by Celeste Johnson, COO
Northern Nevada is now an employee market. Implications for employers include a multitude of things – one being the way they hire. Employers must step out of their box, implementing creative tactics and strategies to find (and retain) top talent.
Why is this? The Northern Nevada market is now at full employment. Essentially, there are more jobs than people. There are some creative strategies employers should consider when looking to grow and change in 2017.
When a key employee leaves your company, do you automatically replace the position? Every time someone leaves, for better or for worse, you have an opportunity to reset your goals and objectives as well as revisit your organizational structure. Maybe the position is something that can be outsourced, automated, shared between two current employees, or done remotely, leaving you freedom to allocate that budget elsewhere. This is a chance for you to get creative and ensure you are as efficient as possible with your staff. Don’t repeat the knee-jerking habit of hiring a replacement… at least not right away.
Do you hire directly from a job description? If so, it might be time to throw it in the trash. Stop and think about what you really want and need for a position and go recruit for that. On top of that, don’t be afraid to make your job postings truly reflect how great your company is and what the job will really be. Think, “why should they work for you?” You will have better luck finding the right candidates. In the end, “check the box” hiring does not work in this environment… people already have jobs.
So you don’t currently have any openings. Do you bury your head in the sand? No. You start building your bench. Keep recruiting on top of mind — over time you will find you have given yourself better options… and less stress. You lose options when you are always in the reactive mode. Additionally, if you find a rock star, there might be a way for them to help your business move forward, even if it’s not on the job postings list.
Do you truly know how to hire? Have you ever taken a class? Been trained? Do you know what types of questions to ask? Or, are you repeating the process based on how you were hired? Turnover is costly… at least 1.5 times the cost of the position. How many of your hires are successful? If you don’t have consistent success, seek advice and training. Everyone needs an education on hiring. Why is this? Because the result of doing a better job hiring, is a better workforce, which makes you more profitable, which then attracts better talent. It’s a cycle, and one you need to get right.
This is where the strategy, “look forward, and reason backward,” comes into play. How do you see a position a year down the road? Take 3-5 key pieces and decide what you are looking for. Does that mean you go to a career college or charter school? Maybe. Find the talent before they hit the workforce, you can train them. Maybe you recruit from a different geographical location. Maybe you recruit from hobby circles or the gym. Where would this person hang out? Anyone can go to job boards. Where else would the candidate be?
Coming from an HR professional, I say this with caution… not everyone has to be treated the same. What might be really important to one employee could vary dramatically to the next. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. If I know a key employee or potential wants to ski on Wednesdays because lift lines are shorter and I can accommodate, why wouldn’t I? If this skier is also considering my competition and I make this happen, guess who they happily come work for?
It's an employee market, and in an employee market, “he who hesitates is lost.” Great candidates are most likely being recruiting by your competitors. Ask yourself, can they be successful in this position? If the answer is yes, don’t wait.
So often I have spoken to candidates that have stated they know (they assume) that once they give their notice they will be asked to leave immediately or will be treated badly. Sometimes people don’t fit in a position or sometimes they have an opportunity that is better for them. Either way, your reaction to receiving notice is critical. Everyone else is still watching — caring about the person and their success above your own labor needs is the right thing to do. And, that employee might come back or become your best referral source.
Think about how much value you are placing on talent. How much time, effort, and money do you put toward recruiting? If recruiting is not a priority and not a budget line item, then you will probably continue to struggle to find talent in 2017. Re-think what you are doing and make some investments — your talent is an asset. In 2008, you may have gotten away with giving recruiting minimum attention… this is no longer the case. Plan to spend some money to attract talent and you will receive a ROI — turnover is more expensive than securing the right talent. Look at your workplace and consider how you can improve to attract these candidates. How is the environment, technology, design of the space, compensation, benefits, education benefits? Get creative, this could mean discounts for employees at places like FedEx or even free airline miles.
Bottom line, employers will need to get creative with the way they hire and in turn, how they think about their internal organizational structure. This is a competitive employee market — it’s time to get creative.