With changing attitudes and priorities toward employment evolving in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting and hiring practices need to change in response to an exceedingly tight labor market. The unprecedented labor shortage that is impacting many industries promises to continue into 2022 and beyond, so employers must engage in strategic workforce planning to keep filling their recruiting pipelines.
Part of strategic workforce planning is knowing your audience. What are the recruiting platforms your recruits use most for their job searches? If you’re not using those platforms for recruiting, you may be missing out on the best recruits.
Even if your organization has a strong recruiting program, today’s environment demands that you look for ways to up your game in 2022. Following are strategies and tools to focus on as we enter the new year:
- What are you doing to attract the best candidates? Candidates can find work wherever they want, whenever they want these days, so take a hard look at what you are offering, including compensation, benefits, workplace environment, HR policies, and particularly remote work opportunities.
- Salary and wages are important, but you should also consider the total compensation and benefits packages you offer. We hear clients complaining that employees will go down the street for another job that pays $2 an hour more. But they may not be considering what the other company is paying for health coverage, how much paid time off they provide, or the value of other benefits. Be more proactive and understand the value of your compensation and benefits package.
- When it comes to benefits, are yours utilized enough by your employees to be considered a benefit? Some organizations have a younger workforce, and others an older workforce. Benefit packages should take into account the unique needs of the organization’s demographic group. Consider conducting an employee survey to find out which benefits are really important to your workers. A flex plan that includes a daycare salary deferral, tuition assistance, a PPO healthcare program or a cafeteria plan all may garner interest in your organization, in addition to the traditional 401(k) plan and health coverage. Now is the only time in American history when there are four generations in the workplace, so designing a benefit package that pleases everyone requires communication.
- What are your HR policies regarding remote work or flexible hours? If you are a manufacturer, you probably can’t offer many workers a remote work option, but you can consider job sharing, job rotation and schedule adjustments that would be attractive to new recruits.
- Where are you looking for recruits? Online job sites are important, but are you using them to their full advantage? Remember, the web is a graphical medium, and images of your workplace and employees can help sell your organization.
- Depending on your industry it may be advantageous to add some recruiting channels such as trade schools, veterans’ organizations or even retirees. “Boomerang” employees – those who are returning to the workforce after retirement – bring years of experience to the table and are often looking for part-time opportunities. Adding internships to the mix can also help you develop new employees.
- Rewarding existing employees for referring new recruits provides a strong incentive to workers to bring new people into your organization.
- Many companies assume their historic levels of turnover are set in stone. But in a tight labor market, employee retention becomes more important than ever. For every employee you keep, you save yourself the time and expense of advertising a position, screening applicants, interviewing candidates, hiring, onboarding and training a new worker. Employees generally want consistent feedback on their performance, open communication and candid information about their career paths and advancement opportunities. Training and development at all levels contributes to higher retention rates.
- Consider doing “stay” interviews with employees at all levels. You may be more familiar with the concept of an “exit” interview. But a stay interview is conducted with employees who have no plans to leave. Ask them what they like about working for your company, and what they think needs improvement. The stay interview should not be done in conjunction with a performance review. It can be conducted by an outside consultant, or online.
- Inevitably, some of your key people will retire. You can retain their skills and knowledge by working with them ahead of time to document what they do and how they do it, and ideally have them train their replacements.
If you are looking for young recruits who will, hopefully, be with your organization for several years, consider your workplace culture – because they will. Young recruits want to know what they can contribute from day one. What will be their role within the organization? How can they make a personal impact? Can they bring their dog to work? Different generations have very different ideas about workstyles and workplace culture, and young people will take a cue from how your company presents itself. What kind of imagery are you using on your website? The images and language you use to tell the story of your company will speak volumes to recruits.
First Step in Workforce Planning
Call us for a free HR consultation and get your 2022 workforce plan in place. We will evaluate your HR practices from a compliance, risk and opportunity perspective, and help you determine next steps.
The workforce is changing. Let us help you adapt to the new normal.
By Renee West, SHRM-SCP, PHR (New Philadelphia Office)