The talent market is changing

Prepare for the perfect storm

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers found talent is the No. 1 concern for 70 percent of CEOs.
  • Gallup says 51 percent of U.S. employees are actively looking for a new job or watching the job market.
  • According to Indeed, 49 percent of workers surveyed searched for a new job within their first year of employment.

If you’ve noticed that your recruiters are taking longer, delivering fewer qualified candidates and asking for more budget and resources…you are not alone. No doubt your whole organization is dealing with both recruiting and retention issues!

We are in a unique time. It’s a supply/demand issue. We aren’t used to it – for years, the unemployment rate was a high, hiring was low, and every job opening received lots of applicants and plenty of qualified candidates to choose from. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we are approaching a time when the number of new entrants to the workforce (age 18-64) will be the lowest on record since the boom of baby boomers. Add that to the “skills gap” (a mismatch of people with the skills we need and the skills people have) and we are heading for a perfect storm.

This perfect storm is going to create changes in your organization that may be frustrating. It may even make you angry. Change is hard. It might even be expensive…or at least require a reallocation of resources.

There are some organizations that are ready for the storm. They know their business success is integral to the success and happiness of both their employees and customers. They believe that the more satisfied and engaged their workforce is, the more successful they will be. At their core, they have created an attractive and engaging workplace. What is that? A workplace that:

  • Recognizes the individuality of each employee.
  • Rewards his or her contributions appropriately.
  • Is transparent about concerns, achievements and the future.
  • Celebrates success.
  • Is conscious about their culture and employment brand.
  • Acknowledges employees as the true assets.
  • Treats applicants and candidates as well as it treats its customers.

This doesn’t happen by default. It takes commitment and belief and investment. It is by design.

So what to do about the “perfect storm?”

Don’t take my word for it…start a conversation. Reach out to the people who are responsible for talent in your organization and ask them a few questions:

  • Have you found that the recruiting market has changed?
  • Are our job postings drawing the quantity and quality of candidate we need?
  • Are we experiencing higher voluntary turnover?
  • In a competitive job market, how are we differentiated from the companies we compete with for talent?

What should you do if you are not one of those few attractive and engaging workplaces?

When demand exceeds supply, the organizations with the best “opportunity” and best “process” win.

  • Look at your career site.
    • Is it candidate or employer focused?
    • Does it define the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) for talent you’re trying to attract?
    • Is it easy for job seekers to understand why they should bring their talent to your organization?
  • Look at your job postings.
    • Are you still using standard job descriptions (that might be 10 years old) and are full of expectations, knockouts and (too many) bullets?
    • Just because everyone is using job descriptions – it doesn’t make them “attractive” or effective.
    • Saying you offer “competitive benefits” and other buzzwords or euphemisms (like fun, great place to work or flexible) just doesn’t work for today’s top talent.
  • Have you updated your application process in the last two years?
    • Just as a test, pick a job your company has posted and click apply. Go through the process yourself, anonymously. Would you abandon it if you were applying and had lots of other choices?
    • If your application is “send resume,” do you know what happens if someone does send their resume? Test it and see.
    • Do you thank candidates for applying? Do you let them know when they are not in contention for the position?

Candidates today have choices – the “best opportunity” includes more than the job. The best opportunities encompass your company culture and values and highlight individual employees’ value and “fit.” It includes personal respect and courtesy; frequent, authentic communication; and transparency. It recognizes that both an employee’s work style and lifestyle are taken into consideration, along with business decisions. It recognizes talent and skills are in demand and each candidate is a “customer” for your opportunity. 

-Anne Grace Nimke is chief executive officer and co-founder of Milwaukee-based The Good Jobs Inc. (www.thegoodjobs.com), a turnkey employment branding solution that provides transparency by quantifying culture to help companies attract, hire and retain the right talent. The Good Jobs helps companies turn their company culture into a competitive recruiting advantage…especially valuable to companies who have a talent need, are proud of who they are as an employer, and want a new way to create awareness and differentiation.

