Post Pandemic Hiring: Employee-Centric Messaging, Talent On Demand & Work-Life Integration
With a record-shattering 4.3% of the American workforce quitting their jobs in August alone, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the post-pandemic workplace has changed for good. COVID-19 and the sudden shift to work-from-home demonstrated that responsive employers can retain staff, but they also showed Americans’ willingness to walk away from jobs that make them unhappy. It’s safe to say that COVID changed candidate and employer expectations about what work should look like. So how do we recruit in a world post-covid?
Since talent acquisition metrics from as recent as 2019 no longer apply, it’s time for recruiters to get creative and to change approaches. Attracting top talent and employees who will stay with your organization is possible. To do it, you’ll need to focus on employee-centric messaging, talent on demand, and work-life integration.
The shift in recruiting to candidate- and employee-centric messaging isn’t entirely new. A 2015 recruiter sentiment survey found that 90% of recruiters already said that the job market was candidate-driven. But, like with many other trends, the pandemic has accelerated the speed at which the shift happened, and some recruiters may be struggling to keep up with changing language and viewpoints.
At its essence, employee-centric messaging means that recruiters and HR managers should compose recruiting messages based on what potential employees can get, rather than on what you’re looking for. In skills and qualities, think of “you have” rather than “we need.” Potential employees are increasingly interested in clear explanations of pay, benefits and what the job demands, and with as much competition for the attention of candidates, recruiting messaging that doesn’t address specific details runs the risk of being ignored. Be clear, simple and direct in messaging and you’re more likely to grab attention.
Talent On Demand
By the end of 2021, more than half of skilled workers will be gig workers, according to contingent workforce management firm ProUnlimited. Contingent workers and freelancers are becoming more common; after a chaotic year and a half of pandemic shifts, workers are more willing to accept uncertainty and change, and trade that for rewarding work. Workers are looking to explore their talents and use a wide set of skills. The pandemic made it obvious that skilled workers can often do that work anywhere — and they’d like to continue to do so.
Part of this “talent on demand” is also the willingness to train up. The best potential employees want to grow with your company and are looking for opportunities for advancement. The recent change in job seekers’ behavior shows that employees want growth and skills training.
In July 2021, Recruiting Daily and Oracle published a guide to post-pandemic recruiting. At the base of their argument is the idea that “Today’s workers don’t think about work-life balance so much as work-life integration.” This work-life integration means that the pandemic has shifted workers’ priorities towards more emphasis on the family and on pursuing non-work-related interests. At the same time, though the shift to remote work also allowed workers to adapt to technologies that allow more freedom of location and work. Thus, many skilled employees are now accustomed to being responsive and adaptive, always connected to the office. Smart hiring managers can work with potential employees to focus on time for themselves, while also providing the tools employees need to stay connected.
Recruiting messaging should be about flexibility, workplace culture and understanding of candidates’ needs and interests. Many workers have realized that time is money, and that maybe they’d rather have more of the former than the latter. So, although compensation should be a part of your messaging, it shouldn’t take up the bulk of it. Today’s employees are looking for more than just bigger hourly wages.
As we head into what looks to be an especially challenging holiday season for hiring, there are definitely more upheavals to come. It is becoming more apparent that this is not as simple as a labor shortage: it’s a re-assessment of career objectives and priorities. What has been dubbed “the great resignation” has been going on for several months now. As a result, recruiters will be scrambling to fill critical vacancies. Everyone is hiring, everyone is desperate, so recruiters really need to stand out in the crowd. Clear messaging is an important part of recruiting, and it’s more important now than ever as we face supply chain delays and a great shift in employees.