Current headlines are littered with stories about businesses that can't hire enough workers. In the past few days alone, our news feed had stories on the subject from USA Today, Reuters, MarketWatch, and The Wall Street Journal. And at the moment of this writing, another Journal article explains that McDonald's is raising employee pay.
Levels of employment vary by region, of course, and are influenced by the degree to which your market has reopened. But if what we're seeing in "open" markets is any indicator, we're in for a season of staffing shortages. From automotive service technicians, restaurant cooks, and wait staff to home services installers, skilled laborers, and factory line workers: Recruitment is a priority for many businesses right now. It's gotten to the point that some states are now considering rescinding their unemployment benefits for a lack of applicants.
So how can you add more employees to your roster in the current environment?
How to Improve Your Recruitment and Bring in More Team Members
Here's a short list of strategies and ideas for boosting your recruitment efforts:
- Explore the unemployment rates in adjacent cities and states to identify places where unemployment numbers are higher (you can do that by browsing this map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Look at the table beneath the chart for the state/city you want to study and note that it shows employment data by occupation.
- Understand the unemployment benefits policies of your state — specifically, the typical benefit amounts and the term/time frame of eligibility. That can help you understand when state benefits will taper off and could impact the length of time someone is eligible for federal supplemental payments ($300/week) from the American Rescue Plan. See this brief from the National Law Review, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021. That's the date that the clock started ticking, and it might give you clues about when people will become more eager to rejoin the workforce. That can inform your recruitment strategy, or even what a signing bonus could/should look like if you're trying to motivate applicants.
- While a "help wanted" situation often takes people to one of those job listings sites, relying exclusively on those sites can seem futile if few people are actively looking for work. Remember that traditional and digital assets can help you reach people who already have a job (and may not be actively looking for one), and tempt those folks into considering a career move. Traditional media, along with digital, should be used to court passive candidates as well as active job hunters.
- Consider a marketing strategy model approach to develop a recruitment campaign. Who is the ideal job candidate? What is that candidate looking for in their next job (pay, benefits, career satisfaction, appreciation/gratification)? Think of the competitive landscape: Where else might they be looking for work, or where might they already be working? Think "positioning:" How do you stack up; what do you offer to earn the position of "preferred employer?" You're asking someone to make a purchase in this situation, no different than if they were buying a consumer product. The only difference is that you're asking the candidate to "buy in" to a career, and the payment is hard work and commitment instead of cash. What are your value propositions and positionings as great places to work? Tell that story.
- Consider geo-targeting logical candidate-rich environments, such as competitors who employ the kind of people you want, as well as area colleges or vocational-technical institutes that might be cranking out the kind of workforce your business needs (especially now during graduation season).
- Consider offering a "bounty" for existing employees when they nominate new candidates who are ultimately hired.
- If your company does anything at all to help manage childcare (a small additional allowance to help with daycare costs or on-site help, for example), make some noise about that. If a position can feature flexible hours to help families manage their childcare needs, make sure you're pointing that out in your messaging. Childcare costs are one of the biggest barriers keeping some people from reentering the workforce.
- Consider testimonial messaging from current staff who will say great things about your organization and why it's a great place to work. Important: Include a diverse group of participants.
- Study social media to see what your competitors' staff members are saying about them (on Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.). Feedback from your competitors' employees could give you and you ideas about how to differentiate your company from other employer alternatives in the market.
- Finally, any conversation about recruitment should include a chat about retention. As the economy picks up, more people are considering a job change.
Recruiting new workers in the current market can be a challenge. But with the right strategy, you can bring in top talent and put your business on the path for growth.
If you'd like to learn more about how to adjust your marketing campaign to improve your recruitment efforts, contact CMG Local Solutions today.