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Understanding Recruitment in 2021


Where have all the good ones gone?

Sabastian Wee
Cian Duffy
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Recruitment. It’s a subject with a lot to unpack.

Virtually every business in this country is in need of employees and most of them are having trouble filling their roster. To understand how one can recruit employees—good employees as many will underline, we’ll have to take a look at what’s going on in the overall employment landscape.

In March, U.S. job openings rose 8% to a record 8.1 million, but overall hiring rose less than 4%–meaning there are thousands of jobs that just aren’t being filled, despite the waning of the pandemic.
Every other day, there are articles upon articles trying to investigate the so-called “Great American Worker Shortage.” The New York Times can’t wrap their head around it. CNN thinks employers should just pay more. The US Chamber of Commerce says we need legislation to lower barriers to work entry, jobs training and education, updated immigration visa policies and access to child care.

What’s worrying is that economists believe this is just the beginning.

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University made headlines last month with his prediction of the “The Great Resignation.” He says, “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.” Then when you add all the epiphanies 2020 gave us—about being closer to family or starting a family, commuting versus remote work, life and death and everything in between—you start to see why a great exodus may be on the horizon. Even The Washington Post is calling it “The Great Reassessment of Work.”

So we're going out on a limb here, but we’re pretty sure this crisis isn't because people are loving the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement so much that they don’t want to go back to work.

To really understand why current employees are resigning and would-be employees are not applying, the answer is somewhere between the lines.

For one, remote jobs are more available than ever. “According to a new LinkedIn research, as of May 20 the percentage of paid job postings on LinkedIn that offered “remote work” has skyrocketed 457% from the year-earlier.” According to a study by Upwork, by 2025, hiring managers expect 22% of teams in the United States will likely work remotely, more than double the figure in 2020.

Secondly, people are on the move. Up until the pandemic, domestic migration was at the lowest point in 73 years. Millennials found themselves stuck in place, as they became the first generation who were unable to move due to housing affordability and job crises (borne from The Great Recession). Their lack of movement trickled down to Gen Z, but all that changed during the pandemic.

And thirdly, people are tired. Reports of burnouts and languishment, along with a sharp rise in depression and anxiety, show a troubled population. 2020 did a number on people and many are discovering they need a change.

And that’s what employers need to realize. People, particularly the “good ones,” are realizing they have options.

The question is no longer just “Why should we hire you?” but now also includes “Why should I work for you?” Recruitment is now a two-way street and employers will have to take a closer look inward as they find themselves competing for employees.

The good news for employers who offer remote opportunities is this eliminates geographic boundaries in hiring. But for businesses that need in-person workers, this will require more effort to be appealing.

Just as your brand is critical to obtaining new customers, your brand is what's going to attract potential employees. Potential hires need to understand your "Why"—Why do your current employees love working for you? (That's assuming they do—it’s probably a good idea to find out if they actually do and what you can do to improve their work experiences)

So how do you, as an employer, compete for new hires? Indeed said it best in their post, 10 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring Great Employees, “Treat candidates like customers.” Because the reality is, getting new hires is just one part of the challenge. The other is retention, which is increasingly more difficult these days. Even the most job-hungry candidates have expectations for a new job. People want to know if they’re in this for the long haul.

Yes, competitive wages and benefits are critical—but the working environment and company culture are huge. Culture isn’t just the fun games and beverages at one’s disposal—it’s emotional intelligence, engagement and purpose. There’s a reason finding the “good ones” and keeping them is becoming more and more challenging.

Employees want to work for a company they can be proud to be a part of. They like knowing they are valued by their colleagues and leadership and that they can be themselves at work, which is why prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is so important today. Understand how DEI fits into your "Why" because inclusion isn't about being PC—it's key to growth, both for companies and their employees. Oh, and by the way, it’s also a major key to profitability.

Professional growth is one of the most important selling points for job seekers, especially for young candidates. It doesn’t necessarily mean promotions and raises. Growth is as simple as allowing your employees the space to do the kind of work they’re interested in, along with the work that needs doing, as well as try new things, be allowed to fail and give suggestions. Allowing your employees the opportunity to get creative and hands-on in the workplace leads to invested, passionate employees.

So how do you know if what you’re doing is working? If your employees like where they work, they talk about it a lot. They work harder. They bring profitable growth. They make for great reviews, social media content, customer engagement, the list goes on.

Provide your employees with a rewarding workplace and the possibilities are endless.

Like most things, it all begins with your brand–your "Why." The sooner you get that in order, the sooner you'll be saying, "Welcome to your first day with us."