The American labor market has been at or near full employment for several quarters now, with few signs of significant change on the horizon. Descriptors like “historically tight” are now commonplace. Employers and job-seekers alike know precisely how those descriptors manifest in the real world.
If you’re looking to add new employees to your team, you’re almost certainly aware that you must take measures to broaden your recruiting aperture and widen your talent pipeline. You can’t afford not to.
But knowledge — admitting that you have a problem — will only get you so far. Without a wide-ranging plan to attack the problem, you’re not going to get very far. And you know better than anyone that you can’t simply wait out the present labor shortage — not when even the most pessimistic economists expect it to linger well into 2020.
With that in mind, let’s examine five winning strategies that employers in any industry can deploy to attract top-flight talent in a highly competitive labor market.
- Create Opportunities for Employees to Give Back
Job candidates increasingly seek purpose in their work. While it’s important to underscore for candidates the sense of fulfillment they’ll experience on the job, effectively conveying that fulfillment isn’t always easy. With his relentless commitment to corporate philanthropy Majestic Steel USA president and CEO Todd Leebow has the right idea; his company’s relationship with Ronald McDonald House of Greater Cleveland, among other northeast Ohio nonprofits, is a shining example for fellow midsize manufacturers.
- Get Serious About Flexibility
Are you still holding your employees to standard 9-to-5 (or equivalent) working hours?
Get with the times. If you’re really interested in attracting the best and the brightest, you need to meet them on their own time. That means eminently flexible scheduling that permits them to work when they’re able, as they’re able.
- Beef Up Your Exit Interviews
Keep your finger on the pulse — with a viselike grip. Start with thorough exit interviews that tease out precisely why departing employees choose to leave; incorporate your findings into subsequent offers.
- Up Your Vacation Allowance
Another flexibility metric that’s fast emerging as a gold standard for competitive service businesses is unlimited vacation time. If that sounds generous, it is, but don’t be fooled: You’ll still hold your employees to the same workload expectations as before, if not the same arbitrary deadlines.
If You Build It, They Will Come
You’re not only recruiting for an open position. You’re adding a foundation stone to the edifice you’ve been constructing one brick at a time for as long as you’ve been at this. No matter how challenging the conditions, you come to the job site each day, ready for the next task.
To extend the metaphor a bit: Implementing the strategies we’ve outlined here reduces your exposure to preventable delays that could push your project over budget and throw its schedule into a cocked hat.
Even in a historically tight labor market, world-class foundation stones are out there. All you need to do to find them is put your company’s best foot forward — and make sure it sticks out just a bit farther than the competition’s.