Slowly but surely, the U.S. economy has been in steady recovery since the Great Recession of 2008. As of August 2015, the unemployment rate in McLean County, Illinois was 4.5%, compared to 5.1% for the U.S. economy as a whole. This is a different hiring climate than several years ago and employers need to approach their hiring practices differently.
It is a job seekers’ market in many industries. With fewer people looking for work, the pool of candidates has grown smaller and competition among employers for talent has increased. Someone searching for work often has several job offers to choose from. What is more, even those who are currently employed are more likely to “shop around” for a new job to see if they can advance their careers. This puts pressure on companies’ hiring and retention practices. Bottom line: workers are going to be more selective about the jobs they take and the jobs they stick with.
In this climate, you have to move it or lose it when it comes to hiring. It is critical to move quickly once you have identified a qualified candidate by presenting an offer as soon as possible after the interview. One rule of thumb in the staffing industry is that a candidate’s interest in a job declines about 10% each day following the interview. In addition, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that they will receive a different job offer. While it might be tempting to wait and see if other qualified individuals apply, that’s never a guarantee and you risk losing the one you have already found.
As much as possible, make sure that your company’s internal practices aren’t creating a bottleneck in the hiring process. It should not take more than a day or so to obtain approval to extend an offer to a qualified candidate.
If you want to attract and keep reliable workers in a job seekers’ market, you may also need to reconsider what you are willing to compensate. Qualified workers are finding work more easily, and if you are not compensating them, they will probably be looking for a high-paying job. Remember to go the extra mile and take care of the employees you have.
It’s easier to retain good workers than it is to find new ones. Now is the time to give raises and rewards for good performance. A $0.25/hr raise or a title change can help workers feel appreciated and generate more loyalty to your company. Also, build a sense of community within the workplace if possible. One of our clients recently implemented a health challenge in which every employee was encouraged to take 10,000 steps a day. They had opportunities to walk together, and top performers received prizes. All of these measures can go a long way in increasing job satisfaction and employee retention.
Finding and keeping the best employees can be more challenging in a job seekers’ market, but implementing these strategies will help you maximize your employee retention and attract good workers.