Sunday, September 25, 2011
Recruiting, Retention and the Unemployed 2011 Outlook
Retaining talent may seem like an easy thing to do in a global economy like today where having a job may be good enough for most of us. However, that isn’t the case. Even with huge numbers of people unemployed and available in the labor market pool, companies still prefer to target recruiting from the competition. I even heard from a recruiter that will remain nameless in Chicago that the recruiting team he is a member of will not consider folks that have been laid off or unemployed. Why are recruiters overlooking the countless number of people looking for work? The answers may surprise you.
Traditionally recruiters internal within companies and staffing agencies have always been keen on targeting staff off the competition to recruit from. Why? This answer is based on one primary reason – that is companies don’t like to let their competitors know they are being targeted to avoid what could be considered an act of “talent war”. In the late 90s it was not unlikely to leave work only to find that the competition had flierd the parking lot with help wanted ads and offering “happy hour” at a nearby hotel where you could interview. No-a-days the talent war is online and going mobile.
To many recruiters there is a stigma that if you consider someone that is unemployed or been laid off that they are the “bottom of the barrel” candidates. Though we all know this is not the case, the tendency for recruiters to bypass the unemployed continues. It is almost better to not say you are unemployed and eliminate that term from your vocabulary. In this case the choice of words can be discriminating. I would encourage you to replace with unemployed with “recently back on the market”.
Retaining talent is not easy for companies even after new hires start. Wages have dropped and in many cases productivity is up due to working with less staff – thus people having to be stressed to work harder or longer hours. This has a negative effect on staff morale. It does not help when legacy staff that has experienced the pay decreases and visibility to the turn-over to negatively influence staff either.
What companies should do is use the opportunity of the times to separate themselves from other competitors that have to take more drastic measures to survive. One way to do that is to focus on retention programs to keep staff as long as possible and ride out the financial storm. This can be done by a variety of strategies aimed to make the workplace interesting, fun and rewarding.
First of all, think about how develop talent. What is the career path for everyone in the company? How is it that the receptionist can go from that job to the CEO someday? If you have a well-crafted career path for all staff and a documented process from which staff can follow at their own speed to influence the promotion eligible pool.
Second, what are you doing to reward talent that shows up to work on time, does not take extended lunch breaks, staff that mentors others so they can be successful, does whatever it takes to get the job done, and true team players? Think up a way to reward such staff by having an internal “refer a colleague contest” whereby people can nominate each other based on good demonstrated behavior. Make this part of your career path program as it supports the kind of culture you will want to have.
Lastly, have your staff recommend somebody looking for a job. Recruiters will always consider internal referrals and often care less about candidates that are unemployed or not. Now you know the “work around”.
- Gregorio Cardenas-Vazquez, September 19, 2011