Hiring today is quite different than it was a few years ago, and this isn’t just due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it may seem relatively easy on the surface, hiring the right employees can be overwhelming and taxing on many different levels, regardless of the size of an organization. Human resources departments today face significant challenges as their roles become broader and more strategic. The HR function goes beyond recruiting, training and retaining employees. It is a key element in developing a workforce that aligns with the mission and vision of a business.
With that in mind, we thought it might be useful to get some insight into how hiring in today’s job market is for the business experts in charge of these operations. To get that insight, we asked some experienced business leaders across various industries what their thoughts are about today’s biggest hiring and resourcing challenges. We analysed their opinions and the answers gravitated to five main issues. In this blog, we will discuss these five major hiring challenges business leaders are facing in the job market in today’s climate. Keep reading.
What have been the main challenges?
Adapting to Remote Work
When the pandemic struck, in compliance with government directives and regulations, most companies had to switch to the remote work model to continue business operations. Now, before the pandemic, very few companies offered remote work and those that did included it as a perk. For companies that were completely new to this new culture of work, the transition to remote work was tough, not just for the staff but employers as well. Hiring new recruits, tracking employees’ productivity and performance, and keeping employees engaged and motivated can be difficult when you’re not in a traditional work environment.
Another Insurance industry leader, told us that, luckily, the company already had a remote working infrastructure in place, so adapting to the new work norm was not as difficult for them as it had been for other organizations. “The current climate has created some challenges, but our office has been equipped to weather the storm. The majority of the sales team had already been working remotely so thankfully we were prepared as anyone could be to continue despite the inherent challenges and as a result, we have continued to move business forward.”
Retaining Talented Employees
Recruiting is one thing, retaining and motivating your employees is another consideration altogether. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, HR professionals project that retaining the best employees will be the greatest HR challenge in 2022. But why? Well, the world of work is changing. Historically, job-hopping was considered to be a negative thing. Landing a role and staying at one company until retirement was the norm, and if you were moving around alot, it tended to lead to negative connotations. This is no longer the case. It is now acceptable to move companies more often, in pursuit of better salary, culture, learning opportunities or clearer progression paths. Rather than stagnating, or feeling (and being!) undervalued, it is seen as a positive attribute to know your worth and chase it.
Building a workplace where employees are motivated is another ongoing issue confronting HR professionals, because the work doesn’t stop at landing top talent. Retention is the next consideration. Knowing what motivates your staff, and implementing strategies and packages that cater to their motivations, is how you keep the best employees happy and productive. A leader in electrical distribution spoke to us about how finding talent that wants to build a career with your company in the long term can be tricky – especially in niche industries. “Our primary challenge is identifying talented individuals who want to build a career within the commercial lighting industry.” they said, with “getting the word out that you can build an excellent career within the trades and create long-term stability for yourself and your family” being a particular area they need to focus on. Another challenge they’re facing? “Identifying motivated candidates that actually want to work.”
Finding And Recruiting High-Quality Talent
Identifying and acquiring high calibre talented individuals has always been a critical challenge for HR managers. Sure, the job market is full of job seekers especially after the devastating lay-offs of workers caused by the pandemic. But how many of those job seekers actually have the skills and qualifications that match the candidate persona of what a recruiter would consider their ideal applicant for an open role? It can be tedious and time-demanding to sift through dozens of applications to discover the right candidate in a pool full of unqualified talent.
One of our clients within the Insurance industry tells us that the difficulty in identifying high caliber talented individuals is a big issue, especially within a niche industry like insurance, that often requires candidates with a unique set of skills and competencies. He does note, however, that this was an issue before COVID-19 struck, so isn’t a challenge to be exclusively attributed to the pandemic.
Promoting a Strong Employer Brand
A strong employer brand is built by investing energy and resources into numerous channels, as well as through ensuring a company culture that resonates with clients, employees, and other stakeholders. You can nail your social media presence, and promote a brand that looks desirable, but longevity comes in living your values with your employees and your clients.
We spoke to a leader in the manufacturing services provider in the aerospace industry, who believes that investing in relationships with your clientele can help business leaders weather the storm especially in a time like this with so much uncertainty in the air. “Relationships are extremely key and spending time with your clients to let them know that you care “more than just a sale” has also proved extremely advantageous in helping navigate these unchartered waters.”
Building Solid Professional Networks
The importance of networking in the corporate world is something every business leader should not underestimate. As essential as it is to have talented people in your workforce, if you want to build a successful business, it is vital that you have a network of professionals who can help you with attracting and engaging highly skilled candidates in the job market. Without a solid professional network, as a business leader, you might find yourself struggling to find and recruit the best talents in your industry.
One Insurance industry company identifies networking as being key to maximising opportunities. They advise that you need to “develop a network that views you as an asset [or] you are going to struggle to do well in this market. Networking is still key and maximizing opportunities as they present themselves. As well as identifying new hungry, humble, and smart individuals to be apart the team is still an issue. But we are equipped to bring on board new talent despite the current climate.”
How are things going for leaders at the moment?
The pandemic has caused global unrest. It disrupted many businesses and upended several business operations. We asked the business leaders we reached out to about the impact of the pandemic on their organizations. The insurance industry (especially in the areas of employee benefits and commercial line coverages for companies) is up over last time this year.
“Overall things are going well. [Our] physical office has been closed since March, but the current team has acclimated to the new process and things are continuing to improve. There has been a bit of decrease in revenue as it relates to funding within industries directly impacted by covid related projects along with some delays in the servicing of some accounts as a result of available team members but overall business is doing great and continuing to improve despite the current climate“. – Insurance industry firm
“Things are going well. Company and business is up over last year at this time. There has been an uptick within the Insurance industry for obvious reasons especially in the areas of employee benefits and commercial line coverages for companies.” – Insurance industry business
In addition, the construction industry (in particular custom home building) and real estate is seeing some significant growth, benefiting from boosted disposable incomes and increased numbers of households. According to a report, “The necessity of shelter and the desire of many urban renters to move to suburban homes with greater distance from neighbors will support revenues in the residential segments,” and coupled with lower interest rates and high inventory, those with stable finances are moving away from renting and into ownership instead.
However, as expected, some industries have been affected worse than others. The aerospace industry has been hit pretty hard, as a result of the pandemic and lack of air travel. Construction is another industry that has seen disruption too.
“Times are challenging. The majority of our clients are in the aerospace industry and that industry has been massively hit. Contracts have been out right cancelled or not renewed as a result of the virus and lack of airplane travel.” says a manufacturing services provider.
It’s important to understand that these challenges might play out differently depending on the size of the company, hiring needs and several other factors, but it reaffirms the fact that there’s some sort of consensus in the market and that these challenges are common.
Whether you are a business owner, HR professional or a recruiter, understanding these challenges can help you survive the pandemic, and even come out of the other side stronger and more equipped to handle future challenges.
At CareerPaths NW we pride ourselves in providing qualified candidates to leading companies all across the nation. If you are looking to make a hiring decision soon, contact us today and we can source qualified, professional candidates for you as soon as possible.