With unemployment levels falling to 4.5%, HR leaders are experiencing the most significant talent shortage since pre-9/11.
As workforce demographics change rapidly, particularly with the retirement of Baby Boomers from senior positions, it has become increasingly difficult to hire the right people to sustain long-term growth. A Glassdoor study based on nearly 350,000 interviews in six countries found that the average interview process went from 13 days to 23 days from 2009 to 2015.
While product innovation, customer experience, and brand recognition helped make companies like Apple and Google what they are today, it is was their decision to make recruiting a competitive advantage that has helped them stay at the top. In the book Leading Apple with Steve Jobs, author Jay Elliot included a quote from his former boss: “I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the crop. A small team of A players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”
A drain on the talent pipeline
Companies struggling to recruit and retain top performers should investigate these potential causes:
You’re reactively recruiting. Too often, business unit leaders only provide hiring requirements to their HR colleagues when an employee leaves or is fired or another need arises.
This reactive approach immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Instead of letting the market dictate your recruiting outcomes, take a proactive approach to sourcing talent by building a virtual bench. Virtual benches allow you to cultivate and nurture a pool of people who have the skills, experience, and DNA to get the job done and fit in with your culture.
Your employer brand has a bad reputation. Glassdoor has reported that 84% of employees would consider leaving their current jobs to join a company with an excellent reputation. To be known as an employer of choice among A-players in your field, it’s critical to offer a career, not just a job.
Great employees not only want a great paycheck, but also a clear path to achieving larger professional goals. Great candidates, particularly among the Millennial set, value a commitment to employee wellness and sustainability and initiatives that cater to gender and diversity equality. Having a strong culture, values, and clear company mission are critical to building a strong talent pipeline.
Your talent pool is not diverse enough. With changing technology, demographics, and globalization, HR leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to expand their talent pool. In addition to the usual tactics—such as posting opportunities on LinkedIn and emailing industry contacts—companies need to reach outside their own circles. Studies from MIT and McKinsey show a gender neutral and diverse workforce is correlated to increases in revenue.
You’re excluding remote candidates. Technology has made it possible for many jobs to be completed from anywhere in the world. By considering employees who can work remotely, you may find the most talented people outside of your geographical area.
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report showed that more American employees were working remotely and for longer periods. In fact, working remotely has its benefits. In a recent study, 77% of remote workers reported greater productivity, 24% were willing to work longer hours, and 30% accomplished more in less time.
Your company lacks brand presence on social media. To recruit passive candidates and gain mindshare among top performers, employers must leverage the reach of channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube. These mediums not only allow recruiters to send cold messages—which is fine, as long as they’re targeted and individually customized—but provide access to industry groups where top performers invest time learning and engaging with peers.
In addition, social media is a great place to promote your corporate culture, perks, market presence, and growth. Netflix did this well with a slideshow titled Netflix Culture: Freedom and Responsibility.
With a rapidly changing workforce, it’s critical to always be recruiting. If your talent pipeline is empty, try the solutions presented here to rebuild your pool of candidates.
Learn and practice your skills in essential areas of HR management—such as recruitment, performance management, coaching and leadership development, and compensation.