Robin Williams’ movie “Patch Adams” is one of my favorite movies to use when I have to facilitate organizational change management classes. The movie is set in the late 1960s/early 1970s, it is based on the life story of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams and the book Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter by Dr. Adams and Maureen Mylander. The movie speaks to the need to sometimes break rank and try something new to really affect the change needed in an industry. One quote from the movie has stuck with me throughout my career but most especially when I face challenges and have to change my mindset:
“You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem!”HAROLD GOULD – Arthur Mendelson
Companies are struggling to fill positions are now force to rethink how to attract more talent. According to The New York Times reports, firms aren’t just considering upping the compensation. Some offer more flexibility, or taking risks to train unconventional workers who don’t meet traditional qualifications. A recent study cited “no experience necessary” roles have spiked by two-thirds compared to 2019. Sign on bonuses are now becoming a norm. Data also show minimum compensation requirements for people without college degrees are up 19%, with larger employers acknowledging blue-collar workers have gotten harder to retain.
One of my favorite data partners, Emsi, released an intriguing and frightening study last month called The Demographic Drought. The report examines the:
- Labor shortage of six million workers that businesses are already facing.
- Exodus in 2020 of three million baby boomers from the workforce—many from senior positions that won’t be easy to fill.
- National and global demographic trends that are poised to transform the future of the labor market.
- Need for businesses, colleges, and communities to prepare for a new and radically different recruiting equation.
So there are the problems but how do we pull a “Patch Adams” and focus less on the problem and find solutions? Here are some suggestions:
Let the Candidates Drive
There is one consistent comment on candidate feedback surveys: the process is confusing and takes too long! To add insult to injury, the candidate is sometimes placed in a role that isn’t a fit which ultimately turns into a quick quit and kills your branding.
Who better to be creative in candidate attraction than Amazon. According to their news site, they’ve released their hiring program called BestFit as a way to attract the top talent in the market.
The best, most rewarding part of my job is connecting people with a role where they will thrive and grow. We have tens of thousands of opportunities, and my team works obsessively to improve the experience for those who want to come join us. That means helping candidates save time when navigating our open positions and—most importantly—giving them choices when it comes to relevant roles.https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/how-amazon-is-simplifying-the-job-hunt
The program is designed to streamline the recruiting process while allowing candidates to have an opportunity to consider multiple roles within the organization. Amazon is competing to fill 10,000 open software developer positions-a highly competitive marketspace at the moment. Rather than focusing on the competitive market, labor shortage and other issues, the firm took the approach of redesigning the candidate experience as a competitive advantage. Pretty ingenious approach.
This idea terrifies some recruiters because what really happens when we put the candidate in control of their own future? Interestingly enough, I think this is the perfect example of how we need to continue to focus on the candidate experience and redesign our mindsets and processes to remain relevant. It will definitely bring a lot of gaps to light but it’s passed time for us to reconsider how to focus not just on recruiting top talent but how to retain them. This might be a great first step.
If you’re in a tight market, it might be a good idea to consider how you could replicate this program. Could you batch jobs that share the same competencies? Maybe have hiring managers from various departments conduct your panel interviews or participate in the early selection process to cut down on the number of interviews while giving candidates more opportunities with your firm.
Reconsider your Targets
LinkedIn News released earlier this week that close to 4 million workers resigned in April alone. I’ve written about analysts’ warnings about The Great Resignation, but it seems that things are accelerating ahead of projections. As the labor shortage increases, it will force a lot of companies to rethink the persona of some of their jobs.
I’ve long said job descriptions need to evolve but like many other parts of recruiting, COVID has forced us to rethink how we market and recruit qualified candidates. The very definition of qualified is becoming ambiguous as companies are forced to relook at the idea of hiring based on competencies and aptitude versus minimum technical qualifications. This is going to be a hard sell for some fixed mindset hiring managers who somehow still think that we can recruit the way we did 10 years ago. Hate to tell you hiring manager, “it ain’t going to work.”
An initial step to consider in this transition is working with your hiring team to analyze their top performers and create what I call a “Success Persona”. Focus more on what makes those performers top of the class versus what technical skills they possess. If there are required certifications or skills needed for a particular role, perhaps work with the internal training team or external certification classes to grow your own talent.
Once you’ve completed this step, you can shift your focus to finding the type of talent who will excel in your open roles and train them to be what you need. Believe it or not, this is a great pitch to perspective candidates who just want a chance at a dream job. Studies have shown the retention of such employees is usually higher than those you hire from competitors.
Money isn’t Everything
The shift from office to working from home last year opened a lot of eyes to the quality of life factor in job offers. Candidates want to know they can work for a company that will offer flexibility and the option to have work/life integration. The pandemic has allowed some workers to build greater bonds with their families and others have just enjoyed a better work-life balance. Recent studies have cited if two competing jobs offer similar pay and benefits, being able to work from home an extra day may tip the proverbial scale in one direction.
Another interesting change is the view of benefits being part of the total compensation. While many recruiters have sold this idea to candidates in the past, it really didn’t click until the pandemic. Over the last sixty days, many of the candidates I’ve worked with have asked about benefit costs, not to understand the net effect on their paycheck but to view them as part of the total compensation. It’s an interesting shift that will cause a lot of companies to rethink how they package benefits going forward.
Instead of focusing on all of the challenges in the talent market, perhaps try focusing on innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of your organization. It’s a great time to involve your hiring partners to develop new ways to attract and retain top talent in your industry. It may also be the perfect time to reinvent your entire process and use this market as a competitive advantage!
What are some innovative ways you’re competing in this market?
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