As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the economy, 2022 will be a challenging year to find and keep workers. Build a successful hiring and retention strategy with these five tips.
I recently shared a cab with the owner of a printing business. He turned to me and said, “OK, then tell me: Where the heck did everyone go? Where are the workers and how do we get them to come work for us?"
That's a great question! Unfortunately, the answer is complicated. Workers have gone to a variety of places and for a variety of reasons. Some have quit their jobs because of continued COVID-19-related hesitancy, some because of ongoing child care challenges, some to pursue new opportunities and the chance to earn more money and gain more workplace flexibility. Some have quit just to take a much-needed break, believing that when their savings run low there will be ample job opportunities for them to jump back into the labor market.
So, what's an employer to do? Here are five steps to take to build a successful hiring strategy in 2022:
1) Imagine the talent you want and SWOT them. Who are you looking to hire? Is it someone with maturity and experience? Someone with less experience but lots of enthusiasm? Someone local or someone remote?
Employers must visualize the talent they want and work to understand what they're looking for. However, too often, business leaders fail to recognize the unique needs and wants of their talent and focus instead on what they as employers want.
Don't know what your desired hires want in their lives or their jobs? Just ask the ones who already work for you and are in the same demographic or job role.
Then, perform an analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). What are their strengths and opportunities and how can you maximize those assets while minimizing the weaknesses and threats that they may possess?
2) Shift your marketing spend. How much of your marketing budget are you spending to tell your story to attract talent? My guess is very little. Few corporate career sites and company job boards exhibit any effort to attract talent. Instead, the company's existing marketing is often reconstituted sales material that, from a potential employee's perspective, is boring and uninspiring.
Revamp it! Show prospective employees you understand who they are and what they want. Use videos, social media and testimonials to tell the stories of employees just like them. Show community. Show opportunity. Show your culture. Maximize social media. And yes, create a TikTok video! Don't know how to do this? Find someone who does.
3) Remove barriers. Grab your smartphone, go to your website and look for your career page. Is it easy to find? Next, look at your job openings. Would a Generation Z job seeker be inspired to apply?
More than half (58%) of jobseekers are looking for jobs from their mobile phones, according to 2019 data from Glassdoor. Try applying to your own job ad using your mobile phone. Not easy? That's a problem. Keep going—did you fill out the employment application? Hard, right? Having to search for the names and phone numbers and addresses of previous employers and educational institutions and then having to fill the application fields using your smartphone is close to impossible.
Simplify your application and keep revising it until it's easy to complete. Don't forget to capture candidates who start applications but don't finish them. If they bailed before completion, it's likely not because they are no longer interested but because the application was too hard to complete. They still may be interested.
4) Use your imagination. Wages are going up—fast. To remain competitive, many employers are paying more for talent than they budgeted and then they face internal inequities with their existing talent pool.
Pay is important, but so are other things. Nearly 50% of U.S. workers would be willing to take a pay cut to continue working remotely even at least part time, according to Owl Lab and Global Workplace Analytics “State of Remote Work" study. Stop thinking only about pay and look for innovative and creative perks and benefits that can attract and inspire the talent that you want.
5) Focus on flexibility. It's no surprise that after an extended period of time working from home, employees want to maintain flexibility. Those who cannot work from home want that flexibility too. Survey after survey shows that employees will be more loyal, more engaged, and will even accept less pay to obtain more workplace flexibility.
Not sure how to do that? Ask your employees how to create and maintain a flexible workplace, regardless of job role.
2022 looks like it's going to be challenging from a hiring and retaining standpoint but with empathy, creativity and imagination, you can make it the best year yet!
Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group, Inc. Affinity HR is the endorsed HR partner of Big “I" Hires, the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Big I New York, and Big I New Jersey. Reach out to Affinity HR Group via email or 877-660-6400 with your HR needs.