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Recruiting and Retaining – New Realities Call for New Approaches

EverythingHR Staff | 11/10/2021 | Blog

One cliché we have not heard a lot of over the past 20 months is “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Employers are scrambling to find new and creative ways to adapt to the changing realities, without breaking the rules and without breaking the bank.

Nowhere is this seen more than in the battle to attract and retain talent.  Adapting to new expectations and new demands (well, it is a buyers’ market) has become a daily task for HR professionals.  Please continue to our blog for a few tips on some of the newer strategies that employers may want to consider as a way of addressing these challenges.

Staffing Up During The Pandemic: A Few Tips

Many employers were optimistic earlier in the year when the COVID-19 vaccination program ramped up in a big way and case counts seemed to be on the decline. Restrictions were eased, and light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel.

But then came the delta variant, bringing a new surge of illness, hospitalizations, deaths, and fear. All of that complicates a return to the office and efforts to fill vacancies, leading employers in an array of industries to explore how to navigate a lingering labor shortage and how long the problem will persist.

Skills Gap Part of the Problem

When the pandemic hit the United States in a big way in early 2020, the jobless rate soared. But now, late in 2021, many employers are working to resume prepandemic operations and they need to hire back many who were initially thrown out of work. That’s proving to be a challenge, however. Employers in a number of fields remain frustrated they can’t hire enough workers.

Some blame enhanced unemployment benefits that enabled many to get by without going back to work. Those benefits have now ended, but employers still struggle to fill openings. The continuing threat to health keeps others from reentering the workplace, and unpredictable school and childcare schedules are keeping still more off the job.

There are no doubt other causes of the labor shortage, but one reason noted in a recent report from Internet job site Monster—The Future of Work: 2021 Global Outlook—is a worsening skills gap. Monster’s research found nearly a third of employers believe the skills gap has increased over the last year.

The skills most employers are looking for are identified in the report as being mostly soft skills. The report names the top four skills employers want as (1) dependability, (2) teamwork/collaboration, (3) problem solving/critical thinking, and (4) flexibility.

Tips for Hiring

Employers may not be able to solve all the problems that are keeping people out of the workplace, but they can take steps to help.

Increase pay. The Monster report stated more jobseekers are looking at salary as “the ultimate deciding factor” when considering a new job. Also, major employers such as Costco, Target, and Amazon have raised wages to $15 an hour and more to attract workers.

Provide opportunity. Monster also notes Gen Z, the youngest age group in the job market, has been shown to be motivated by advancement opportunities. A recent survey found that 78% of new college grads want a promotion in their first year on the job and 86% of noncollege grads say the same. Therefore, Monster advises employers to market their job training programs and other opportunities for growth.

Gear up for virtual hiring. Cornerstone, a company that works with employers to recruit, train, and manage employees, advises employers to make sure they have the right technology to support virtual hiring and onboarding. That includes making sure technology supports video interviews. Cornerstone points out that video interviews potentially can “expose the more ‘authentic’ or unfiltered side” of an applicant because interviewing from home may feel “less daunting” than a conversation in an office conference room.

Provide support. Another way to be an attractive employer even during a pandemic is to communicate how employees are supported. Cornerstone suggests focusing on how to support new employees who have been hired and onboarded remotely. Managers should regularly check in with new hires and be available while they settle in.

Set expectations promptly. Another tip from Cornerstone: Set expectations about how employees should be dressed during video calls and what hours employees should keep.

Burnout a Factor

Getting people hired isn’t the only problem. Employers are finding that many employees aren’t at their best because of burnout. Workforce analytics software company Visier recently reported that 89% of employees responding to its survey have reported burnout, with Gen Z and millennials reporting higher burnout than Baby Boomers or Gen X.

The Visier research found the top factor contributing to burnout was an increase in workload. Other reasons include a toxic work culture and employees being asked to complete work faster than they did before.

Employers should be aware of the hazard burnout poses, according to the Visier research. The company’s survey found that 70% of employees would leave an organization to take a job with another employer that offered better resources to reduce burnout.

Article courtesy of content partner BLR.  Author Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR web and print publications.