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The War on Talent: Facts, Trends & Tips to Win!

by Kim Wallace, Executive Vice President, Hire Dynamics

Ninth Annual Next Gen Manufacturing Event



With the unemployment rate at a fifty-year low of 3.7% and only .8 Americans available to fill the 7.2 million jobs open at the end of July, the U.S. is truly in a tight labor market. And the candidate is in the driver seat.

So, what can employers do to position themselves to fill open jobs with quality talent quickly?


Winning Trends

Hire Dynamics put 45,000 people to work last year at clients across the Southeast and sees what works for them in this market. Winning trends include leadership development, establishing partnerships with educational institutions, upskilling employees, focusing on employee engagement/culture and giving non-traditional workers an opportunity.

Companies that can promote from within have a marked advantage over those who cannot. To do this successfully, employers must establish succession plans and train stars for promotion. Then the training continues when stars move into new supervisory or managerial roles.

It is no secret that the U.S. is experiencing a skills gap, particularly in Manufacturing. We are beginning to see young adults choose alternatives to a 4-year college degree because they can earn good money sooner with a technical certification that costs less. Besides recruiting from colleges and universities, employers are establishing relationships with technical schools and high schools for freshly trained candidate pools.

Much of the technology that we learn is obsolete within five years. Therefore, it is equally important to upskill existing employees. We have seen on the job training and apprentice programs work. In addition, companies like Hire Dynamics offer scholarships to talent so that they can earn a certification that will enable them to make more money while also preparing them for skilled roles that are harder for us to fill.

Companies are also considering candidates that they may not have in the 90’s when the unemployment rate was high. Those populations include adults with special needs, moms who are returning to the workforce after staying home with children, retirees who want part-time work and even convicted felons whose charges fall within certain parameters. Autistic adults do well with repetitive Manufacturing tasks.


Tips to Win

You have to think out of the box in this employee market. Five winning tips include referrals, streamlining the hiring process, offering flexible schedules, working to have a Best Place to Work culture, and offering competitive pay rates.

Hire Dynamics’ #1 source for new hires is employee referrals – as it should be for a company whose vision is to be the #1 company that you would refer to a friend. Great employees know others like themselves so offer to reward them for referring friends and family members. We also host job fairs and take our mobile recruiting unit where talent live.

Time is of the essence. Quality talent will be working within two to three days if you do not extend an offer before they leave. Sometimes that means putting them to work before their background check is complete or only checking those things that are vital for their particular role. Regardless, employers must ensure that the hiring process is clear. If it takes three weeks to make an offer, then you must keep talking with them.

There are few things worse than having a new hire ghost you on their first day. Being able to offer flexible schedules helps, particularly with candidates that work more than one job, have childcare responsibilities or do not drive. Ask them what days, shifts or hours they prefer and provide them with schedules in advance. Another way to hedge against ghosting and retain new hires through their onboarding is to offer a bonus on their first day and another after 90 days.

Culture helps both attract and retain quality employees. Companies who can say that they have been named a Best Place to Work receive four to five times more candidates than others in their industry. Because Hire Dynamics has been named a Best Place to Work for twelve years, we are happy to coach others on how to improve your culture.

Last, offering competitive pay rates is critically important to attract talent. Our 2018 survey of recruiting professionals showed that offering competitive pay outweighed all other factors in recruiting and retaining talent and is twice as important for recruiting. Wages in the U.S. have increased 3.2% in the last year and will continue to do rise. If the pay rates that you offer have not grown since August 2018, then it is time to review them. Companies including Ben & Jerry’s, Costco, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo understand that insight and have recently raised their hourly pay rates to the $13-$17 range. Bank of America plans to raise their minimum rate from $17 to $20 in 2021. Other companies such as AT&T and Comcast gave one-time bonuses to non-management employees.


Competitive Insights

Hire Dynamics wants you to win and can help you determine what employers in your area offer. We have competitive wage analyses for your market and can show you what competitors are doing to recruit and retain talent. We also share insights, job satisfaction feedback and trends that we gather from talent satisfaction and exit surveys.

© 2019 Hire Dynamics, LLC

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