The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its May jobs report. The latest numbers show that unemployment dropped slightly, from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May, with 2.5 million jobs added to the economy.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics and leading economists initially expected that unemployment would increase further in May and the latest numbers are stronger than anticipated, the unemployment rate is still significantly higher than March levels, which stood at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent.
The latest report shows that the job market is rebounding from COVID-19 closures earlier than economists predicted, but it’s still too soon to tell if this will be a rapid rebound or what the overall reopening of the economy might look like.
While there are still a lot of uncertainties as a result of the pandemic, one thing all employers can agree on is that how we do business will forever be changed. To adapt to this “new normal” and drive long-term success, one area your business can control is your people operations – meaning the team you hire and have on your payroll. No matter the economic conditions, your top differentiator is the employees you have on staff.
Whether you are bringing back the teams you furloughed or having to hire a new team, you will need a partner with the technology, expertise and support model that can help you build your best team:
Build your pipeline of talent
As businesses that were temporarily closed due to stay-at-home mandates start to reopen, there will be fierce competition for top talent. And with millions of job seekers now on the market, it gives your team the opportunity to capture the attention of prospective applicants from outside industries that might not have otherwise considered joining your team.
One challenge employers face with attracting top talent at this time is that, given the $600 a week bonus individuals on unemployment insurance currently receive, many stand to make more money on unemployment than they would if they returned to work. In fact, in a letter to members of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office said it estimated expanding enhanced jobless benefits through January 2021 would mean five in every six claimants would make more money from unemployment insurance than from work. As a result, some of these individuals are hesitant to jump back into the job market right away.
The unemployment bonus isn’t going to be in place indefinitely and as eager job seekers look to get back to work, you need to have a compelling employer brand to excite top talent about joining your team. If you don’t focus on building your pipeline of talent now, you’ll risk losing prospective applicants to other job opportunities.
Your employer brand gives your team the opportunity to sell top talent on your open roles. Ultimately, the goal of your brand should be to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question, which will motivate job seekers who might be reluctant to come off unemployment or are considering other roles.
Your employer brand should include strong, search-friendly job descriptions and an engaging career site that both highlight employee benefits, defined career paths across departments, employee testimonials, and other key information to stand out from competing employers.
Beyond maintaining a strong employer brand, your team also needs to reach top job seekers where they’re searching for open roles. Some employers make the mistake of simply posting roles on a single job board as they open up. Rather than relying on job boards alone, Hireology data found that a multichannel recruitment strategy results in five times more quality applicants than investing in one channel alone.
Your recruitment channels should include a mix of job boards – such as national, local and niche, industry-specific job boards – social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well your career site. The most engaged job seekers apply to open roles via career sites, as they’re invested in learning whether or not they’re actually a fit for open roles, rather than simply clicking “apply” across several job boards.
As millions of job seekers who were laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic seek their next roles, you can attract top talent and staff for success by focusing on your employer brand and recruitment marketing strategy.
Ensure your employees are qualified
Whether you’re welcoming back furloughed employees or hiring new staff, day-to-day business operations look different than they did pre-pandemic, which might mean you need employees with different skills than you required previously. Even if employees’ roles remain the same, you want to make sure you have a qualified team in place who will drive results as your organization gets back to business.
To verify employee qualifications, there are several steps you can take during the hiring process. Before applications even reach a hiring manager, you can send automated prescreen surveys to weed out applicants who aren’t a fit for your open roles. During the interview stage, you can tap into consistent interview guides with automated scoring, to ensure you’re asking all candidates the same questions and rating interviews objectively.
Your team should also prioritize verifying candidates’ skills directly. A recent study found that 93 percent of Americans know someone who has lied on a resume. Skills tests are one candidate screening option that can help you determine whether or not candidates truly have the skills needed to succeed on your team, and these tests can be customized for specific roles.
One type of skills test can help you measure a candidate’s hard skills – meaning the technical skills a candidate needs to succeed in your open role.
Another common type of skills test measures candidates’ soft skills. These tend to be less technical, but measure keys to success in most jobs. Soft skills tests might include questions related to social etiquette, compassion, business vocabulary or customer service capabilities.
As you approach the final stages of the interview process, your team should run reference and background checks on your employees, to verify previous experience and avoid potential liability down the road.
Following all these verification steps can help you hire qualified candidates – and avoid wasting time on applicants who aren’t a fit – which will ultimately help you drive profit and a top-notch customer experience as you get back up and running.
Follow a standardized hiring process to save time and money
With so many other tasks on your plate to get your business back on track, the hiring process can seem daunting. But with the right technology partner in place, you can follow a standardized hiring process, automate hiring steps, and save time and money so you can focus on other critical priorities to move the business forward.
With a recruitment CRM partner like Hireology, all applicant data is centralized in one platform and many of the steps throughout the hiring process – including the verification steps outlined in the previous section – can be automated. This also enables your team to run a completely remote hiring process if some of your team members are still working in a remote capacity or you can’t meet with candidates in person.
In addition to streamlining all hiring steps, the right hiring partner will provide you with the data you need to continuously drive cost savings and hiring efficiencies over time. For example, Hireology customers have access to Insights, actionable Q&A analytics that answer questions such as: How fast am I hiring? Is everyone following my hiring process? What’s my best source of applicants?
Armed with this data, you can better understand which steps you need to take to make the hiring process more efficient, and eliminate recruitment channels that aren’t driving results for your team.
As the economy and businesses across industries rebound following COVID-19 shutdowns, the bottom-line is more important than ever before. With a standardized hiring process in place and actionable hiring data, you can save time and money that can be reallocated to other areas of the business.
Onboard your employees seamlessly
Following weeks of slowdown, businesses need to get back to work quickly and without error. One way to get both new employees and employees you’re welcoming back up to speed quickly is with seamless connections between your hiring and other HR systems. By connecting your hiring platform with other HR systems, such as onboarding, payroll and scheduling, you can get new hires set up for success from an administrative standpoint and enable new employees to get started on their day-to-day responsibilities sooner rather than later.
To seamlessly onboard employees, your team can facilitate digital onboarding before the first day. Many employees spend hours during their first day or week filling out manual paperwork, which not only leads to lost productivity but can cause initial employee engagement to take a hit.
Digital onboarding enables new employees to fill out paperwork as soon as their offer letters are signed. And it saves your HR team from manually repeating the same onboarding tasks each time a new employee is hired.
Onboarding tasks that can be completed before the first day include: filling out direct deposit information for automated payroll, completing tax forms, filling out benefits paperwork and signing the employee handbook. As businesses gradually reopen following the pandemic, digital onboarding can also help you stay organized with new hires if some team members are still working remotely at this time.
As the latest jobs report shows, while unemployment has decreased slightly, the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a significant impact on employers and job seekers across industries. While nobody can predict how long or to what extent the outbreak will disrupt business, by focusing on what your business can control – such as your people operations – you can be in a better position to drive long-term profit and success. For additional tips on streamlining your hiring efforts, read our resource, “The Seamless Hiring Process Playbook.”