It’s official, we’re in the middle of a labor shortage. Workers have more power than they’ve had in a long while, which means employers have much less power than they’re used to having. And that means the old way of doing things no longer works.
So how can you continue to hire during the labor shortage? Here are six tips to help you refresh your hiring strategy.
Stop prioritizing your own needs above those of your workers.
Not only is this perhaps the most crucial piece of advice we can give for surviving the labor shortage, but we also think it gets to the root of how we got here in the first place.
Employers have been terrible about understanding the needs of their employees. In the past, this could lead to defeated grumbling by the water cooler, but in a workers’ market, it means those disgruntled employees are free to leave and explore greener pastures. If this has been the case for your organization, you need to ask yourself, “How green are our pastures anyway?”
Not only are your employees critical to the success of your organization, but they’re also human beings with needs and desires of their own. It sounds ridiculous to actually have to spell this out, but trust us when we say that a lot of companies genuinely need to hear this.
In a workers’ market, you can’t expect to thrive – perhaps even survive – if you don’t take the needs of your employees into consideration.
So what are employees looking for these days? We created a general guide to a few of the things that job seekers are looking for in 2021, which is a great place to get started if you care to learn more. However, keep in mind that needs are going to vary by industry and by individual. You’re going to have to stop and listen to what your workers have been trying to tell you for decades.
Offer better wages.
Your workers are underpaid. They’ve always been underpaid. The only difference now is that they know it, and they’re less willing to tolerate it. When your potential employees have bargaining power, it means you’re going to have to reach deeper into your pocketbook and provide better pay.
The good news is that there are benefits to paying better wages. For one, you can outbid your competitors. Think of it as an investment. If a potential employee is valuable to you, then they’re valuable to your competitors as well. You don’t want to lose out on incredible talent to your competitors simply because they offered an extra dollar an hour. That’s peanuts in the grand scheme of things.
Additionally, the amount of money that a poor hire will cost you in the long run is probably going to end up being more than the wage difference anyway.
Just spend the extra scratch to find and retain top talent. It might cost a little more upfront, but it could potentially lead to vast returns in the future.
Offer flexible opportunities.
We get it. You’re used to doing things a certain way, and having to change your approach feels like it could add a lot of extra work in the short term. This might be true, but don’t let short-term thinking steal your focus away from your long-term success.
The world is changing, and the workplace is trying to keep up. Remote work is becoming normalized to the point where a lot of people would rather leave their jobs than go back to working in an office. That’s not true for everyone, of course, but it tends to be truer of younger generations. And let’s be real; the younger generations are where you’ll find your long-term employees.
But remote work isn’t the only way to be flexible. Some people work better in the evenings, while others work better in the morning. Some people like to work weekends so they can run their errands during the week when the roads are less busy.
To offer truly flexible work hours is going to be a huge adjustment, but the current economy is forcing your hand. You need to be more flexible than you were in the past.
Tap into the freelance/temp market.
If you’re struggling to fill a long-term position, you might want to consider temp work or even freelance work.
There are some great benefits to filling in open positions with temps and freelancers. Perhaps the biggest one is that you can hire someone who’s good at one very specific skill and you don’t have to worry about finding things for them to do for the other 30 or so hours a week. They can get in, get the job done, and get out of there.
Obviously, your full-time employees are valuable, and you can’t simply replace them with more flexible workers. However, if you take a “fill in the gaps” approach to hiring freelancers, you can get some very specific skills that would be hard to find in a full-time employee. Take advantage of that and strategize around it.
As for temp workers, you can create contract-to-hire opportunities. If a temporary employee isn’t the right fit, then you can let them go at the end of their contract. If they end up being a brilliant match for your company culture, you can ask them about becoming a full-timer.
And if you’re serious about temp work…
Use a staffing agency.
Hiring can easily become its own full-time job, which is why staffing agencies exist. Instead of spending your own time trying to find the right employee, you can talk to a company that specializes in finding the right employees for you.
Staffing agencies constantly making and managing connections, meaning they have broad talent pools to tap into. On top of that, many also offer HR services and other things to help you reduce the stress of hiring.
If you’ve never tried staffing via an agency before, we recommend that you give it a try. You could even reach out to Staffing Proxy!
Work on becoming an employer of choice.
What if instead of reaching out to potential employees, those people were reaching out to you? This is the way things work for an employer of choice. An employer of choice is the type of workplace that’s regarded so highly that people think of them as their top choice for employment.
A company might earn this status by being the best in the industry, an innovative leader that everyone else is following. Or perhaps this is a company whose benefits are so good that they get national attention.
If you’re serious about becoming an employer of choice (and you should be), there are plenty of resources that will help you plan your own pathway. In fact, we created a list of key values of an employer of choice, which should give you a great place to begin.
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that you’ll earn this highly competitive status overnight. But if you work hard enough at it, it’s not unrealistic to believe you can make it happen in the future.
It’s important to not be discouraged by the current labor shortage. Yes, this is going to force you to change a lot of things, but those changes have been a long time coming. You can either embrace change and let it drive your success, or you can resist it and be swept up by the tides of irrelevance. The choice is very much up to you.