Staying Fully Staffed: Get Creative

Part III

Get creative with recruiting. For a very long time it was an employer’s market; and many employer established very high minimum requirements for their open positions. While this may seem like a smart way to screen out all but the “perfect candidates”, it results in many good people with excellent attitudes and aptitude being passed over. Now the shoe is on the other foot; and employers need to prioritize what they require in a candidate walking through the door versus what they can train into a good employee who may not have all of the “boxes checked” regarding their work experience and skills. Ask yourself: “what is vital that I can’t easily teach new employees”? Most employers would agree that a good work ethic, positive attitude, and the ability to treat other people with respect are traits that must be inherent in a person’s composition and cannot be trained into them. Adjust your recruiting methods accordingly. A related tactic is to “re-engineer” the position. Some employers are taking positions that once required numerous sophisticated skills and breaking them down into lesser parts that can be performed by less trained individuals. We will discuss this tactic in more detail in step 5.

As we discussed in step 2, offering your MVP’s (most valued peeps) referral bonuses is a good way to invest them in the success of your business. It is also an excellent way to recruit quality personnel directly who may not normally be scouting your company as a prospective place to work. Talk to them one on one, keep it discreet, and offer them a significant referral bonus for any new employees that they help to recruit and retain over a period of time. Stagger the payments so that they are incentivized to help retain the new employees. The goal with this is that they will refer similarly high quality friends and family members who would become new MVPs.

In this tight labor market you will need to consider non-traditional sources of prospective employees. There are many retirees out there looking for a part time gig to supplement their retirement. Many of these folks have well established work histories that come complete with good work ethics and people skills. As the NY Times points out, they can fill gaps (think: skills) in your labor force that current workers can’t fill.

Another population to look into will be those with criminal histories. Obviously there may be some limitations or pragmatic safety measures that will need to be addressed when first entering this pool of workers. However, many of these folks have learned life lessons the hard way and are looking for a way to get their lives back on track. According to the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) more HR professionals are looking to this work population, and not just because they’re desperate for bodies. Getting the most qualified person for the job is one of the most important factors. What roles can your company offer to this population, possibly with some oversite built into the scenario?

Millennials are the up and coming generation of workers, and they come with some unique issues. They are so unique that we will dedicate an entire blog post at a later date to discuss their values, strengths, and needs. For now, suffice it to say that these young people place purpose over money, and they do not adapt well to an inflexible, regimented work place with cold and distant bosses. They place a premium on quality of life (currently termed “work life balance”) over a big bank account or rapid ladder climbing. Research the needs of Millennials, adapt your business accordingly, and it will pay dividends in the long run.

Have you looked into hiring high school students? You will have to work around their school hours, but many of these young people are willing to work part time jobs while in school.

Another pool of talent is college students. Internships are a highly prized resume and career building experience that your company might be able to offer. Contact your local colleges and investigate. Internships take some up front work to get set up, but once established they can become a regular feature in your company. Be sure to include duties that are important to the student’s academic needs. They offer you a chance to evaluate potential future employees while filling specific roles within your company.

Finally, look at employees from other industries. You may be surprised at how easily workers from another industry can adapt and be taught to succeed in a new line of work. For example; does your critical employee shortage require workers who have 2 years of quality inspection work in a German auto parts manufacturing facility? Or do you really need people who have been trained to focus on attention to detail? Do you see how your potential pool of applicants just became much larger?

Ways Your Company Can Remain Fully Staffed In A Tight Labor Market

Part I – Increasing Wages

Right now, in the United States, there are more jobs available than there are people out of work. Let that sink in. Every open position in the U.S. has less than one unemployed person waiting to fill it. And that doesn’t mean that each of these 0.9 persons is qualified for one of the open positions. Finally, as if more bad news for employers was necessary, quits (an employee willingly quitting a job) are trending upward as workers look for better situations and better pay.

As the U.S. economy rebounds new jobs are being created every month. While this eventually will translate into an economic benefit for most Americans (wages have stubbornly remained stagnant), employers have begun having difficulty filling open positions. Open positions can hamper a company’s ability to grow, to compete, and to remain at the top of its game.

As a business owner or manager you may be seeing business opportunities sprout during this resurgent economy, but because you have so many open positions you’re not able to capitalize on them. Dealing with this issue is going to take creativity, resolve, and yes, some money. You do want to do what it takes to remain competitive and be positioned to take advantage of business opportunities, right? Well then read on!

First, increase wages- if you haven’t done this yet, what are you waiting for? Americans are quitting jobs at the highest rate in living memory, and the primary reason they are quitting is pay. Increasing wages is a first act, but not the final act, in keeping your people. It should not be done in a broad brush approach, either. Sure, do a little research and compare what your company is paying compared to your competitors, and ensure that your rates are comparable. This basic tactic will help ensure that your company is on an equal footing for the majority of workers. Remember, “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.

Take it to the next level, however, by targeting your MVPs (“most valued peeps”) with real financial appreciation. You know which employees we’re talking about: those people who show up to work on time every day with a positive attitude, need little to no supervision, end up being the ones who train new employees, and basically are the core group upon which you rely to keep your business afloat. Ensure that what you’re paying these folks is a “living wage”. What is a living wage? The simplified answer is; can they afford the mortgage for an average home appropriate to their domestic situation in your geographic region? If not, they will be vulnerable to being poached by your competitors. Your MVPs should be able to live a lifestyle free from poverty or financial instability.  You count on them to provide stability for your company, giving them financial stability in return is a sound investment.