Feeling the Stress of Staffing? 5 Tips to Get Ahead of Hiring in Today’s Market

Feeling the Stress of Staffing? 5 Tips to Get Ahead of Hiring in Today’s Market

It is not uncommon for large local companies to have 200 or more job openings. Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that there are still more jobs open than candidates to fill them. Real average earnings for employees increased 0.5% from February to March of 2017. This is creating a level of competition among employers to win top talent.  Employers are faced with the need to raise wages in order to attract and maintain key employees. The most sought-after candidates have serious bargaining power in this climate. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that more than 3.1 million people quit their jobs in January of 2017. This number is up from 2.9 million in January of 2016, and the highest since February of 2001. It stands to reason that workers are feeling confident in their abilities to secure other opportunities in this candidate-driven market.  If your organization experiences high turnover, you will need to hire more often, therefore expending more revenue and resources on recruiting, training and other costs associated with replacing employees.  You can see where we’re going with this. It’s becoming more and more necessary to forecast your staffing needs, and create a hiring strategy before productivity, customer service and employee morale are compromised. Here are some tips to help you manage your workforce in the current market.

 

Establish Benchmarking for Your Organization

Companies across every industry use benchmarking to measure their successes and areas where improvement is necessary. This is particularly important when we talk about attracting new hires. You should research salaries and compensation through websites like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to ensure that your organization is on par with the market.  Salaries and compensation are fundamental when attracting top talent, but they are also integral to retaining employees.  According to Salary.com, the average employee would be enticed to stay in their position for a raise of 10-15%. As part of an Employee Retention Survey, the same source also reports that 20% of the time, research into salaries reveals that employees are being underpaid. In these instances, companies can take preemptive measures to adjust salaries and reduce turnover. Turnover rate is also something that should be benchmarked by your organization to establish the company’s effectiveness in employee retention.  The American Staffing Association has a helpful calculator available to members to help you establish turnover rate for your organization. This can also be done through sources like SHRM’s Human Capital Benchmarking Report. Aside from the monetary costs and resources expended, a high turnover rate in a company is an issue that will continue to plague the hiring process until the source of the problem can be determined and addressed. Overall, benchmarking is a practice adopted by best-in-class organizations that can serve to enhance business operations, and increase external appeal.

 

Prioritize Employer Branding to Attract A-level Talent

In a recent Bradley Staffing group blog, we discussed how 48% of job-seekers will visit websites like Glassdoor to read a company’s reviews before accepting an interview. In a time when information about your company is so accessible through these types of employer review sites, you should be taking steps to make sure that you are viewed by job-seekers as an employer of choice. Another Bradley blog suggested some practical, non-monetary perks that employers can integrate into their organization that can set you apart from others in your industry. For example, unique hours and flextime go a long way with employees.  Allowing them a half an hour later start in the morning could give them extra time to drop off their children at school or just provide relief from rush hour traffic. Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising for just about any company. If you’re fostering a good environment, it will be obvious by your employees’ thoughts. Encourage your employees to write a review. The more feedback your company has, the better its overall ratings will become. Employees will most likely view your invitation as a sign that you value their opinions, and give favorable reviews.

 

Consider Temporary Workers in Certain Positions

While the obvious fundamentals of business productivity suffer during times of staffing shortages, there are other symptoms to consider as well. Understaffing creates greater workloads and higher stress levels in existing employees, which can yield to higher turnover. The standard of customer service can also be compromised when an organization is understaffed. This is an extremely costly predicament. A survey by New Voice Media reported that U.S. companies lose around $62 billion per year due to poor customer service experiences.  A recent Huffington Post article about customer experience informs that only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers will actually complain. The majority will simply churn. A lack of feedback should not be misinterpreted as a sign of customer satisfaction. Your organization’s ability to give excellent service should not be plagued by empty desks when you may be able to fill gaps by using A-level temporary talent. Whether this means fielding calls, responding to emails or just general administrative assistance, a temporary employee can mean the difference between a happy workforce, and one that is in danger of imploding due to unbearable working conditions.

 

Consider Soft Skills When Qualifying Candidates

A LinkedIn article by a talent acquisition specialist discusses the importance of recognizing those candidates that may not have all of the hard skills that you’re requesting for a positon, but may possess other soft skills that are well-suited to your organization. Often in hiring, employers look to check off all the boxes for core competencies and degrees on a job description and miss out on a candidate that has the potential to be developed. There are also those jobs that require a very particular skill set, and may be harder to fill based on hard skills alone. Where the technical, tangible capabilities of a job can be accrued through training, interpersonal abilities are difficult to teach. A 2016 Society for Human Resource Management SHRM article sites a report (from the International Association of Administrative Professionals, OfficeTeam and HR.com) in which 67% of HR managers said they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if his or her technical abilities were lacking, while just 9% would hire someone with strong technical credentials but weak soft skills.

 

Partner with an Experienced Staffing Agency

Even, if you’ve done some forecasting, know what positions you need to fill, and have started writing job descriptions, you could be in for a long process. According to CBC Global, the average time it takes a company to fill a position is 68 days. Partnering with an experienced staffing firm can help shorten this process. The average corporate job opening used to attract as many as 250 resumes. This is not the case anymore. On average we’re receiving around a dozen applications to these posts; only about half of which contain qualified applicants. Having a veteran firm pre-screening and vetting candidates ensures that you and your hiring managers are only meeting with the most qualified candidates. Full service staffing firms typically have consulting services that can help you plan your strategy from start to finish, and can help to make the whole process less disruptive to your daily business practices.

A large financial firm in our area occupies much of the market share of the investment industry and reports that they have 33% of positions that need to be filled urgently. This is a very precarious position to be in as an industry-leading employer. Delays in hiring additional staff where needed can have a domino effect throughout the organization. Overworking existing employees can push them to seek other, less stressful positions, resulting in greater turnover. The level of customer service is one of the first things to deteriorate when open positions are not filled. Even the most solid organizations will experience low morale when performance and productivity are jeopardized. Being preemptive in your planning, applying some new strategies, and supporting your current workforce are just a few ways that employers can lessen the stress and disruption that inevitably comes with hiring new employees.

To summarize, most companies are feeling the strain of the talent shortage. As hiring picks up even more during this economic recovery, we expect these trends to put continued pressure on employers. Many companies who do not plan for and respond to these trends will find themselves critically understaffed and in extreme cases, unable to do business. It is essential to partner with experts and consultants to build strategies to help navigate the current employment market.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.  http://bradleystaffinggroup.com/employers/

 

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