areas that are of common concern to employers, including how to hire someone convicted of a crime and what to consider around increasing employee wages. 

Vew our guides

Technical Assistance

Central Iowa Works staff can help you walk through options and connect you with other employers who are learning and testing new ideas. Consider joining an industry-specific group working on hiring and retention solutions. 

Get connected


Thriving Workforce Ideas

Offering a Living Wage to Attract and Retain Workers

One local organization’s decision to raise wages for their lowest-paid employees improved recruiting and decreased...

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Navigating work: What lower-wage workers experience

As New Directions Shelter Program Manager at Hawthorn Hill, Kelsie Pinegar hears many stories about challenges central...

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