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Prepare for Peak: Creating a Culture to Attract Quality Talent

By Sonya Buckley, Chief People Officer

I first learned about the inverse relationship between supply and demand in my high school Economics class: when something is in short supply, demand for it increases. That concept fascinated me then and still does. Today’s job market is all about supply and demand; there are more jobs open than there are people looking for work resulting in businesses having a difficult time finding the quality talent that they need.

In a June 2018 survey of 10,000 small-business owners/members conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, 21% of owners said the challenge to find qualified workers was their single most important business problem. As we approach peak hiring season, companies must strategically address this critical issue to successfully attract quality talent. Wages are important, but there are other key factors to consider.

Does Your Company Culture Attract Quality Talent?

As you prepare for peak, it’s important to understand what attracts people to your company and makes them want to stay. It’s definitely an employee’s market, so you have to have an appealing workplace and culture to attract talent. If not, people can simply go to a company across the street and get hired at a place that does.

Many things make up a company’s culture and say a lot to potential employees. One of the factors with the biggest impact are the people in your organization. Others are how well you hire, train and onboard new talent; whether incremental increases are a possibility; the stability and length of assignments; and what value adds you offer such as training and coaching opportunities.

At Hire Dynamics, we put an average of 8,500 people to work every week. We are known for our ability to help leaders build a ‘best place to work’ culture. We know that a people-focused culture that values transparency, practices open feedback and ensures employees have a say in the company attracts the best workers.

Assess your culture. Take a look at your culture. Does your company have an entrepreneurial spirit, or do you operate in a more structured manner? Keep that in mind so you can assess if potential talent fit your culture. Also look at how you onboard, train and motivate talent. Are there opportunities for job advancement? Do you offer wage increases at 30, 60 or 90-day increments or an end-of-season completion bonus?  How well do supervisors listen to, communicate with and coach employees? The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about your company and its culture.

Plan to hire well. When planning for peak season, it’s important that you allow time to hire the proper talent for your needs and onboard them when they arrive. If you place new people directly into their roles with little guidance, you will ultimately end up with demotivated employees, decreased productivity and unhappy customers.

 Evaluate the stability and length of assignments you offer. In today’s market, companies must offer hours that appeal to employees. Take a look at how you structure work assignments. Are your hours similar each week or do they fluctuate? Also review your overtime practice. It can be a great selling point for some talent while burning out employees. Get creative with your hours during peak. Consider offering part-time and/or weekend shifts or having people float between shifts. Look at adding team leads. That’s a practice we encourage to relieve supervisors who suddenly double their number of direct reports during peak while offering employees an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.

 Explore your Value Adds. What do you extend to seasonal talent as a value-added incentive to work for you? Consider these options:

  • What kind of work do you offer and how flexible can you be?
  • Do you offer cross training or allow talent to pick up additional shifts?
  • What kind of coaching can you offer talent that will make them more attractive for advancement or future placements?
  • Do you treat peak employees as part of your total team? Do they understand how what they are doing contributes to your company’s success? Do you include them in incentives like pizza parties or leave them out?

Training as a differentiator.  Over the past few years, Walmart has invested in a training program that teaches employees management and merchandising skills. They also offer computer-based and in-store training to entry-level employees. Companies in the building trade industry have maintained a supply of skilled workers in this tight labor market in part by offering comprehensive training and innovative apprenticeship programs.

Communication and coaching pack a punch. Regular and open communication and constructive coaching is attractive to talent. Your supervisors should be able to explain how each role, including seasonal, contributes to the company’s success. They should also establish meaningful and measurable goals, monitor performance and provide constructive feedback. Quality talent values this as a way to help them advance in their careers.

Hire Dynamics can help you explore cross-training options and assess how well your supervisors communicate with and coach their team members. We can also guide you on easy ways to help seasonal talent feel like part of your team. Ending a shift a few minutes early to let everyone enjoy an ice cream party goes a long way to building team morale and cohesion.

Expertise to Help You Prepare for Peak

Establishing your company as a place where people want to work is key in this lopsided labor market and an important part of preparing for peak. Hire Dynamics has knowledgeable experts who can help you evaluate your company culture, your types/structure of assignments and the value adds you can offer. Through talent surveys and exit interviews, we gain key insight into a company. We also know what other companies in your market offer. We partner with leaders and help them build relationships at all levels of an organization. Let us help you navigate this tight labor market by assessing your culture and ensuring your company is attractive to top talent.

Call your local Hire Dynamics representative or contact us here to place an order for talent that is ready to work for you this peak season!  And follow our blog series as we reveal more tips, resources and specific strategies that you can use.

This is the second part of our Peak Preparedness Planning blog series.

Peak Preparedness Planning Part 1: Are You Prepared for Peak?

Peak Preparedness Planning Part 3: Paying Competitive Wages

Peak Preparedness Planning Part 4: Streamline the Hiring Process

To download our exclusive case study on competitive wages, click here.

© 2018 Hire Dynamics, LLC.

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