As the economic effects of the pandemic wear on, organizations are still struggling to staff key roles.
Researchers have noted a fundamental shift in what workers want from their jobs, with greater emphasis on flexibility, wages, benefits and security.
So strong is the hiring shortfall that it has been named the ‘Great Resignation’ by psychologist Anthony Klotz. The predictable result of the growing reluctance to work –– especially in less desirable jobs –– leads employers to lower standards and hire ‘warm bodies’ who can fill the opening, but are unlikely to thrive.
While the warm body approach can seem useful in an emergency, it often creates a hamster wheel of hiring, attrition, and hiring that never ends due to lower quality candidate yield.
Whether the pandemic eventually ends or not, smart companies can break the cycle with a more strategic approach to hiring.
But where to begin? First, let’s take a look at the challenges hiring organizations are experiencing at this point in the pandemic, according to McKinsey & Co:
- More than 15 million workers have quit their jobs since April 2021
- 40% of employees are at least somewhat likely to leave their jobs in the next three to six months
- Most employers expect voluntary turnover to remain the same or increase
- An abundance of remote work options further heightens the likelihood that star employees will leave for other organizations
In short, the workforce is in a period of historic turmoil, and organizations everywhere are struggling to maintain staffing levels. Rather than just hiring every warm body that hits the ‘apply’ button, smart companies are taking the time to reset their approaches and optimize them for this new hiring era.
For organizations looking to do the same, some key considerations include:
1. Can the job and organization be made more enticing to candidates?
Does it provide a competitive wage? Is there a robust career track?
According to data from the US Chamber of Commerce, implementing employer-led solutions to improve training, expanding access to childcare and ending supplemental unemployment benefits are a few concrete steps to alleviate the Great Resignation and make jobs –– and the organization –– more appealing to candidates.
2. Is the job and your hiring process engaging and interactional?
Do managers and leaders try to create a sense of purpose and value for employees?
If not, employees will be more likely to leave.
Organizations tend to think that people leave because of compensation and work-life balance, but employees ascribe even greater import to feeling valued by their organizations and managers, and feeling a sense of belonging at work.
In the chaos of our pandemic economy, with increasingly remote workforces and fire after fire to put out, employees often feel disconnected from their coworkers and organizations.
A recent Microsoft report found that remote work made it harder for their workers to collaborate, communicate and share information.
While productivity is often excellent in remote situations, casual conversations and group cohesiveness can certainly suffer.
3. Are you leveraging smart virtual hiring tools to make scientific decisions about who to hire?
Modern hiring techniques can provide both a great, engaging, and informative candidate experience –– as well as highly predictive scores that help you to hire and retain better fit candidates.
Recruiters can then spend their time filling their pipelines with talented candidates, rather than conducting endless interviews and resume screens.
The focus should be on building desirable jobs, advertising those jobs, and using your hiring technology to create an engaging, two-way information exchange, rather than trying to study your candidates under a microscope.
One myth that our research has dispelled is that candidates will drop out of longer assessment processes. In fact, when candidates do drop out, it tends to be at the beginning of the assessment, regardless of the length.
Although our research is based on data from our own Virtual Job Tryout, a type of job simulation specifically designed to be engaging, the reality is that candidates drop out of processes that are long, frustrating, and offer them no value –– but they tend to stick with processes that are engaging and informative.
The cost of turnover is high. Not only is there time spent recruiting and hiring, but also onboarding and training all new employees.
Take a step back from your current hiring process and examine it with fresh eyes, asking yourself: Is the job compelling? If it’s not, what can be done to fix it? Then, build a hiring process that is respectful of your candidates and helps them understand the job.
While this process might be harder in the short term than simply hiring the next warm body, this is the path to long-term success that will make your company an employer where people want to work.