Recruitment has always been a category that struggles. Following the economic impact that COVID has placed on everyone, that struggle has intensified and become an even bigger challenge for many businesses.
In some cases, people aren't going back to work because of increased childcare and homeschooling responsibilities. Extended unemployment packages and stimulus checks needed to weather the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic provide support and incentives for employees staying at home. In other cases, there just isn't enough talent to pull from — putting a whole new strain on employers.
In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that ManpowerGroup research has found that as many as 69% of U.S. companies report talent shortages, which is the highest in more than a decade.
Here are some of our most reliable recruitment tips to help you weather the storm.
1. Have a great employee referral & retention program.
Your best hires are always employee referrals. For this reason, offering rewards to employees for referring qualified candidates to your organization is a great recruiting strategy that has a track record of working. This process starts with a job opening that an employee refers a potential hire to interview for. When that new hire gets the job, the employee receives the reward (typically after a specified period of time).
Referral programs are so reliable because those referrals are typically more qualified for the job, more cost-effective to hire, and take a lot less time to get into the position.
For inspiration, consider some of these referral program ideas given by TogglHire:
- Use outside sources too — 41% of referred candidates come from trusted external sources and not the companies that hire them.
- Have a good tagline — If it's done correctly, it can increase employee motivation.
- BYO Workmates example: Macaroni & Cheese; Burgers & Fries; You & Your Mate — They are that extra ingredient to make things better. Why not bring yours here?
- Referral Tiers — Divide your rewards into 'tiers' of referrals (i.e., 1, 3, 6, and 10) to increase the incentives. Rewards like days off and bonuses can go a long way in bringing in top talent referrals.
SHRM's most popular rewards include:
- Days off
- Gift Cards
- Eligibility to participate in a quarterly drawing for a "valuable" prize
- Points employees can exchange for a prize
2. Promote what makes you different or unique.
Especially when it comes to pay, promoting what makes you stand out from the competition can make a big difference in recruitment. In many cases, top talent would prefer your business over others but doesn't know you have better benefits.
For example, if your company pays weekly, has a great location, offers a sign-on bonus, or pays more than a competitor — lead all advertising with that information. If top talent doesn't know about your great perks, what's the point in having them?
Pay isn't the only desired incentive for top talent, though. Harvard Business Review names these additional benefits as the most desirable:
- Better health, dental, and vision insurance
- Flexible hours
- More vacation time
- Remote opportunities
- Student loan and tuition assistance
- Maternity/paternity leave and daycare services
- Gym memberships
- Free snacks and coffee
3. Take a heavy digital approach.
You'll also want to take a heavy digital approach to find the applicant while they are in 'apply' mode. It's more direct and targeted, so you're going after and getting more quality leads with your digital efforts. This is because you can expand your reach to searchers on social media, general and niche job boards, websites (yours, partners, and PPC), and more.
This can be incredibly successful in attracting new hire attention as long as you also advertise with competitive pay and other highly sought-after benefits. Digital will get your job opening in front of several candidates but remember — it will be your 'unique' offers that will ultimately attract new hires and bring more value to your business.
Having a digital approach can also help in reducing employee paperwork in the hiring process. Clients often see a large drop-off if potential employees are asked to fill out an entire application, so just capturing their contact information and prequalifying them is an easy fix for that.
Employees may prefer pen and paper for notes in many cases, but they certainly don't want to spend hours filling out paperwork before they're even officially hired for the role.
Never Stop Improving Your Recruitment Strategy
With top talent in high demand and a shortage to fill the gap, it has become increasingly more difficult to fulfill the necessary job openings you need to. With improved referral programs, better promotions, and digital capabilities — this challenge can be significantly reduced.
However, it is never enough to simply improve your strategy once a decade or even half a decade. Job seekers are always evolving and changing in behaviors, so you'll want to keep up with the changes to stay ahead. Follow our Meredith Gulf Coast Blog for the latest tips and inspiration for attracting and retaining the right people for your business.