With the economic downturn, many organizations may have significantly reduced their talent acquisitions team, leaving a bare-bones crew intact to handle all their hiring efforts. But the tides are changing, and these bare-bones crews are often having trouble keeping up.
Hiring is ramping up again.
According to a research from Manpower, 98% of U.S. states have a positive hiring outlook and 95 of the nation’s 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas had a positive outlook. The experts agree. ERE’s John Zappe acknowledged that the return to hiring for organizations will have a longstanding impact on America’s workforce.
Wow – just let that sink in for a bit. Employers may be feeling the effects of the recession for years, if not an ENTIRE generation. That means that if this recession took place back in 1976, we would still be feeling its effects today. I prefer to be a bit of an optimist and would like to think that what Zappe is saying is that yes, this recovery will be slow and not without challenges, but that the effects we will feel, long-term, will be more about the way we do business and approach recruiting, not in the viability of our workforce and our level of GDP.
The economic impact on hiring.
Let’s take a closer look at the more immediate effects of the economic downturn and subsequent upswing in hiring we’ve seen more recently. Members of the talent acquisition team who have survived the economic downturn are now in positions to make hiring and recruiting decisions for which they may be lacking in experience and education. Departments stretched to the brink are struggling to identify and hire candidates to meet the demands of the business.
Musical employee chairs.
As the market continues gaining momentum and companies continue hiring, existing employees are beginning to take notice and are “putting their feelers out there.” Ah, the passive candidate. We in the recruiting world, love the passive-candidate. It is the unicorn that we talk to all our customers about when we talk about how we attract better talent and how we have a pulse on the current market. If I had a dime for every time someone told me in the past few months:
“Hey Paul, I know you were bugging me about that opportunity a year ago, but I was afraid to make a move because the market was so crummy. Well, I see the market is picking up and I’m not real happy in my current role, especially since they cut my salary last year to keep me here. I’m putting my feelers out there in case you see anything of interest.”
…..I wouldn’t be writing this blog, I would already be retired and opening a doggy-day care or perhaps a vintage guitar shop in a warmer climate.
Most employers would wonder: why is this person unhappy and looking to make a change when we cut his salary to keep him here? We did him a favor! We did the right thing. Indeed that company did do him a favor and indeed that company did do the right thing, but as the economy and hiring continue to grow, so will the confidence and discontent of current employees. The mindset of employees now isn’t an overwhelming attitude of gratitude for keeping them employed through the economic downturn. They are looking forward to finally seeing what else is out there. This will translate into a game of musical chairs as employees bolt for new opportunities and companies scramble to back-fill their vacant positions.
Who’s on first?
Remember the old Abbot and Costello bit – Who’s On First? Well right now, that’s what most hiring organizations look like. Who’s on first, What’s on second and I Don’t Know is on third. We have players on the field, but we don’t know which players are in which positions. If your skeleton talent acquisition team is: still managing payroll, has taken on benefits and employee relations and is now responsible for all recruiting within the organization, you are going to have a lot of frustrated hiring managers and Dave will probably be spending his time on the job boards looking for a new opportunity rather than sourcing candidates.
Dave doesn’t speak geek; Dave doesn’t know a thing about IT. How is Dave going to fill that .Net position or find that diamond in the rough who still has Blue Martini experience (My boss thinks she is a pro at this one)? He is going to pay someone else to do it. This will be in the form of a fee and it will go to the third-party recruiter who is knocking loudest on the door of the hiring manager. Great short-term fix, but the problem is that you might not be getting the most competitive fee, the most well vetted candidate or the best long-term business partner because now, your talent acquisition team is in a state of panic and desperation. We all know that very little good can come from making rash decisions under these circumstances. Remind me to tell you about my latest car repair bills. Scammers……
Be a boy scout.
Remember the boy scout motto: “Be Prepared?” So your company has hiring needs right now, but maybe it’s still unsure about future growth and doesn’t have room in the budget to add a full time employee to your talent acquisition team. Now is the time to be prepared and begin weighing your options. Waiting until the 11th hour when your hiring needs are at a fevered pitch will result in: frustrated managers, wasted time and could lead to significant dips in employee morale.
Meeting with valued suppliers now and researching various recruiting models will help avoid a lot of pain, lost time, lost resources and bad hiring decisions in the future. There are a variety of recruiting models out there that will help augment your current recruiting needs. From a traditional temporary staffing model to contingency search or retained search, to a contract recruiting model to a full-blown RPO, there are options. But to choose the right option, research needs to be conducted, corporate strategies need to be in place and resources need to be compared.
Any good staffing model will empower your business to be self sufficient and prepared for future hiring needs. Avoiding staffing models that will make your business dependent, long-term, on their services for all of your hiring will save you lots of valuable recruitment dollars in the long-run. Any staffing professional worth their salt will learn about your business objectives – short- and long-term, and will guide you to the best available option that will leave you in control of your hiring and your bottom line.
Save your talent acquisition team.
If you give your talent acquisition team the tools they need and efficiently manage your staffing resources, you will not only avoid losing valuable talent acquisition employees, you will also avoid losing managers who may otherwise become frustrated and stifled by a lack of preparedness and a lack of resources. Give your team the right tools to understand and get up to date on what current talent acquisition teams and strategies look like.
Perhaps the next generation will still feel the ripple effects of this latest recession in the way they do business. But, we can rest assured that one thing will not change and that is the fact that the proverbial “war for talent” is once again being waged, only this time we can be more strategic and fight the war with a leaner, more aggressive platoon and more tools at our disposal.
What changes have you made to your team during or after the economic downturn? How have they impacted your talent acquisition strategies?