According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9.2 million open positions remained on the last day of May 2021. Now, with nearly the entire country open and fewer restrictions, many companies can’t hire enough people to meet their needs.
Manufacturing, restaurant, hospitality, retail, transportation – you name it, employers are struggling to fill open positions. But why? Economists are offering up several reasons, among them, benefits. More than ever, workers are concerned about the benefits that address their top concerns, such as health care, child care, flexible schedules, and financial success.
In addition to benefits, many have left their industry to pursue career changes. And finally, despite increasing vaccination rates, many people still experience COVID-related anxiety and fear of infection or health-related consequences in the workplace.
Open positions mean a bargaining workforce
Employees want higher wages, better benefits, and more flexibility in their schedules. People also know that with so many open positions, they can be more selective about which jobs they choose. On the contrary, some employees are quitting their jobs. They are simply financially and emotionally unhappy, don’t like their role, experiencing burnout, or struggling to make ends meet.
With employees having the bargaining power and using it to their benefit, and businesses across the U.S. struggling to find workers, how can organizations attract new personnel and recruit the best talent?
Here are 10 creative tips to help with recruiting for open positions:
1. More benefits, please
After this past year, people have fundamentally reassessed what they need and want from their employer. There’s more focus on the complete benefits package beyond salary and bonus. Employees want to know that their organization supports their financial, physical, and mental health, professional growth, and families. Adding new benefits to the mix is critical. Some businesses are getting more creative with this by adding tuition reimbursement, gym and workout stipends, better maternity and paternity leave policies, and mental health days to name a few. One corporation recently partnered with a community college to offer college tuition reimbursement for employees who work at least 32 hours.
During recruiting, consider sending personalized communications that showcase the company’s mission, vision, and values. Share benefits information, insight on different tools they will use, and set them up to speak with employees from other departments so candidates can get a feel for the company culture. Prospects want to know what they should expect, while at the same time feel confident the team wants them on board.
3. Speed up the hiring process
In addition to implementing virtual interviews via Zoom, or using Calendly to book interviews with candidates, try a text messaging application to communicate with candidates quickly. It not only cuts down on the endless back and forth emails but improves your productivity.
4. Use creative job titles
Companies are using creative job titles as a marketing tactic to boost brand recognition, highlight a fun company culture, and drive more potential applicants to their job board. A recent instance includes McCormick’s posting for a Director of Taco Relations.
5. Lean on interim professionals
Interim or contract staff are most often used to cover employees who may be on leave or aren’t full-time. Look to hire qualified applicants to lighten the workload for team members until you find a permanent candidate. Or consider moving an existing interim or contract staff to full-time, if they have the skills you need. An added benefit, they’re already familiar with your company and are mostly onboarded.
6. Make commuting easier
Time and productivity are lost when employees commute to and from work. Continue work-from-home options and support flexible scheduling. Going a bit further, consider shortening the workweek to four days, instead of five, and spread out the 40-hour workweek across four days.
7. Leverage your internal network
Chances are, there’s someone at your organization who knows a potentially good fit for that job you’re trying to fill. Encourage employees to share that job opening on their social networks like LinkedIn. Make social sharing even easier (and fun) with an employee advocacy program.
8. Employee referral giveaway
An employee referral bonus is a popular strategy to encourage employees to recommend reputable candidates for an internal position. It’s not only more cost-effective than placing an ad and starting the recruitment process from scratch, but it’s faster. Incentivize employees with a monthly giveaway such as a QLED television, event tickets, or hard-to-get items like a new video game console, sports playoff tickets, or the must-have toy of the holiday season.
9. Modern advertising
While most HR professionals already promote opportunities on traditional job boards, websites, and LinkedIn, try going where your candidates spend their time. For example, try streaming advertising on sites like Hulu or Spotify or in-game advertising on YouTube or popular video franchises. It not only familiarizes others with your company, but makes the job look cool and exciting. Also, think about trying other social media options like posting a video explaining the job position or highlight your company culture on Snapchat. Even Tik Tok is testing video resumes to a small number of companies.
While HR is responsible for attracting new workers and retaining employees, they also don’t have the time, bandwidth, or resources to do it all, especially when filling jobs quickly.
10. Technology to the rescue
Lighten the load with a personalized communications platform that can engage prospects through the interview process based on their preferred mode of communication – email, push notification, or text. HR can easily share information about the company’s culture, training programs, workplace benefits, and flexibility policies.
Once an employee is on board, the same platform can send timely, personalized data-driven welcome emails, IT checklists, preboarding packages, and help build employee connections with other colleagues.
A modern messaging platform will also keep employees engaged throughout their entire employee journey, including introducing learning management systems (LMS) courses and development programs to learn new skills and grow in their careers. When employees are not engaging with the content, the platform will gently nudge employees to engage and act.
For employees taking advantage of reward and incentive programs, the platform can segment employees by group, team, or by the employees participating, distribute relevant information about prize winners, leaderboards, etc., and motivating messages to increase participation. This way, employees who don’t participate won’t receive a generic, mass email that doesn’t apply to them.
And, because benefits play such a significant role in recruitment and retention, a platform that leverages predictive analytics and behavioral science principles to deliver highly personalized “campaigns of one” help employees fully engage with their benefits. It can recognize if an employee is late for a preventive care service, who’s not using a 401(k) match program, or remind employees about child care discounts. As a result, organizations ultimately boost engagement and showcase the value of their benefits offerings.
Are you ready to fill open positions? Get started by reading the e-book, Jumpstarting the Employee Journey.