Growing your business in a competitive labor market

Follow these six guidelines to help you recruit—and retain—the best talent.

Finding the right people to grow your company can be tricky, especially in today’s labor market. For the first time in 20 years, there were more job openings than people looking for work, the U.S. Department of Labor reported in July 2018. That means there’s more competition for talent.

“You’ll always have people applying,” says Ryan King, Head of Regions Talent Acquisition. “They just might not be the applicants you’re looking for or need for your business.”

King says keeping your business moving, and staying a step ahead of growth, requires a plan. And as you create a talent recruitment plan, it’s important to consider your current employees. “You should always be preparing for not only growth, but also for talent to leave your company, because that’s going to happen,” he says.

Here are a few ways to prepare.

Always Recruit

Even when you aren’t hiring, you should be building a talent pipeline. Pay attention to your competitors, keep an eye on promising candidates on LinkedIn and go to networking events. This can help you meet and build relationships with people you may want to hire.

“When you’re under pressure to add to your team or replace someone who’s leaving the company, you’re not starting at ground zero,” says Dwight Julbert, Head of Regions Talent Management and Acquisition. “You can tap into a pool of talented individuals—some of whom might be at a time in their career or their life when they’re ready to make a change.”

Make Every Employee A Recruiter

Enlist the help of your current employees. You never know when an employee could meet a candidate, so be sure everyone knows what to say.

“You want everyone to be able to go out and tell their own story about how much they love to work at your company, how it’s a great environment to work in and what it’s really like to work there,” Julbert says.

It’s also important to make sure your employees don’t say the wrong thing when recruiting. Julbert and King recommend having managers work closely with your human resources department, or a human resources consultant if you don’t have your own team, to understand the parameters of what employers can ask potential candidates. It’s also important to provide a clear message about which company qualities you want employees to highlight when they talk to potential candidates.

Keep The Talent You Have

Recruiting new talent takes time, and bringing new talent into your organization can be expensive. “You’ll have to spend time and possibly money to train them, and you’ll have downtime from a productivity standpoint as they get up to speed—all of those things add up,” King says.

The expense of recruiting and training—and going back to the drawing board if new employees turn out to be the wrong fit—makes a strong case for retaining the talent you have.

“You’ve got talent within your organization with a known work ethic, a known performance level and institutional knowledge of your company,” Julbert says. “Remember, they’re probably getting calls from recruiters too.”

Julbert says keeping current employees engaged is key. “Make sure they’re being recognized, and talk to them about their own personal and professional growth,” he says. “It’s typically not money that drives someone away. It’s the feeling that they’re not doing their best work, they’re not challenged, or they don’t feel they have a clear career path.”

Think Beyond Salary

Working on employee engagement can help you discover what aspects of your company might appeal to new recruits. It’s important to be clear about what your company offers beyond salary. “When we go out and recruit, we often find that our candidates are also being recruited by competitors,” King says. “We have to be able to compete on more than salary alone, like our company culture, our values, how we do business and other strengths that set us apart.”

King adds that, more and more, candidates are asking about things like company performance, culture, long-term benefits, work-life balance and other factors they value.

Understand Your Options

In some cases, it might make sense to bring on freelancers to cover short-term needs. This gives you a way to keep moving in times of growth and develop a working relationship with freelancers who might be interested in a full-time opportunity.

If you work with freelancers regularly, make sure you understand the trade-offs. These workers won’t have the same institutional knowledge you’d get with a full-time employee.

You might also consider hiring remote employees. Technology makes it possible for professionals across industries to work remotely and still collaborate with your team. Offering remote working arrangements broadens the talent pool.

This path comes with trade-offs too. Julbert says managers should communicate frequently with remote employees to ensure they are working well in this environment. “They might have the right skill set, but they also need the right mindset and discipline to work from home or apart from the rest of the team,” Julbert says.

Know Your Audience

Ultimately, attracting talented employees comes down to being the most attractive employer to the talent you want to reach. That means you need to understand what’s most important to different types of candidates in addition to what you have to offer.

“Understanding in advance what’s important to candidates can help you make decisions about the environment you want to create so you can appeal to the talent you want,” Julbert says.


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This information is provided for educational and general marketing purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation or suggestion as to the advisability of acquiring, holding or disposing of a particular investment, nor should it be construed as a suggestion or indication that the particular investment or investment course of action described herein is appropriate for any specific retirement investor. In providing this communication, Regions is not undertaking to provide impartial investment advice or to give advice in a fiduciary capacity.