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High Unemployment is Not an Excuse to Avoid Hiring Process Improvement

I’ve seen a lot of change in HR technology over the past decade as well as many employer pitfalls when it comes to leveraging technology to improve the quality of hire and increase the number of job applicants.

Those employer pitfalls have really stuck out like a sore thumb this year, as the global pandemic has had a profound impact on employer recruitment and retention success. Creating a great hiring experience has never been more important to workforce productivity.

The excuses your organization may have made in the past about why you haven’t taken the time to improve your recruiting process must be remedied if you hope to compete for top talent in a post-pandemic world.

This is the first video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

High Unemployment | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Pre-Pandemic Employment – THEN

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and to say that it has been a volatile employment year is a major understatement. Whether your employer has laid off people, or is in a hiring binge, it’s clear the pandemic has shed light on the more troubling excuses we hear employers make about their hiring process.

Before the pandemic began, companies were navigating a candidate-driven market. The job seekers called the shots…and companies couldn’t find enough candidates…fast enough.

At the end of February, nearly 158.8 million US civilians were employed–that was a 10-year high. And, the unemployment rate was at a historic low of 3.5% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The employment landscape favored job seekers, and while we were in a much better economic position, employers had to rethink their hiring processes to attract and quickly hire top talent. That meant candidates received multiple job offers, employers boosted their total compensation packages and some jobs went unfilled for long periods of time.

Some of those were evergreen jobs…those are the jobs that some industries always have open 24/7, year round. Examples of evergreen jobs might include servers at restaurants, cashiers at retail stores, tellers at banks, direct support professionals with nonprofits…you get the idea. The positions for which multi-location employers, especially, are always hiring.

Pandemic Impact – NOW

Fast forward to now. We’ve made economic improvements and US unemployment has improved to 6.9%…though it’s still almost double what it was in February (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Some jobs are still on hold, and others are at peak demand in an unprecedented way. Like manufacturers of safety equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, e-commerce sites, online meal delivery services and software companies.

And like I said earlier, the excuses employers are making…are more exposed. So, what’s that first one?

A Higher Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Mean Hiring Employees is Easier

Unemployment is still pretty high now, and it’s an employer’s market so I’m not worried about applicant volume.

Not so fast…even though you’ve likely seen an increase in job listing views, application starts and even submissions since the pandemic began, know that some people are still opting out of traditional working arrangements for many reasons.

These reasons may range from a new need to work remotely in order to care for others…to a lack of motivation to work because pandemic-related unemployment resources have exceeded their normal pay rate.

And for people who are underemployed and constricted to a specific schedule of availability due to a short-term part-time job, they aren’t giving your job a second glance if you’re not conveying that your organization is still working hard–even in an employer’s market–to attract and retain good hires.

The Pandemic is Still Impacting Your Job Candidate Pool

According to a Washington Post article referencing Bureau of Labor Statistics data in May of this year, “if you took the official unemployment figure, added in people who wanted a job but were not looking for one, and then included everyone who had been pushed into part-time work, you could say that 26.4 percent of people lost work or work hours in April.

But hey, things are better now than in April, right? Yesss…but let’s recognize that this year more than 1 in 4 workers were hit by the coronavirus fallout.

Navigating that experience had a significant impact on job seekers and that impact has lasting effects…effects that you must consider as an employer.

Strategy: Communicate Your Employment Opportunity Differently

Since there are no guarantees that you’ll convert applicants…even in this job market…you must communicate differently.

And I don’t mean just trying different media to communicate (although that is important), I also mean highlighting your solutions to the pain points that today’s job seekers want to alleviate.

If they’re reluctant to return to work for social distancing reasons and your job can be done remotely, prominently display that in your job description…and even your job title.

If you’re open to flexible working arrangements such as temporary work or variable working hours, mention that, too.

Dedicate a portion of your careers site to spotlight your response to the headlines of this year such as the global pandemic and the fight for social justice and racial equality. Weave your employment brand and core values into every piece of career content with consistency, variety of delivery method and sincerity.

And just like you’re not willing to settle for a warm body in a job seat, while applicants may need jobs…they’re not willing to settle at organizations that don’t have brands or values that align with their own.

Has your organization been doing enough to navigate this volatile employment landscape?

Interested in learning more? Watch this webinar on demand!

Pandemic Hiring Recruiting Webinar | ExactHire

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

High Unemployment is Not an Excuse to Avoid Hiring Process Improvement

I’ve seen a lot of change in HR technology over the past decade as well as many employer pitfalls when it comes to leveraging technology to improve the quality of hire and increase the number of job applicants.

Those employer pitfalls have really stuck out like a sore thumb this year, as the global pandemic has had a profound impact on employer recruitment and retention success. Creating a great hiring experience has never been more important to workforce productivity.

The excuses your organization may have made in the past about why you haven’t taken the time to improve your recruiting process must be remedied if you hope to compete for top talent in a post-pandemic world.

