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?