Recruiting and retaining employees a top priority for businesses in 2020

CULTURE | Jan 30, 2020

Employers are hustling to overcome increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining employees. Talent acquisition is cited as the top worry of business leaders, regardless of the size and location of their organizations, according to the 2020 annual survey by The Conference Board.

Increasing starting salaries, using artificial intelligence (AI) and bringing in more outside consultants to boost recruiting are just some of the strategies companies are using as they address what they consider their top internal business challenge of 2020. Strong employee communication has always been a key in retaining talent, but employers now are getting more aggressive and creative in communicating with prospects when recruiting.

The primary factor driving the talent squeeze is the tight labor market, which is making the recruiting process longer and more expensive. The U.S. unemployment rate is likely to average 3.5% in 2020, the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. More than a third of workers are actively or casually searching for a job. At the same time, a study by Kronos Inc. and The Human Capital Institute found more than a third of executives say it’s taking them longer to fill openings, and 73% say they have increased starting salaries to help lure applicants,.

“As the world evolves, so too must the ways that organizations attract, recruit and retain top talent.” – Jenna Filipkowski, head of research, The Human Capital Institute

Here are six strategies companies are using for recruiting and retaining talent:

  1. Strengthen company culture and employer branding. As experts at Glassdoor contend, strong branding and culture are no longer simply nice for employers to have –they’re now imperative. Current and prospective employees expect transparency, accountability and leaders who walk the walk – not just talk the talk. In fact, a 2019 Glassdoor survey found that 77% of workers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and 56% say a quality culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
  2. Enhance employee engagement – and make new hires part of the focus. Studies have long shown that stronger engagement improves morale, productivity and customer service. It also reduces absenteeism. Provide a true experience through effective and creative employee communication using texts, emails, video, podcasts, events and gamification. Reach out to new staff during recruiting and onboarding because first impressions are everything. Use fun videos that feature current employees and build a website that gives new employees a full picture of their benefits options, and also communicates company history and culture. Using leading edge marketing materials in recruiting is great, but you don’t want to follow that with outdated employee communication using old technology in onboarding. The goal is to create a cohesive transition for new employees that instills pride in the organization they’re joining.
  3. Create more on-the-job opportunities for training and development. An overwhelming 94% of employees said in a 2019 LinkedIn survey that they would be less likely to leave a company that offered them development training and opportunities, but Randstad research in 2017 found that only 40% believe they’re getting that from their employers. Providing more and better learning and development increases loyalty and can turn jobs into careers and help woo better talent. In the process, it can grow leaders and improve employee skill levels – a true win-win proposition for employees and employers. Transparency and career mapping are important ingredients to ensure employees know the skills required to grow their careers and navigate their way into different roles within the company as they progress.
  4. Use data and AI in recruiting. More than half of all companies are now using data to increase retention and influence future hiring. And 67% said using AI is helping them save time in the recruiting process, especially in screening candidates. AI is being used for everything from targeting applicants to training new hires and predicting their future job performance. The use of recruitment bots also is growing.
  5. Beef up benefits to help lure new talent and retain top performers. More than a third of employers have increased benefits to help overcome the talent squeeze, the Society of Human Resource Management has found. Traditional benefits like financial wellness programs, flexible scheduling, and transportation and cellphone subsidies remain popular, but companies are getting more creative with newer offerings like student loan repayment programs and pet insurance. One benefit many employers are finding especially effective is improved paid family leave.
  6. It’s more than AI technology. Using AI and the latest advances in content management systems (CMS) for recruiting and retaining employees is great. But don’t overlook the power of storytelling and creating an engaging website that matches a company’s culture and embodies who they are. Effective employee communication is always an important part of recruiting and retaining staff. Strong design, writing and storytelling is just as important as using AI, digital advertising and the latest in CMS to bring in new talent.

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