Nearly a million jobs were added to the economy in March — the most since August of last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation, the unemployment rate fell to 6%, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction, and nearly 350,000 people rejoined the labor force.
Of course, we’re not in the clear yet — with 9.7 million individuals still unemployed, we are still 4 million higher than in February 2020. But, there’s clear evidence that we are on a path to revival.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus relief bill was passed last month, which cleared the way for $1400 stimulus checks to be issued to over 150 million people. Another impressive milestone was reached in March, as over 15% of the U.S. population became fully vaccinated. President Biden also introduced the American Jobs Plan last week, a $2 trillion proposal that included sizable investments in infrastructure, transportation, research and development, and caretaking.
Specific to the healthcare industry, the plan would call for $450 billion in Medicaid to create 1.5 million new home care jobs, and build a sustainable home care workforce by raising wages and increasing access to benefits for home care workers, and increasing support for home care workers with job training.
The hiring resurgence was seen across Hireology customers as well, with a 75% increase in hires made year over year.
Job growth is no longer “on the horizon” — it’s happening. After months of looking forward to what’s to come, it’s a relief to see actual recovery that will continue. Here’s how to make the most of the rebound.
Evaluate your weak areas
Look at where the pandemic has taken the biggest toll on your employee headcount. See what’s creating bottlenecks in customer or employee satisfaction (i.e. fewer customer service representatives causing longer wait times for customers, or reduced headcount causing overscheduling and turnover).
Were there roles you had to eliminate to stay afloat in the midst of COVID-19? Were there teams you had to shrink? Were you planning to launch a new role or team, but put it on pause?
These are the first roles you should think about filling. And remember, your goal doesn’t have to be to get back to 100% capacity right away, but you should aim for 100% efficiency.
Consider a benefits overhaul
As hiring takes off in other industries, keeping your team happy is an important consideration. As you evaluate your weak areas in headcount, find out what your employee satisfaction Achilles Heel is, too. If you had to put a pause on some of the employee perks you once offered, consider if it’s time to bring them back — or have your ear to the ground and find out what your employees want most and try a benefits overhaul.
Think about the things that have made the pandemic the most challenging for your employees. Things like schedule flexibility, better healthcare coverage, savings plans (like 401K), work from home allowances, additional PTO, and mental health resources are all benefits that will continue to be a popular consideration for staff now and in the future.
Hireology recently surveyed our customers to find out how the pandemic has affected their operations. When asked what benefits were added to help with COVID-19, nearly 30% of respondents said they made no change. In order to keep your team around, though, you need to stand out by meeting the needs of your employees. No need to worry about including every single benefit listed above; survey your staff and see what matters most to them, then adjust your offerings accordingly.
Get tech up to speed
2021 brought fresh funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, along with new qualifiers and forgivable costs. Those eligible for PPP-2 loans can now use up to 40% of their loan on expenses outside of payroll, including business software or cloud computing services that facilitate business operations.
This gives you the flexibility to upgrade your technology and help your business run as smoothly as possible. Consider where the most manual processes live, and shop around for a solution. Whether that’s hiring and onboarding, payroll, scheduling, or any other software that will enhance your organization’s day-to-day, weigh your options and make purchases that make sense.
To find out if your business qualifies for PPP-2 and to file an application, click here.
Don’t slow down
We don’t advise throwing caution to the wind, but now’s not the time to hesitate when it comes to hiring and staffing your organization. There’s been a shift in many industries from looking at worst-case scenarios to gearing up for a return to normalcy, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to attract and hire great people. So stay focused, move with urgency, and execute on your hiring strategy. Now’s the time we’ve all been waiting for — so don’t slow down.
Hireology has marked 2021 as the year to move. We’ve adopted the saying “Let’s Go!” to ensure we are all aligned and moving forward together. We want to help you do the same. If you’d like to schedule some time to talk with one of our representatives about how we can make your hiring process more efficient, you can do so here.