3 Creative Ideas for a Better Recruitment Strategy
Filling an open position is not only about finding the right person to do the job, it’s also about finding someone who’s going to gel with your company’s work culture.
Unfortunately, finding people is actually the easy part.
Keeping them is much more difficult, and realistically, it’s much more important considering the cost of resources it takes — time, money and gray hairs — to constantly replace employees.
In fact, one study found that to replace people who make between $30,000 and $50,000 annually, it costs up to 20% of their annual salaries. To replace executives? It costs well over two times their salaries.
The truth about keeping employees is that the task of keeping employees starts even before they’re hired. While building a winning recruitment strategy starts with measuring metrics that matter, paying people in accordance with the rising cost of living and offering scheduling flexibility, the fact remains that when the talent market is competitive, as it’s been in recent years, businesses have to be even more creative than that to make their jobs the dream jobs people want to get and commit to.
Here are three ideas that can help propel your company from stepping stone to stepping up in the world.
Find Value in Undervalued People
It was once common in America that people could become wildly successful without much formal education. In fact, nine former presidents didn’t have a college degree, including Harry Truman, who served as recently as the 1950s. Abraham Lincoln had about a year’s worth of education — in his entire life. His successor, Andrew Johnson, had none.
While education used to be only available to the wealthy — someone had to work the farms — as our society has evolved, it’s become more and more available to every economic class and it wasn’t that long ago that people were able to make good careers out of high school diplomas.
Nowadays, bachelor’s degrees are standard requirements at most career-oriented jobs, but even those have become so ubiquitous that many companies aren’t even looking at anyone who doesn’t have a master’s.
The problem with screening people based on education is that most people come out of college with little experience in working on the ground floor of the types of jobs they are applying to, yet there are a lot of people who have broken into industries through alternative paths and have gained a lot of experience.
If you think about it, would you rather have someone who got out of high school, started sweeping floors and then found a way to get 10 years of managerial experience by moving up the ranks, or someone who’s the same age, got their master’s, took a year off to tour Europe and has maybe two years of on the job training?
The answer could go either way, right? There’s value to both experiences, and if you simply wrote off the unconventional route without a conversation, you could possibly miss out on someone who is loyal, patient, talented and ambitious.
Besides educational “misfits,” other types of people who go undervalued in the workforce are people who have gaps in their work history and people who have spent time in prison.
There are a hundred reasons why people have gaps in their work history, and most of them are due to nothing that would otherwise cause a red flag. Perhaps they took a couple years off to tour Europe again, had a baby or tried and failed at being an entrepreneur.
As for prison, not all crimes are the same, and there are a large number of people who take their second chances more seriously than the 11 o’clock news would have you believe.
The reality is that people have stories, and they don’t all fit into the perfect automated resume screening tool your department uses. Talk to people and let their experiences guide your decision on them. Loyalty really isn’t dead, and people tend to remember those who took a chance on them.
The Future Job is Temporary
The combination of the down economy that resulted from the Great Recession and the latest tech boom has helped spawn a growing faction of the workforce that strings together part-time jobs and freelance work to make ends meet.
While participation in the "gig economy," as it’s colloquially known, is tough to measure, a comprehensive study done by the Freelancer’s Union organization found that over 57 million Americans did work as freelancers in 2017, up 30% from the previous year. Plus, 63% of freelancers surveyed said they worked as contractors by choice.
While analysis of the gig economy often centers around its advantages for the worker, contract-based work also significantly benefits employers.
It goes without saying that the costs are lower to hire a freelancer — an hourly rate with no commitment is easily more cost-effective than a salary and benefits — but contract work also changes the entire dynamic of the employer-employee relationship, and, in reality, that flipped script works in favor of the person doing the hiring.
In contract work, the employer becomes the client, and because contract work is inherently unstable for freelancers, the one thing they hate to do more than anything is lose a consistent client.
The rise of the gig economy doesn’t mean you should fire all your people and go freelance, but it does give business owners more flexibility in the ways that they can fill jobs, especially if the workforce is choosing to go that route.
Offer Good Fringe Benefits
Let’s face it, both sides of the worker-employee (or client) relationship hinges on what kind of value you get from each other. Business owners want the best work they can get for the lowest cost and workers want to do the most satisfying work (if not the least amount) for the most money they can get.
Finding the sweet spot in the gray area of those economics is probably the single most important factor in keeping employees around for the long haul.
Finding the right deal for both sides doesn’t necessarily have to be so black and white as salary and benefits packages, however.
In fact, there are many ways that companies can incentivize employees. Some offer their people sabbaticals, year-long maternity leave or health programs -- all paid. Others even pick up the tab for higher education advancement goals and even encourage pets in the workplace.
The point is, it isn't just about money when it comes to recruiting and retention. It's usually about experience. And if you’ve caught on, we're not talking work history.
For more information about how to create a winning recruitment strategy that retains employees and adds to your bottom line, send us a message at Info@DavidCouperConsulting.com.
Josh Espinosa is a freelance writer and designer. He also founded the Approachable Music project, a music education program on a mission to make learning to play easier and more efficient.