If you’re rolling out big plans to increase your workforce in Q3, brace yourself: so is everyone else. Every U.S. sector is planning a hiring push from IT and technology (up 59%) to finance and real estate (up 48%) to wholesale and retail (up 40%) to health, social work and government (up 33%). But we’re also experiencing one of the most extreme talent shortages in the last 16 years.
One of the hottest issues in the world of work right is how to recruit people for this new, uneasy, mixed-up time when everything about working is different. Pre-pandemic, we may have thought our biggest challenge would be figuring out how robots and humans will work together. (That’s coming, to be sure). But the bigger problem now is just hiring humans.
Fifty percent of companies are missing their hiring goals according to a new survey of 560 recruiting and talent professionals. Recruiters are fried, and HR people are joining the Great Resignation themselves. The question is how do we stand out and land the talent we need? How do we find, hire and engage people so they want to stay?
Heading into Q3, take these 7 steps to future-proof your hiring process:
1. Take care of your HR and recruiting teams. HR professionals are burning out. 98% of HR professionals say they have experienced burnout recently. Ninety-seven percent have felt emotionally fatigued, 88% have dreaded work and 78% are open to leaving their jobs. Moreover, only 29% feel valued in their organization, and 1 in 2 HR people feel their organization isn’t supporting HR. Time to fix that. Prioritize their well-being. Recognize their incredibly hard work. Whatever you can do to make them feel like the appreciated heroes they are, do it now. Give them some paid PTO, a pass to a yoga class, whatever is appropriate. They’ll need energy and morale for that hiring push.
2. Get realistic about time to hire. Time to hire is increasing — and you should plan for it. Sixty percent of companies reported that in the last 12 months, their time to hire has increased. Certainly the longer it takes to move an applicant through, the more likelihood she or he drops out, so build in more contact. This is not a time for awkward gaps in communication. Make sure your managers know they may be looking at open positions for a bit longer than usual — so they don’t make plans that depend on new hires. 58 percent of HR managers in the U.S. and UK say hiring delays are having a negative impact on business performance. No surprise there.
3. Solidify your remote recruiting. You can’t hire remote employees if you can’t recruit them or conduct a successful remote hiring journey. It’s one of those no-brainers that is so simple, it may be stumping us, but it’s not just about the tools you have as much as it’s about the approach you take. Eighty-one percent of recruiters and talent professionals anticipate virtual recruiting will be a reality beyond Covid — and we’re not beyond Covid. Seventy percent said virtual recruiting will become the new normal. But hiring professionals have some major concerns, including how to engage (51.7%), onboard (49.7%), source (42.4%) and evaluate (25.8%) candidates. If you want to stand out from the madding crowd, make smooth and effective remote recruiting a priority.
4. Get better at hiring internal talent. Internal mobility is a blind spot: we know it’s important, particularly now. Seventy-three percent of hiring professionals agreed that internal recruiting is more and more important to their company, and there are strong indicators that promotions are key to retention. In terms of improving diversity and inclusion, internal mobility is a critical lever. Yet according to a hefty recruiting study: only 38% of companies surveyed are promoting jobs internally. So what gives? There may be too many siloes between hiring communications and employee communications: getting the word out that positions are open isn’t that easy. Further, and this is no offense to managers: you may find out that some managers aren’t communicating open positions to their teams because they can’t afford to lose yet another person. Examine this within your organization, and address the weak links.
5. Set up to hire external talent — outside your traditional workforce. On the other hand, the nature of the workforce is changing: 74% of respondents in a recent global executive survey say effectively managing a workforce of both internal employees and external contributors is critical to success. But only 30% say they’re set up to do so. Moreover, the gig economy was already on the rise before the pandemic squeezed our internal workforce hiring capabilities. Now, some organizations are building up teams with more external hires and contingent workers—and one result is that more organizations will be competing for the same external talent pool. How you recruit and hire external contractors and gig workers could play an increasingly pivotal role in the cohesiveness of your future workforce, so take a good look at how you’re doing it.
6. Let go of the quest for loyalty. Loyalty is not a soft skill. Employee loyalty doesn’t mean longevity now. It means engagement, alignment, and the desire to grow within your organization. But only 16% of employees would not consider switching jobs if something better came along. So don’t try to predict a prospect’s staying power. Sticking around isn’t necessarily a skill. Instead, look for communication, agility, judgment, empathy, and the desire and ability to learn. Those are among the hottest soft skills now. In a recent interview, Accenture’s CEO Julie Sweet noted that 40% of the skills that Fortune 500s used to seek in their hires as recently as 2017 are no longer relevant. To her, given the inevitable need to upskill and reskill as technology rapidly evolves, an aptitude for learning is critical.
7. Be very, very competitive with your compensation and benefits. If you’re wondering if your competitor is trying to inject life into their hiring push by boosting compensation, the answer is likely yes. They’re also using select cash compensations, sign-on and retention bonuses, and non-cash-related rewards and incentives as well, such as learning and growth opportunities, increasing transparency around values, mission and strategy, and a push for inclusivity within teams. Only 10% of companies in a recent global compensation survey are not going to give pay increases to their employees. And at least 90% of employees in the companies surveyed will receive some sort of increase. Even those who are trying a switch to a four-day workweek are paying the same salary as for 5 days.
There’s always more you can do. But not addressing these 7 factors is putting your organization at a distinct disadvantage right now — and we’re not predicting the talent market changing all that soon. What we do know is that all of these play a powerful role in not only defining the candidate experience and the employer experience, but also the hiring teams’ experience. That, in turn, has everything to do with how successfully you can hire, since they are your ambassadors, your agents and your lifeline to the workforce you need. We all work together, after all.