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The December Jobs Report: Gear Up for the New Year

The BLS jobs report for December 2020 was unsurprisingly bleak. The unemployment rate remained at 6.7%, but 140,000 jobs were lost. This was the first net decline the job market has seen since the mass layoffs that occurred last spring, with leisure and hospitality seeing the biggest losses.

However, economists predict that 2021 is poised to add more jobs than any other year dating back to 1939. In the last days of December, Congress passed a $900 billion relief package that included extended unemployment benefits and $600 checks issued to individuals who fall below a certain income threshold. Vaccinations began last month, and 9 million Americans have now received the COVID-19 vaccine. Medical experts predict everyone will have access to the vaccine by the summer.

Additionally, the Biden administration is expected to unveil plans for a third stimulus package this week — a multi-trillion-dollar plan that will include more state and local aid, as well as an increased amount of direct payments and unemployment benefits. The speed of economic recovery is predicted to be much faster than after the two previous recessions, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

Lastly, Hireology data shows that our customers added nearly 13,000 new jobs, and were able to make nearly 8,000 hires in the month of December. Even though job trends were down, Hireology customers continued to list and fill new roles.

With hope of economic resurgence on the horizon, your success in 2021 will be largely dependent on how you handle the next few months. Here are some ways to get your hiring efforts geared up for the year ahead. 

Consider flexible working  

Providing work flexibility and benefits that allow for both women and men to equally represent your company is a necessity, especially when it comes to attracting a diverse workforce. Women accounted for 100% of last month’s job losses — women lost 156,000 jobs while men lost 16,000. While men, of course, lost jobs as well, as a whole men came out ahead while women fell behind.

And throughout 2020, women lost more jobs than men. Men and women began the year on a nearly level playing field, however women ended 2020 with 5.4 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic began, while men lost 4.4 million jobs over the same period. This is largely due to the lack of flexibility in some of the hardest hit sectors — which also happen to be female-dominated industries, like hospitality, retail, and education. As schools and daycares closed, many women were forced to leave their positions in the workforce to take over caregiving responsibilities. Your company’s ability to attract and retain female workers will depend largely on your willingness to provide flexible working conditions.

Prior to the pandemic, many companies were adopting more flexible working arrangements, as research conducted by IWG revealed that 80% of U.S. workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. But, the effects of COVID-19 have exacerbated the need for flexibility, and 2021 will likely see more companies resolve to permanently enact flexible working into their offerings. 

Build a talent pipeline

As we see the talent pool begin to shrink, having a talent pipeline becomes all the more important. A talent pipeline consists of candidates you’ve interacted with that you can consider for current or future opportunities. This enables your recruiting team to not have to start from scratch as new roles open or a current employee leaves.

Building a talent pipeline is simple and the benefits include reducing your company’s time to hire and maximizing your ability to hire quality candidates. Even if you don’t currently have a talent pipeline in place, you likely have candidate sourcing avenues that can help you create one. Employee referrals, social media sourcing, and recruitment databases can contribute to your pipeline. Your job from there is to establish contact with candidates and develop relationships with those that seem like a good fit. Nurturing your pipeline will make it easier for you to reach out to candidates when a new role opens up, allowing you to hire the right people faster.

Whether you’re currently seeing an influx of open roles at your company or you’re gearing up for the road ahead, creating a talent pipeline can make your hiring process run more smoothly. 

Continue to address internal concerns

2020 saw a tremendous increase in conversations inside and outside of the workplace about the importance of mental health. Last year dramatically changed the way we live, interact, and work — all of which can take a huge toll on mental health. As we get closer to the end of the pandemic, it’s important to continue these conversations because ensuring the health and safety of your staff should continue to be your top priority as an employer, pandemic or not.

Help your team where you can by offering mental health days, providing updates and resources as news comes out, and creating a safe space for them to voice any concerns they may have. Equip your managers with talk tracks so that they feel comfortable starting conversations around mental health with their team. The idea of returning to business as usual is likely a hefty thought for many individuals who have spent nearly an entire year with limited human interaction, so check in on your employees, even if you’ve been operating in-person. You’ll create an avenue of trust and open communication that will prove invaluable now and in the future. 

Assess your HR processes

Does it take months for you to fill your open roles? Is your payroll filing a painstaking process for your HR team? Do your new hires spend the first day or two on the job filling out paperwork? These are all signs that you need to revamp your HR processes. These issues can become massive roadblocks when it comes to hiring and retaining your best team.

Utilizing technology to streamline the hiring and onboarding process will help you with process standardization, speed, and efficiency, in addition to making sure your team members, new and old, are able to focus on their daily tasks rather than hours of paperwork and manual processes.

Additionally, as hiring ramps up throughout the year, you’ll want to secure top talent before your competitors do. Hireology customers are able to hire up to eight days faster than those who don’t utilize our software. Thanks to in-platform communication, automated background and reference checks, and our new mobile app, you can ensure that you’re leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

Take it one day at a time 

We’re not out of the woods yet, and we’re still likely to see some unexpected hurdles, but keep your eyes on the prize and take each day as it comes. Get your company on the same page when it comes to your daily navigation of the next few months. Relish the successes of your company together, and allow room for decompression when things don’t go as planned — both in the world and in your organization. We’ve made it through one of the toughest years many of us have ever experienced both personally and professionally, and we can continue to chug along together. 

Hireology has a renewed dedication to helping you get your team ramped up for what’s ahead. To hear about how we can help you hire for the future of your business, schedule a demo now. 

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