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The unemployment rate remained low at 3.8% in September.
This is good news for the millions of people who need to find employment but bad news for employers.
Most businesses struggle to find qualified candidates with the necessary skills and training for open positions.
These employers are dealing with the reality of too many open jobs with not enough qualified workers.
This can be frustrating for employers trying to bridge the talent gap.
COVID Changed Everything
We learned a lot through the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the major changes was the transition to an increase in virtual workers or independent contractors.
Many employees now use freelance sites to supplement their income or completely abandon traditional employment and work virtually.
We know that for businesses to grow, it requires a workforce that grows with them.
Take these steps to ensure your business is competitive enough to compete for the limited available talent.
1. Offer A Generous Hiring Bonus
I worked in healthcare several years ago, and anyone in that industry understands the fluctuation of clinical staff.
There has been a consistent trend of either too many or too few. What health care has done successfully is offering hiring bonuses for those difficult-to-fill positions.
For instance, an intensive care nurse requires a higher skill set, so a bonus is offered to qualified candidates to sweeten the deal in the hopes of making an employment decision.
Look at your benefits package, including a hiring bonus for higher-skilled, difficult-to-fill positions.
2. Review Your Compensation Package
The unemployment level is forcing competitive organizations to look closer at their compensation strategy and adjust it to attract job candidates.
Take the time to benchmark like positions and budget for pay grade increases to keep your salaries at or above average.
Also, look at your total benefits package and add lower-cost benefits to sweeten the deal.
For instance, if your culture and environment work for this, allow employees to bring pets to work. You might be surprised how many people would jump at the chance to have their pets with them while working.
Similar low-cost perks can be the make-or-break deal when negotiating with a prospective candidate.
3. Provide Generous Continuing Education
Most employees seek a career path and understand the importance of continuing education. Add education hours to your benefits package and offer generous tuition reimbursement.
The organization will benefit by having a skilled workforce, and the employee will benefit by increasing their skill set.
4. Create Flexible Work Schedule
Life is complicated, and workers value flexibility in their work schedules. Add the option of working at home or flexible office hours to your job.
For instance, allow employees to arrive at work within a time window of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and then work their required 8 hours from that time.
You will find that some employees love the early shift while others appreciate sleeping in on a workday.
5. Cater to the Boomers
Boomers are a special breed of employees with decades of experience. Cater to this aging group by offering part-time opportunities with flexibility in schedule.
Offer retirement education and help with the transition into post-work life.
For instance, allow employees close to retirement to transition from full-time to part-time before cutting the cord.
6. Use Your Satisfaction Data To Sell Your Organization
Employees want to work for organizations with a reputation for being a great workplace.
Create an environment that fosters employee engagement and monitor your employee satisfaction rates. Use this data to sell candidates on the advantages of working there.
For instance, if a candidate hears that 95% of your employees love their job, they may be inclined to accept a position where they feel comfortable with the organization’s culture.
7. Ask Employees For Help
Encourage your existing employees to refer candidates. Employee referrals are an excellent source of talent and tend to result in a better cultural fit.
Sweeten the deal by offering employees referral bonuses for sending in great talent that fits within the organization.
8. Create An Internship Program
Work with your team to create an internship program for college students or recent graduates.
Internship programs are a great way to test a candidate before committing to a long-term employment relationship.
For instance, if you need positions in your accounting office, seek out college students majoring in that field. You can test their knowledge and work ethic through an internship program.
This allows you to evaluate their potential and consider hiring them as full-time employees if they prove to be a good fit.
9. Host A Career Fair
Career fairs are still an effective way to find talent.
If your business is large enough, host your own career fair. If not, partner with other organizations to draw many candidates to meet and greet.
10. Take Advantage of Social Media Reach
Social media is a powerful tool. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your job openings and connect with potential candidates.
Ask employees to use their social feeds to get the word out and share what they like about working for your business.
11. Learn the Value of Networking
Networking is a powerful tool for many things in a business. Learn to be great at networking and use it to let others know of your hiring needs.
Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to network with others in your field and potential candidates.
For instance, use the social portion of a conference to introduce yourself and ask others what they do. It is as simple as letting them know your business’s hiring needs.
12. Utilize Head Hunters
You would not necessarily use a head hunter for every open position. However, recruitment agencies may be a good partner for finding talent.
There is an expense to this, but for higher-level positions, it may be the best way to find the level of skill and experience you are looking for.
13. Make Yours A Great Place to Work
Employees take pride in their place of work. Create an environment that gives employees something to boast about.
Find the criteria for being listed as a Great Place To Work and take the necessary steps to qualify.
Take Care of Your Employees
Unemployment rates fluctuate constantly, but when the rates are low, it is even more important to take care of your employees by offering competitive pay and benefits and creating a great workplace.
Doing this work ahead of time will make recruiting and hiring that difficult-to-fill position much easier!