Finding—and keeping—dedicated workers has always been a challenge for the staffing industry. It’s the nature of the beast. But in the wake of the current labor shortage, it’s become an increasingly pressing problem.
In a recent survey, staffing professionals ranked the labor shortage their single greatest challenge this year. If you don’t have enough workers to fill your clients’ open positions, how can you possibly grow your business?
Compounding the problem: many workers in the staffing industry don’t stick around for a second assignment. According to that same survey, only 13% of respondents say they’re redeploying workers at least 50% of the time. And so the endless recruiting cycle continues.
But there are steps that staffing firms can take to better recruit and retain the most talented hourly workers, even in the midst of a labor shortage. It starts by being open to doing things differently. For example, could any of these ideas benefit you?
1. Enhance the Job Application Experience
Your mother was right: you only get one chance to make a first impression. Your candidates’ experience during the initial application process will affect how far they’re willing to go for you.
So, how long does it take for a candidate to complete your online job application? Is the process frustration free? Is it mobile friendly? Keep in mind: 86% of candidates begin their job search by smartphone, and 60% of job seekers will abandon an online application if they find it too long or frustrating.
The faster and easier you make it for candidates to apply, the more will find their way to you.
2. Work at Becoming an Employer of Choice
Your company undoubtedly makes a concerted effort to attract and please its target customers. Do you do the same for employees? Try to identify what qualities draw your best candidates and workers to you, then amplify that messaging across your website, social media presence, job posts, etc.
Admittedly, it’s challenging to promote employee engagement and create a vibrant company culture when you’re managing a scattered, distributed workforce. But by putting extra effort into internal communications and seeking opportunities to build camaraderie, you can help your people feel like proud to work for you.
3. Emphasize Employee Recognition
Hourly workers in the staffing industry care deeply about their compensation—but that’s not all. Research indicates that employees universally crave job recognition and are motivated by strength-based feedback.
So make sure you have compelling recognition programs in place. Even modest rewards—gift cards, some PTO time—can mean a lot. In addition, train your field managers to provide positive performance feedback. Remember, personal recognition just might make the difference between whether a worker returns once a job is done or decides to move elsewhere.
4. Beef Up Your Employee Referral Program
Referral programs are highly effective in many aspects of business, and recruiting is no exception. In fact, nearly one-third of staffing firms report that referrals from existing workers are their number one source of new talent.
Think: how do you thank employees who bring in new candidates—and are there ways to make your referral program even more enticing?
Keep in mind: by nurturing your workers and enhancing their on-the-job experience, you’re not only more likely to keep them on your bench, but increase the odds of getting a great referral from them.
5. Upgrade Your Applicant Tracking Software
When you’re engaged in continuous, high-volume talent acquisition, a powerful recruiting and applicant tracking system isn’t optional.
For example, does your current applicant tracking software allow you to post on multiple job boards and social sites simultaneously? Does it allow you to sort and classify candidates quickly? Will it send an automatic acknowledgement when a candidate submits a completed job application? It should—otherwise your recruiting and HR staff are spending too much time on unimportant stuff.
In Short, Give Yourself Every Edge
Savvy staffing firms are employing a wide range of strategies to combat the current labor shortage. Without a doubt, HR technology is one of the best tools at your disposal—provided it is tailored to meet your specific needs.
At EPAY Systems, one of our specialties is serving the staffing industry. Our integrated HCM system includes advanced recruiting and applicant software, not to mention enhanced onboarding capabilities designed for high-volume environments. Furthermore, our flexible time and labor management system is specifically built for tracking a distributed workforce (we even won an award for it from the American Staffing Association).