A Data-Driven Look at the Hiring Trends That Are Working Today

The economy is strong, and as a result, many employers are finding themselves struggling to hire talent in a tight labor market. For the first time in years, job seekers are receiving multiple offers, and employees are keeping their options open for their next opportunity. Mid-size businesses need strategies in place for competing for top talent. Here’s a closer look at the hiring trends that are working today — and the steps you can take to implement these ideas to address your top recruiting and retention concerns.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Onboarding

Employees are interested in employers that can give them the best experience. According to research published by the Society for Human Resource Management, that begins on day one of employment. SHRM research found that one-third of all new hires leave their jobs within the first six months. Yet employees who went through structured onboarding programs were 58% more likely to be with the company three years later.

Consider these elements of a successful onboarding experience:

  • Smooth, efficient processing of employment verification and benefits documents
  • An introduction to the company’s culture
  • Easy to access resources on key policies
  • Demos and training on the company’s products and services
  • Seamless technology integration, with computers and mobile devices that are configured, and software access and email accounts ready to go on day one
  • Streamlined introductions to manager and team, as well as connections to others outside their immediate role
  • Ongoing HR support and check-ins for the first 90 days

Companies Are Surfacing Better Candidates with Automation

Increasingly, firms are turning to automated HR technology to streamline their processes. Today’s automated recruiting tools can help firms surface the best candidates, speed up the hiring process and reduce the days to fill critical job requisitions. According to Forbes, half of recruiters note that finding great candidates is the hardest part of their job, and talent acquisitions employees spend a third of their workweek on sourcing.

Companies are turning to the 70 different types of automation technology — and that number is growing — to work smarter while getting more done. Forbes notes, “While many will sensationalize the notion of artificial intelligence (AI) by conjuring up images of witty robots and faceless companies, don’t be fooled. Recruiting automation is designed to give recruiters a promotion, not replace them altogether. Employers are already adopting recruiting automation tools that do everything from source candidates to schedule interviews, screen applicants and even conduct background checks. The purpose is to give recruiters more time to be creative and strategic. Much like Salesforce and other sales automation tools did not render sales professionals obsolete, we anticipate a similar trajectory for recruiting automation.”

For brands thinking about ways to improve their recruiting strategies in 2019, there are a few key considerations:

  • What are your biggest recruiting pain points? Are you struggling with finding technical talent, or do long delays in your process mean that you lose top candidates to other opportunities?
  • What technology tools are available to help you? Consider what a company should do when they have many applicants for jobs but aren’t able to process them quickly. AI tools can help screen and evaluate applicants to identify the best candidates quickly.
  • Do your hiring and recruiting tools support each other and communicate effectively? If not, technology-driven delays could be bogging down your process, further compounding the very issues they’re meant to alleviate.

HR Gets Into the Data

Data-driven management has transformed the way professionals in every field view their work and measure their success. HR has been a leader in that space, and it’s likely to continue as brands look at metrics and data to better hone their hiring strategies. Hire with Google notes that recruiters are using a variety of data points to improve their performance. For brands that need better visibility into metrics, 2019 offers the opportunity to:

  • Identify priority metrics that align with your hiring and recruiting needs. It’s important to consider aspects such as time to hire, as well as metrics that reflect the candidate or employee experience.
  • Design a data-gathering and analysis plan to baseline your current performance. Set goals, and then reassess how you’re doing on a quarterly basis.
  • For mid-size firms, ongoing data gathering and analysis can be challenging with small HR teams. Finding the right technology tools can automate data gathering and analysis, freeing up your team to focus on identifying insights and putting them into action.

Diversity and Inclusion Gets an Increased Focus

As Forbes notes, companies are working hard to engage a wider range of candidates. Focusing on diversity and inclusion throughout the hiring process is helping companies overcome biases around gender, ethnicity, class, age and other areas that can come into play during the hiring process. According to the Harvard Business Review, diverse teams are smarter and companies with diverse employees tend to perform better. Forbes points out three key ways brands are incorporating approaches for more inclusive hiring:

  • Using blind resume screens, which eliminate identifying information — such as names or the schools a candidate attended — during initial viewing to help reduce bias
  • Consciously engaging with a diverse cross-section of the company in the hiring process, to get a wider perspective on candidates
  • Looking for ways to attract alternate path candidates, by taking steps such as looking at transferrable skills or eliminating college degree requirements

Employee Retention and Engagement Are Under the Spotlight

HR teams aren’t just focused on recruiting new talent. They’re also finding ways to continually invest in retaining and engaging their existing workers. The Workforce Institute suggests several areas where employers can focus:

  • Investing in employee recognition wherever possible
  • Helping employees understand how they’re making a difference
  • Creating shift schedules to maximize time off
  • Offering as much time off as possible as part of your benefits package

In addition, HR leaders of mid-size companies are turning toward technology tools that measure employee engagement to help better understand how their companies are performing and what steps they can take to improve the employee experience. With that baseline, they’re then taking specific steps to make changes, whether that’s upgrading company benefits and compensation or finding ways to make improvements in the company culture. Small changes can make a significant difference in whether employees feel appreciated and valued, and whether they’re focusing on the work at hand or busy keeping an eye out for their next opportunities. HR teams that are strategically working to retain their best talent can identify issues, put solutions in place and help improve employee retention and engagement.

Having the right team in place is an essential part of achieving your most important goals in the year ahead. Yet for many brands, the hiring landscape has changed after several years of abundant candidates and fewer job requisitions. Instead, today’s companies are finding that they need to be strategic about the way they source candidates, use technology, on board and manage employee relationships. By exploring what’s happening at your business and taking the time to lay the foundation for successful HR, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring you have the talent you need to reach your goals.

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