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  • PricewaterhouseCoopers found talent is the No. 1 concern for 70 percent of CEOs.
  • Gallup says 51 percent of U.S. employees are actively looking for a new job or watching the job market.
  • According to Indeed, 49 percent of workers surveyed searched for a new job within their first year of employment.

If you’ve noticed that your recruiters are taking longer, delivering fewer qualified candidates and asking for more budget and resources…you are not alone. No doubt your whole organization is dealing with both recruiting and retention issues!

We are in a unique time. It’s a supply/demand issue. We aren’t used to it – for years, the unemployment rate was a high, hiring was low, and every job opening received lots of applicants and plenty of qualified candidates to choose from. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we are approaching a time when the number of new entrants to the workforce (age 18-64) will be the lowest on record since the boom of baby boomers. Add that to the “skills gap” (a mismatch of people with the skills we need and the skills people have) and we are heading for a perfect storm.

This perfect storm is going to create changes in your organization that may be frustrating. It may even make you angry. Change is hard. It might even be expensive…or at least require a reallocation of resources.

There are some organizations that are ready for the storm. They know their business success is integral to the success and happiness of both their employees and customers. They believe that the more satisfied and engaged their workforce is, the more successful they will be. At their core, they have created an attractive and engaging workplace. What is that? A workplace that:

  • Recognizes the individuality of each employee.
  • Rewards his or her contributions appropriately.
  • Is transparent about concerns, achievements and the future.
  • Celebrates success.
  • Is conscious about their culture and employment brand.
  • Acknowledges employees as the true assets.
  • Treats applicants and candidates as well as it treats its customers.

This doesn’t happen by default. It takes commitment and belief and investment. It is by design.

So what to do about the “perfect storm?”

Don’t take my word for it…start a conversation. Reach out to the people who are responsible for talent in your organization and ask them a few questions:

  • Have you found that the recruiting market has changed?
  • Are our job postings drawing the quantity and quality of candidate we need?
  • Are we experiencing higher voluntary turnover?
  • In a competitive job market, how are we differentiated from the companies we compete with for talent?

What should you do if you are not one of those few attractive and engaging workplaces?

When demand exceeds supply, the organizations with the best “opportunity” and best “process” win.

  • Look at your career site.
    • Is it candidate or employer focused?
    • Does it define the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) for talent you’re trying to attract?
    • Is it easy for job seekers to understand why they should bring their talent to your organization?
  • Look at your job postings.
    • Are you still using standard job descriptions (that might be 10 years old) and are full of expectations, knockouts and (too many) bullets?
    • Just because everyone is using job descriptions – it doesn’t make them “attractive” or effective.
    • Saying you offer “competitive benefits” and other buzzwords or euphemisms (like fun, great place to work or flexible) just doesn’t work for today’s top talent.
  • Have you updated your application process in the last two years?
    • Just as a test, pick a job your company has posted and click apply. Go through the process yourself, anonymously. Would you abandon it if you were applying and had lots of other choices?
    • If your application is “send resume,” do you know what happens if someone does send their resume? Test it and see.
    • Do you thank candidates for applying? Do you let them know when they are not in contention for the position?

Candidates today have choices – the “best opportunity” includes more than the job. The best opportunities encompass your company culture and values and highlight individual employees’ value and “fit.” It includes personal respect and courtesy; frequent, authentic communication; and transparency. It recognizes that both an employee’s work style and lifestyle are taken into consideration, along with business decisions. It recognizes talent and skills are in demand and each candidate is a “customer” for your opportunity. 

-Anne Grace Nimke is chief executive officer and co-founder of Milwaukee-based The Good Jobs Inc. (www.thegoodjobs.com), a turnkey employment branding solution that provides transparency by quantifying culture to help companies attract, hire and retain the right talent. The Good Jobs helps companies turn their company culture into a competitive recruiting advantage…especially valuable to companies who have a talent need, are proud of who they are as an employer, and want a new way to create awareness and differentiation.

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