This is the first video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

High Unemployment | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Pre-Pandemic Employment – THEN

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and to say that it has been a volatile employment year is a major understatement. Whether your employer has laid off people, or is in a hiring binge, it’s clear the pandemic has shed light on the more troubling excuses we hear employers make about their hiring process.

Before the pandemic began, companies were navigating a candidate-driven market. The job seekers called the shots…and companies couldn’t find enough candidates…fast enough.

At the end of February, nearly 158.8 million US civilians were employed–that was a 10-year high. And, the unemployment rate was at a historic low of 3.5% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The employment landscape favored job seekers, and while we were in a much better economic position, employers had to rethink their hiring processes to attract and quickly hire top talent. That meant candidates received multiple job offers, employers boosted their total compensation packages and some jobs went unfilled for long periods of time.

Some of those were evergreen jobs…those are the jobs that some industries always have open 24/7, year round. Examples of evergreen jobs might include servers at restaurants, cashiers at retail stores, tellers at banks, direct support professionals with nonprofits…you get the idea. The positions for which multi-location employers, especially, are always hiring.

Pandemic Impact – NOW

Fast forward to now. We’ve made economic improvements and US unemployment has improved to 6.9%…though it’s still almost double what it was in February (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Some jobs are still on hold, and others are at peak demand in an unprecedented way. Like manufacturers of safety equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, e-commerce sites, online meal delivery services and software companies.

And like I said earlier, the excuses employers are making…are more exposed. So, what’s that first one?

A Higher Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Mean Hiring Employees is Easier

Unemployment is still pretty high now, and it’s an employer’s market so I’m not worried about applicant volume.

Not so fast…even though you’ve likely seen an increase in job listing views, application starts and even submissions since the pandemic began, know that some people are still opting out of traditional working arrangements for many reasons.

These reasons may range from a new need to work remotely in order to care for others…to a lack of motivation to work because pandemic-related unemployment resources have exceeded their normal pay rate.

And for people who are underemployed and constricted to a specific schedule of availability due to a short-term part-time job, they aren’t giving your job a second glance if you’re not conveying that your organization is still working hard–even in an employer’s market–to attract and retain good hires.

The Pandemic is Still Impacting Your Job Candidate Pool

According to a Washington Post article referencing Bureau of Labor Statistics data in May of this year, “if you took the official unemployment figure, added in people who wanted a job but were not looking for one, and then included everyone who had been pushed into part-time work, you could say that 26.4 percent of people lost work or work hours in April.

But hey, things are better now than in April, right? Yesss…but let’s recognize that this year more than 1 in 4 workers were hit by the coronavirus fallout.

Navigating that experience had a significant impact on job seekers and that impact has lasting effects…effects that you must consider as an employer.

Strategy: Communicate Your Employment Opportunity Differently

Since there are no guarantees that you’ll convert applicants…even in this job market…you must communicate differently.

And I don’t mean just trying different media to communicate (although that is important), I also mean highlighting your solutions to the pain points that today’s job seekers want to alleviate.

If they’re reluctant to return to work for social distancing reasons and your job can be done remotely, prominently display that in your job description…and even your job title.

If you’re open to flexible working arrangements such as temporary work or variable working hours, mention that, too.

Dedicate a portion of your careers site to spotlight your response to the headlines of this year such as the global pandemic and the fight for social justice and racial equality. Weave your employment brand and core values into every piece of career content with consistency, variety of delivery method and sincerity.

And just like you’re not willing to settle for a warm body in a job seat, while applicants may need jobs…they’re not willing to settle at organizations that don’t have brands or values that align with their own.

Has your organization been doing enough to navigate this volatile employment landscape?

Interested in learning more? Watch this webinar on demand!

Pandemic Hiring Recruiting Webinar | ExactHire

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

Embrace Change in Business and Life

The seasons can seem like they change in the blink of an eye, and if you live in Indiana they might change twice within that blink. Our elected officials change, people change, and technology changes. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that…everything changes.

Some of the most dangerous words are “… but we’ve always done it that way.” This statement resists change. If our ancestors had lived by this statement, zero innovation would have occurred. We’d still be riding horses to get around, not to mention *gasp* no smartphones!

In business, resistance to change is not only dangerous, it’s expensive! If your company resists change or “plays it safe,”  there will always be a competitor out there who is willing to take more risks–and more of your business. In the end, not adapting to the new norm just because you’ve always done it a certain way, could lead your company to extinction.

Change Is Hard

Change can be hard in the early stages. But in the long run, necessary change is worth it. I’ve experienced this firsthand at ExactHire.

As a company, we know that we must continue to innovate and improve. If we don’t, our products will become antiquated and sales stagnate. However, we also understand that change for the sake of change can be dangerous too. So we make calculated changes that carry less risk for our clients but that also set the stage for future improvements of critical importance.

