Though November has seen the slowest rate of unemployment rebound since the onslaught of the pandemic according to the BLS November jobs report, the numbers are still decreasing as more jobs are added back to the recovering economy.
245,000 jobs were added last month, and as the holiday season approaches, businesses have hired seasonal employees, though not at the rate or in the typical roles of years passed — which should no longer be surprising, as this year is far from typical. With fewer in-person shoppers, cashiers and floor staff positions have been largely eliminated, while roles in warehousing and transportation have seen notable increases. Professional and business services, healthcare, construction, and manufacturing all saw job gains. Leisure and hospitality, one of the most badly hit sectors of the economy, added back 31,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate’s stagnation again reminds us that the pandemic will continue to affect businesses across the board. Extended unemployment aid is set to expire at the end of December, however a $908 billion bipartisan spending deal is in the works that would extend some relief to unemployed workers, and include $300 billion for small businesses, $160 billion for state and local governments, and an additional $300 a week to unemployment benefits. Government aid combined with projected widespread distribution of vaccines should allow the economy to make a steady recovery in the coming months, but until then, one thing is certain: your team should be your number one priority. Whether you’re currently hiring and trying to attract applicants to your business, or you’ve put a pause on recruiting, your focus should be on what makes your company great: your team.
We know this year has been incredibly challenging, but we can get through this. 2021 brings renewed hope and your team is looking to you for guidance as the new year approaches. Here are some ways to ensure your team, new and old, knows they are vital to your business from day one.
Ask for feedback
The best place to start when it comes to reshaping any process is evaluating what you already have in place. Talk with your team who has gone through the hiring and onboarding process and encourage them to share feedback on what’s working well and what needs improvement. Set up one on one meetings between managers and their employees to make sure everyone is addressed, or offer an avenue for anonymous submission so that your entire team feels comfortable responding.
Ask them questions about their experience based on their tenure. If they’ve been with your company for a few weeks to a year, ask about their recruitment and onboarding experience, as well as their time spent with the company. If they’ve been there longer, as about what’s fulfilling them in their job. Some examples of questions include:
- What made you want to work here?
- What expectations did you have coming into your role?
- What about our hiring process did you like? What didn’t you like?
- What made onboarding easier for you? Were there things that you think could be done differently?
- Would you recommend working here to your friends?
- What’s been your biggest challenge during your time here?
- Have your expectations of working here been met?
These responses will hopefully give you insight into where you can immediately improve your process heading into the new year.
Use your team to attract applicants
Feature your team on your career site so that applicants see what your company represents. Highlight employee testimonials about what it’s like working at your company, showcase team outings that have taken place or new initiatives you’re trying out to keep your team together. You can even share how your employees are adjusting to the trials the year has brought and what they do outside of work to relax. This will show your applicants that your company offers a work-life balance, which is incredibly important to job seekers.
Additionally, encourage employee referrals with incentives. Employee referrals save your company money, stick around longer, and will promote morale, so if you’ve not set up a referral system, you should. Whether your reward for referrals is monetary or otherwise, show your employees that you appreciate their efforts in building the best team possible.
Focus on the employee experience
Don’t over-prioritize recruiting new talent so much so that you forget about your team that’s been by your side throughout the pandemic. Your employees’ perceptions of your company is a make or break factor in recruitment anyway, as more than half of job seekers would abandon a job application if they read negative employer reviews online. If a large chunk of your employee reviews reflect negatively on your company, you’ll see that in your recruitment efforts.
While 2020 may have made inclusion efforts a bit more tricky, you can still promote comradery from a distance. Have managers host team virtual game nights or happy hours, start a company book club, and have monthly all-company virtual meetings to address business outcomes and expectations so everyone is on the same page.
Celebrate company and individual wins together. Give shoutouts to team members who go above and beyond, and key everyone in on metrics and goals your company reaches. These small initiatives will keep your team feeling close and valuable to your company.
Create internal mobility
If your current employees don’t see a career path for them with your company, they won’t stick around long. Turnover is always an issue, even during times of high unemployment, so prioritize keeping your employees around by creating internal mobility and career advancement opportunities when possible.
Talk with your employees about their long term goals, encourage job shadowing, and consider offering mentorship programs where individuals can learn new skills. You can even film “day in the life” segments of your different positions so team members can get a better understanding of what exactly the various roles at your company are. These can help with recruiting as well, as job seekers can see that your company offers growth opportunities. In fact, 36.1% of healthcare professionals and 36.4% of retail automotive professionals said they applied to their current position because the company mentioned career growth opportunities.
Onboarding efforts aren’t a one-time event
Continued education is important in nearly every profession, so don’t make your onboarding a one-time thing. Give your employees the tools they need to understand the ins and outs of your company and their role.
Consider appointing culture ambassadors to help support your company’s culture through employee engagement during and after onboarding, and frequently address what your company expectations are in all-company meetings. Continued investment in your employees will be a standout factor in applicant attraction and retention long term.
Take a deep breath…
…You’ve nearly made it through this wild year, which is no small feat. Take some time as the year comes to an end to reflect on how far your company has come and be proud. Share that pride with your employees, too, because you couldn’t have done it without them.
2021 hosts a number of opportunities and challenges, so let’s get ready for what’s to come together. If you’re interested in seeing how Hireology can help you navigate the year ahead, you can schedule a demo here.