Last week a friend was bemoaning the calamitous state of hiring in her low wage/long hours industry. As we discussed the need to challenge her (hiring) assumptions of the past we naturally paid homage to every 2021 hot button topic: the unemployment rate vs. the labor shortage, the need to (more than likely) adjust pay and benefits, and the increased worker demand for flexibility (even for those who cannot WFH).
“You’re no longer calling the shots,” I told her. “And your candidates, new hires and existing employees are not going to put up with your crap (**) any longer.”
“Ouch.” she replied.
(** and I didn’t say ‘crap’)
I get that it’s overwhelming right now. We came out of pandemic hibernation. with its layoffs and furloughs, and the volume of hiring cranked back up to full throttle seemingly overnight. (Well, not really; it just that far too many companies slowed their roll…). As voluntary quits (per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics) also continue to rise, numerous HR and Recruiting teams have boarded a fast-moving carousel as the circus music spurs them on towards full-on panic mode.
To which I say “breathe.” Take the time…to make a plan. Step off that spinning merry-go-round and review a few essential elements of your hiring plan.
Essential Element #1: Messaging
Lots of hours (and lots of dollars) are being spent by TA teams as they massage (as necessary) their employer brand and work to diligently expand the reach of their candidate messaging. Both the smallest mom-and-pop restaurant (with a taped sign on the front door) and the largest global brands using insta are singing the same song: “Here’s why WE’RE the employer for you!”
But as panic mode has set in, recruiters and hiring teams are once again measuring the success of their outreach by simply looking at the sheer volume of applicants (and then down-the-road lamenting the fact that these applicants don’t convert to actual hires…or don’t “show up” on day 1 of employment.). Remember…you want the “right” candidates to apply and move through the hiring process; don’t lose sight of the fact that casting a wide net merely results in a lot of flotsam and jetsam blocking out the prized catch you really want.
Essential Element #2: Hiring
Companies accustomed to high-volume hiring usually have a well-defined and thoughtful process; using some successful combination of automation for screening, orderly applicant stages, and pre-defined interview plans wherein everyone from the Recruiting Coordinator to the Hiring Manager has a role to play.
Companies and HR teams now facing a surge of openings that is both unprecedented and unwelcome, may find themselves floundering as they try to “speed up” hiring activity. Yet here, for just a moment, is another time to pause and take the time to reset. This is a great opportunity to map out a hiring process, create the accompanying workflow in your ATS and/or CRM, assign roles (“who does what..and when?”) and gain commitment and agreement on internal timelines such as commitments from Hiring Managers to schedule interviews within xx number of days. (note: this also affords you the chance to simplify and improve; now may be the time to dump the 30 minute resume upload PLUS cover letter PLUS application PLUS questions).
Essential Element #3: Alignment
While companies may do a stellar job with talent attraction and candidate messaging (it’s fun and sexy after all!), there is, quite sadly, a disconnect once Susie’s status changes from “applicant who accepted job offer” to “employee.”
Take time to review how your story/brand transitions from the candidate experience to the employee experience. Quite often, while progressing through new employee onboarding, Susie quickly discovers that even though she was woo’d and courted with talk of “flexibility” or “family first” or “professional development” that was a bit of up-selling from the recruiter. Once Susie receives the employee handbook she discovers that unplanned absences result in attendance points/demerits (flexibility?) and her access to professional development only happens after (maybe) 12 months.
Essential Element #4: Define the “Why”
There’s been talk of the “great resignation” wave coming as 2021 continues (thanks to Texas A&M University Associate Professor Anthony Klotz for coining this term). And the afore-mentioned BLS report (June 2021) points to voluntary quits being on the rise. So will your company see resignations go up? Are people leaving because they want to continue working remote or remain hesitant about Covid safety or are re-examining their life choices in light of the fact we all just are coming out of a global pandemic? Maybe.
But this presents a great opportunity to assess and examine your “why.” WHY should employees stay? WHY are we a great place to work? WHY, amongst all the other choices they have for their careers and livelihood…will they stay here?
It’s a great time to take a pause. Spend a few days on a review. Refresh and reboot. (And then carry on).
Robin Schooling, Principal HR + People Strategy Consultant with Peridus Group, has worked the HR and Recruiting beat in various leadership roles since the days of the fax machine and rolodex. She’s a global speaker, has been blogging for a decade, and is co-host of Drive Thru HR. Find her on Twitter and you might get to see pictures of her three (yes, 3) dogs.