Hiring in Mid-2022
Executives and hiring managers across industries have a recruitment problem. Within the US right now, there are millions of unfilled job postings combined with low unemployment. Meanwhile, workforce participation rates (which can be seen on the chart below) have dropped sizably from their high point of about 67% in the early 2000s. Since the pandemic of 2019, when numbers fell 3% seemingly overnight, we have crawled back to about 62% participation in the labor force. We haven’t seen sustained levels of workforce participation this low since the 1970s.
A 3% shift in workforce participation may not sound like much, but it represents around 10 million people. In reality, there are fewer workers today than there were three years ago, and they are looking at a larger pool of opportunities. It’s a worker’s market in labor right now with around 11 million open positions in the US (source) and 5.6 million people looking for work (source). Many of our marketing clients have been redirecting their advertising budgets toward attracting new talent instead of clients.
With fewer job seekers to draw from, what common mistakes do hiring managers make?
Hiring Mistake #1: Just Making a Job Post and Waiting for Candidates
You made a job listing and put it on Indeed. Now just sit back (or get back to all the work you put off to make that listing) and wait for the candidates to submit their CVs. Your website is sleek and full of information about your company. Your job listing is encyclopedic; covering the job and company in detail. You want workers who are motivated to work there. If they were, they’d research you, right?
From the job seeker’s perspective, there’s a wide range of places to look for employment: Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster for example. There’s also an astonishing number of positions available. A quick search on Indeed for “design” positions within 25 miles of Tayloe/Gray’s Office showed 70 listings, “account manager” yielded 48 listings and an eye-popping 360 listings for “Sales Representative.” Reading dozens of job postings is mind-numbing. Applying to ten of them can take more than a full work day.
When narrowing down dozens of job opportunities to a few, applicants are looking for reasons to eliminate most of them. Your post has moments to create (or destroy) the impression of a great opportunity.
There are a couple of options to handle this and get your opportunity noticed above the noise. First, you can promote your job opening on the site where you listed it. It will get your post higher on pages and in search results. However, this approach only makes your voice the loudest in the chorus. For better results, it helps to have a positive reputation. If a candidate is already familiar with your brand, you have a leg up on the numerous other companies that are hiring. What you really want is for a candidate to see your logo and think, “They’re hiring! That would be such a great place to work.” This brings us to a major factor in ensuring potential candidates focus on your listing is your culture.
Hiring Mistake #2: Who Needs Culture?
Your brand is (mostly) outward facing, and informs customers about your company. Your culture is an extension of your brand that defines how employees work and interact. Essentially, how the company operates internally. A company’s mission statement and core values are integral parts of the culture. Accountability, employee recognition, and discipline processes, along with less formalized internal communications are expressions of it. All companies have a culture. If you don’t intentionally create it, one will form organically.
Company culture types include but aren’t limited to: Collaborative, Leadership-driven, Hierarchical, Adhocracy, and Purposeful. Each type of culture has advantages and challenges. Adopting a proper culture for your business will help attract the right employees for your organization. Furthermore, maintaining a company culture that resonates with present employees increases retention.
Corporate culture is a subtle factor in recruiting that can compensate for deficiencies in compensation packages, and proactively attract talent. A company with an outstanding culture may have applicants applying for jobs that aren’t even open yet, providing the opportunity to maintain a pipeline of excellent candidates who are eager to work with you.
Having a great culture doesn’t just happen. It takes intention; first in the planning and then in the practice. Likewise, your culture won’t promote itself. Social media is one way to promote yourself, but it’s not the only way. Take an objective look at your reviews on Glassdoor and your presence on social media (By the way: You can ask present and past employees to share reviews on Glassdoor). Examine your social media presence, consider what a potential applicant would learn from your profile. Additional questions you should consider: Are you active in your local community? Do you have any opportunities to participate in local higher learning institutions? Are there community organizations that your leadership team could get involved with?
Hiring Mistake #3: Assuming “People Just Don’t Want to Work Anymore”
Complaining about younger generations is an age-old custom:
“We defy anyone who goes about with his eyes open to deny that there is, as never before, an attitude on the part of young folk which is best described as grossly thoughtless, rude, and utterly selfish.”
The Conduct of Young People, Hull Daily Mail, 1925
Even back in ancient Greece, Aristotle had this to say about youths:
“They think they know everything and are always quite sure about it.”
Rhetoric, Aristotle, 4th Century BC
While complaining about young people is the prerogative and privilege of their elders, those complaints are nothing new. It may seem that young people are pickier about their jobs these days. However, market conditions must be given some credit there. With nearly two open jobs for every person seeking employment, workers can be finicky about where and how they work.
Offering things like flexibility, better benefits, and vacation time (not guilt trips) are important. Modern people work to support their lives, families, passions, and hobbies. Allowing for the flexibility to do the things that bring joy and contentment to an employee’s life shows respect. Understanding that employees have priorities beyond their work that must sometimes take precedence is key to a loyal and healthy worker. And we know that healthy workers perform better than exhausted ones.
Hiring Mistake #4: It’s All About the Money
Money matters. While competitive salaries are critical to attracting talent, money, as they say, isn’t everything. Flexibility, competitive benefits packages, and opportunities for advancement and career development are critical to attracting high-quality candidates to your job posting. Retaining great employees in this economy requires the same types of benefits. In 2022, workers have options while employers are desperate to fill positions, and justifiably concerned about burnout for the staff members working to pick up the slack.
The chart below, from a Paychex blog post, illustrates the benefit increases that employers are offering since the Covid-19 pandemic changed the landscape. The numbers dramatically illustrate what employers are doing to attract and retain workers since the recent pandemic.
Expanding benefits packages are being used to attract labor across the country. Those who do not increase wages and/or benefits will quickly find they are not offering competitive compensation. Additionally, worker retention may suffer as staff members realize that a pay raise will not come from staying where they are, but from moving to a new employer.
A company that treats clients with deep respect, but treats workers like commodities will have serious trouble hiring new workers in this economy. Executives understand that their brand must cater to customers. More recently, they’ve realized that the brand is just as important to the employee. Company culture is more important than ever as workers seek employment that doesn’t feel like drudgery.
Young workers may be different than in your youth, but they are reacting to market conditions in understandable ways. They are motivated by money, but also by having a great place to work, and a brand they can get behind. Benefits packages are necessarily expanding to attract and retain the best employees. While increased salaries are important, they are not the only factor a job seeker considers, and deficiencies are offset by a good benefits package and a company culture that candidates find attractive.
If you’re about to list an open position, ask yourself these questions:
- How does your listing read to someone from outside your organization?
- Do you have an active and attractive social media presence?
- What does an online search reveal about your brand and company culture?
- When a prospective employee finds your brand somewhere: what impression does it give?
Perhaps, the most important question is this: Is your brand consistent across media?
If you want to work on your brand with branding professionals, we are here to help. Let’s Talk.