How to Attract the Best Talent in a Challenging Hiring Market

Bill Stamats

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Across nearly all industries and employment levels, the U.S. is weathering a historic labor shortage. The pandemic has prompted many workers to reevaluate their careers, choose early retirement, or simply stay home until infection rates decline.

As a result, many talented career-seekers can afford to be choosy. Today’s job hunters want more than the trappings of “casual culture.” Espresso stations and ping-pong tables don’t make the impression they once did.

Instead, applicants expect a more authentically rewarding experience—the freedom to work remotely or on-site, the chance to shape their own roles, and the satisfaction of knowing what they do matters. The same applies to the loyal staff who’ve stuck with you throughout the pandemic.

Take heart, employers. The tight labor market is an opportunity to reinvent how you recruit and how you foster a more satisfying work experience for everyone. We’ve collated five tips to attract top talent and keep the experienced professionals you already have.

1. Create Partnerships with Schools

Create a pipeline of skilled workers by partnering with high schools, trade schools, and colleges. Internships and work study programs allow students to refine their skills before joining your team as full-time employees. Over time, your organization could start to influence the school’s curriculum, helping them respond to market demands and graduate more career-ready students.

2. Be Transparent About the Position

Authenticity matters. In all phases of the recruitment process, be transparent about anticipated workloads, challenges, and expectations. Sometimes, overtime will be required. Sometimes, you’ll have early mornings, late nights, or whatever the differentiators may be. There’s nothing worse than finding out your dream job isn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Likewise, be clear about the compensation and benefits workers will receive in exchange for their efforts. Then, focus on candidates who can adapt to shifting workloads and skillfully reprioritize projects as needs change.

3. Get Creative

Additionally, rigid job descriptions may turn off highly qualified candidates. Rather than an extensive list of competencies, communicate the basic qualifications required and a few “nice-to-have” skills.

Also, consider ways new hires can craft their own roles or customize positions to deliver more value. Give them room to explore, find their best spot, and help your organization be more successful.

Accordingly, at Stamats, we post open positions that aren’t department-specific. By focusing on the skills required rather than departments and job titles, we can adapt job descriptions to match the strengths of top-tier candidates. The resulting hybrid roles can flex to meet our clients’ needs.

4. Prioritize Emotional Compensation

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report, negative emotions among employees around the world reached record levels in 2020. The pandemic has led many employees to reexamine their careers and reconsider what they’re willing to accept professionally.

In response, employers must take a more expansive look at compensation. Though offering a competitive wage is crucial, “emotional compensation” is an increasingly important aspect of worker satisfaction. According to a 2021 article in Government Executive, organizations can improve emotional compensation in the workplace by fostering these seven universal human needs:

  1. Respect
  2. Recognition
  3. Belonging/community
  4. Autonomy
  5. Personal growth
  6. Meaning/purpose
  7. Progress

5. Develop and Promote Internally

Recruitment is often considered an exercise in looking outward—what can this prospective colleague bring to the table. But in a tight labor market, it’s important to recognize and develop the talented people who are already on your teams.

Explore new ways to promote from within. Could a mentorship program help current employees grow into new roles? How could school partnerships be leveraged to allow employees to quickly pivot to new roles?

Remember, happy and motivated employees not only stick around longer, they make enthusiastic brand ambassadors—a valuable asset in a competitive hiring market.

Recruitment in Real Life

The healthcare industry has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. For example, like many states, Missouri is having a difficult time keeping nursing positions filled. According to a story in the Southeast Missourian, hospitals and long-term care facilities can barely keep up with resignations.

Stephanie La Pierre, chief nursing/clinical officer with Saint Francis Healthcare System has implemented more flexible scheduling, allowing nurses to decompress, enjoy a better work/life balance, and pursue their educational goals. A clearer advancement track is also helping. With tuition assistance and a more formalized mentorship program, nurses can customize their career path and get the support they need.

The hospitality industry was particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Hiring challenges at hotels and convention venues continue to affect operational support for the meeting and events market. According to an article in PCMA, Hilton and Hyatt have nearly 8,000 open positions collectively.

But things may be looking up. Orlando Weekly reports that Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World have increased their minimum wage to $15 an hour. And the American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation recently announced a new partnership with Relay, a tech company that designs two-way communication devices for hospitality staff. The new partnership will help fund the foundation’s Empowering Youth Program, which provides young people with entry-level hospitality positions and immersive, on-the-job training.

Prepare for tomorrow’s challenges with us. From brand-building to strategic planning, Stamats can help your organization thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. Contact us to learn more.

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