When is a Labor Shortage Really a Career Shift?
Companies implement hiring freezes, layoffs, and furloughs to weather recessions. When companies begin to build back after a recession, employers might expect to quickly fill their open positions. Yet, employers have frequently had difficulty, leading to complaints of labor shortages and claims that people would rather collect unemployment than work.
However, it could be that employers are having difficulty attracting qualified candidates because they aren’t making attractive offers or reassessing fundamental changes in the labor market. Many workers are simply seeking a career shift after such disruptions.
Recessions cause people to evaluate their personal and professional lives, especially if they experienced job loss, leading many to determine that they want to change career paths. While some want to switch careers altogether, others may want a different company culture and better compensation. Here are ways you can shift to attract top talent to your business after a recession.
Reach a Larger Pool of Candidates
Start by evaluating your current hiring process and considering ways you can reach more candidates. One easy and effective strategy is to post your job descriptions on more high-traffic job boards, industry-specific job boards, and college and university job boards. Keep in mind that you may need to cast a wider net than you have in the past.
Double down on your efforts by attending a wider range of recruiting events, posting your job descriptions on your social media channels, and asking your connections if they know of qualified candidates you should consider. Incentivize your employees to share the job postings with their networks by offering an employee referral bonus.
As you’re overhauling your hiring process, there are actionable steps you can take to attract a diverse workforce. For example, it is valuable to write inclusive job descriptions, use blind applications, standardize your interview process, and have diverse interview panels. In addition to financially outperforming the competition, diverse workplaces are more likely to attract candidates and retain employees.
Attract People Making a Career Shift
If you have expanded your reach and haven’t seen an increase in applications, you may need to revise your job requirements so that more people apply. Reconsider the requirements that may be preventing people who intend to make a career shift from applying.
For example, someone who wants to switch from law to marketing might not have a marketing degree or five years of marketing experience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful in the role. They might have transferrable skills from other work experiences and other college majors or certification courses. A candidate with a growth mindset, a strong work ethic, and the necessary soft skills could quickly outperform someone with years of experience.
Improve Your Compensation Package
You may be having trouble recruiting employees because you are paying below the market rate, but sometimes you have to dig deeper into your finances when good candidates are difficult to find. A salary tool can help to determine the market rate for your specific location.
If you can’t afford to pay at the top of the range, which is often the case for small businesses and startups, think of ways you can improve your benefits package. For example, some companies pay the entire health insurance premium for employees and their dependents and offer 401(k) matching.
You may want to offer additional financial perks like student loan assistance, paid parental leave, family stipends, performance bonuses, equity compensation, sabbaticals, and a liberal paid time off policy.
Establish Flexible Work Arrangements
As people evaluate their personal and professional lives during a recession and contemplate a career shift, many determine that they want a better work-life balance. You can make your company more attractive to candidates by implementing flexible work policies, which will also help you increase employee morale and recruit and retain working parents.
There are policies you can enact to offer a more flexible work schedule, which can make it easier to attract top candidates without additional expenditures. These include:
- Flextime lets employees set work schedules that work for themselves and their families instead of working the typical nine-to-five schedule.
- A compressed workweek allows employees to work more than 8 hours a day a few days a week to hit 40 hours in fewer than 5 days.
- Job-sharing is when two employees work part time on different days to complete the responsibilities of one position.
- Shift work refers to any job shifts that fall outside of the more-common 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. time frame.
- Telecommuting or remote work is an arrangement by which employees work from home or some other suitable, non-office location, such as a coffee shop.
Another option is to create a hybrid workplace that incorporates elements of telecommuting. flextime or other such arrangements and may provide additional flexibility. Depending on your hybrid workplace policy, you could require employees to come to the office a certain number of days a week or give them the option to come in when they want or when their manager requests it.
Create a Strong Professional Development Program
A strong professional development program not only will help you attract top talent, but it will also improve employee engagement, performance, and retention so you have a happier and more successful team. These types of programs focus on continuous training and education, which can help you hire people making a career shift because you have the resources to help them learn the skills they need for the role.
As you’re building out your professional development program you may want to consider creating orientation, upskilling, leadership development, and mentorship programs. You could also offer professional development stipends that can be used for classes, certification programs, and conferences.
It’s beneficial to create professional development plans for all employees so they know the goals and objectives they need to meet and the skills they need to gain to get a promotion. (Make sure there is a clear career advancement trajectory for each role.) Promote a feedback-rich culture by asking managers to have weekly or biweekly one-on-one meetings with direct reports and quarterly performance reviews.
Continue to Improve Your Hiring Strategy
These best practices will help you adjust your hiring process, benefits, and company culture to appeal to candidates who want to make a career shift following a recession. While your competitors may be complaining about a “labor shortage,” you’ll be poised to recruit top talent so that you gain a competitive edge. Continue to make your hiring process more efficient and effective by signing up to receive hiring advice, news, and trends from Monster.