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September Jobs Report: Putting People First

The September Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report released last week was anticlimactic, to say the least. Just 194,000 jobs were added, significantly fewer than the 500,000 jobs economists predicted. On the back of the 366,000 jobs added in August, it’s a clear indication that things aren’t getting “back to normal” anytime soon. Even as we’ve seen a decline in COVID cases nationwide, we will still be grappling with the effects of the pandemic for quite some time, and that includes continued challenges in hiring. 

The unemployment rate did fall to
4.8% from 5.2% in August, but that was partly due to individuals leaving the labor force — largely due to the shifting needs and priorities of the modern workforce. For many people, taking a low-paying job with little flexibility just doesn’t make sense financially or given the needs of their families. There are 11 million jobs still open, and just under eight million people remain unemployed. So even if every American looking for work found a job, we’d still have around three million open positions. That’s a hard reality to face, but it’s important to note that an unemployment rate below 5% after the deepest recession in modern times is something remarkable, and continued positive growth is a good sign.

Another factor that might be contributing to the dismal job gains is that businesses in some industries are probably never going to reopen all of the jobs they had before the pandemic hit, which means your Businesses have had to learn how to operate differently amidst a global pandemic and they’ve learned how to do more with fewer people on staff — whether that’s by embracing more tech or hiring people who can do more than just the minimum.

Among our dealership customers, 71% say they are not planning to backfill all of the roles they had to eliminate at the onset of the pandemic, which is occurring across all industries. Businesses are still struggling to fill the open roles they created earlier this summer, so new job creation isn’t occurring as rapidly.

Over the last seven months, Hireology customers have averaged above 11,000 hires. This month, they made 12,128 hires, opened 22,923 jobs, and had 382,435 applicants apply to their open roles. Additionally, their time to hire decreased for the fourth consecutive month to just over 21 days — a sign that folks who are eager and motivated to work move fast.

As much as economists have tried to predict what’s in store for the job market, we’re still facing a lot of uncertainty, but we should take the gains in stride and keep working to make our companies a place that employees want to work. My biggest suggestion for where to focus your attention is to always put people first — by refining your processes, reaching candidates where they are, and improving your culture.  And if you’d like to hear more on my take on the BLS report, you can watch the video below. 

Refine your process

Given how difficult it is to fill open roles today,  it’s important to focus more on enhancing your existing process in order to fill those roles instead of creating new ones. That can be done by decreasing the time it takes to hire your applicants, improving applicant communication, and creating a repeatable and predictable process that feels smooth from the candidate’s perspective.

With Hireology’s all-in-one hiring tool, you can automate your prescreen surveys and candidate verification, communicate with your candidates through text messages or emails, and extend offer letters all from one system. You can also use our analytics dashboard to track where your process kinks are and make adjustments accordingly. 

Reach candidates where they are

In order to hire more qualified candidates, you have to reach candidates where they are. That means diversifying your applicant sources beyond job boards and embracing tactics like SEO and social media channels.

Another great way to find top talent is by utilizing your current employees as recruiters. An employee referral program incentivizes your staff to refer their friends and peers to your open roles with monetary or other rewards. And those referred to positions are four times more likely to be hired, so you’re receiving a lot more qualified candidates than traditional recruiting methods.

If you don’t currently have an employee referral program in place, you should consider implementing one ASAP. It’s simple to set up, and Hireology has an in-platform tracking system that helps you monitor submissions easily so you can make sure to get in touch with applicants quickly and track payouts with ease. 

Retention is essential

If you’re short-staffed, your team is likely pulling a lot of extra weight, and that can be hard on even the most dedicated employees. Do what you can to alleviate some of their stresses so you don’t lose them to burnout. Offer them additional paid days off, gift cards for lunches, bonuses, or mental health days. Additionally, work to improve your culture so your company remains a place they want to work.

Acknowledge your staff’s hard work and make sure you frequently check in to make sure each team member is doing okay mentally and physically. Even as we see signs of the pandemic waning, we’ve all still been through a lot these past two years.

Use quarterly surveys to gauge employee satisfaction, and when you do inevitably have individuals leave your organization, hold exit interviews to gain information on why they are leaving. This can help you make adjustments and ensure that you retain more individuals down the line.

Whether you have one job open or 20, finding talent and filling these roles is still really difficult across the board, and that’s because the priorities of modern job seekers have shifted. So your hiring efforts need to shift too. You need to put people at the center of your recruiting and HR processes to better connect with job seekers, show them that you can meet their needs, motivate them to come work for you, and keep them around long-term. Hireology can help you do this. We have the tools to make sure that your hiring process runs smoothly and efficiently, while still keeping people at the center of your process.

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