All of this is to say that, as our knowledge of what is possible changes, our world and its possibilities can grow. By being open to change, we can learn to live and work more efficiently, improve our results, and attain the goals we set for ourselves.

Keep this in mind when your colleagues at work, your vendors, or others you do business with say, “We’ve made an improvement that will bring some changes for you.”

Be excited. Think forward. Embrace the changes that will bring you new possibilities. Or don’t, and ride off into the sunset…without your smartphone *gasp*.

 

ExactHire provides hiring software that helps HR professionals lead improvement at their organizations. To learn how our software solutions can help your company adapt to change, contact us today.

Photo Credit: Damian Zech

Grow Employer Brand Loyalty, Engage Employees in Continual Improvement

Taking concepts of brand management and applying them to employee management is an effective strategy for attracting, hiring, and retaining talent. Previously, we’ve covered the concept of “employer brand” and how it relates to “consumer brand”. Today, we’ll look at the concept of “employer brand loyalty” and how an organization can strengthen it by implementing a continual improvement plan that engages employees.

Consumer Brand Loyalty Vs. Employer Brand Loyalty

Simply put, “consumer brand loyalty” is the phenomena wherein consumers choose to exclusively purchase a product or service from one business, or brand , over a long period of time. Sometimes this is because the quality of the product or service is perceived to be better, sometimes it’s because the brand provides an intangible benefit, such as prestige, fashion, righteousness, or a sense of belonging. The bottom line is that the consumer’s purchasing decision is based on factors that are not limited to price ($$$).

Similarly, “employer brand loyalty” describes an employee’s choice to exclusively contract with an employer over a long period of time for reasons beyond salary ($$$). Employee perceptions of the employer also play a significant role in the development of employer brand loyalty. In fact, many of the intangible benefits that convince a consumer to remain loyal to a brand, can be the same reasons why an employee remains loyal to an employer brand–prestige, fashion, righteousness, a sense of belonging.

…the big difference between consumer and employer brand loyalty??

Consumer brand loyalty is based on how the brand treats the consumer. Employees are, themselves, the employer brand, so their loyalty is based on how they treat one another. This means that in addition to gathering feedback from consumers on products or services, businesses must provide opportunities for employees to provide feedback on their experience. The continual improvement process is a perfect chance to do both.

Continual Improvement

Continual improvement is a concept that is understood by most of today’s successful businesses. These businesses know that operating at optimal levels on Day 1 is nearly impossible, and so smart owners plan for continual improvements that will ensure sustained growth and profitability. In improving a consumer brand, this can be illustrated by adding features to a product in order to address customer complaints. For an employer brand, an example could be investing in new technologies to automate tedious tasks and increase process efficiency.

Making informed changes to existing processes in order to increase efficiency in operations is at the heart of continual improvement. But, often times, decision-makers are blind to process inefficiencies that plague daily operations because they are not close enough to the processes. And although process inefficiency may seem of little importance in regard to consumers, it will take a toll on employees. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the low morale of employees begins to impact customers and the consumer brand.

Therefore, it is vital to understand that the strength of employer brand loyalty and consumer brand loyalty are connected; in order to achieve high levels of both, a business must engage customers, as well as employees, in the improvement process. Again, no one expects all operations to hum in the early days of a business. Mistakes are made, unexpected challenges occur, and resources are often limited; however, if lessons are not learned and shared, then those mistakes and setbacks can begin to define an organization and its employer brand–“The people are nice, the product is good, but the place is dysfunctional.”

Gaining The Employee Perspective and Buy-in

It is important to have a plan in place that provides employees with a formal channel through which they can suggest improvements. This can be as simple as a drop box (real or virtual), or it can be a standing topic at department meetings. Regardless of the chosen channel, it must be easy to submit and receive suggestions, and each suggestion should receive a genuine response.

Engaging employees in the improvement of processes is just one way to strengthen employer brand loyalty. Employees can also contribute ideas for improvements to other areas of your business such as workspace, marketing collateral, customer support, communications, and even janitorial service. This is not to say that every decision for improvement must go through the entire organization, but empowered employees who are given a voice, and whose voice is listened to, will be your brand’s most loyal advocates.

5 Steps to Improve Employment Brand Loyalty

  1. Develop a continual improvement plan that engages your employees
  2. Provide a quick and easy way for employees to suggest improvements at anytime and to provide feedback on specific issues
  3. Respond to all suggestions and feedback for improvement with next-steps and a time frame for completion
  4. Upon implementing improvements, recognize the source of the idea and its benefit
  5. Maintain a running log of improvements that can be celebrated at year-end

ExactHire provides hiring technology for small to medium-sized organizations. Our SaaS solutions include HireCentric ATS and OnboardCentric which can streamline your hiring and onboarding processes, while providing an exceptional experience for new employees. To learn more about how you can enhance your hiring process through the use of our software, contact us today!