3 hard truths about today’s biggest HR challenge 

Reports from the human resources front lines of companies across Cleveland shine a spotlight on today’s most prevalent HR challenge — recruiting. Across all industries, companies are struggling with identifying, attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring and onboarding the employees they need.

And it’s firms with outdated recruitment practices that are struggling most. To remedy these recruitment woes, leadership must examine three hard truths.

Your compensation may not be where it should be. Inconsistencies in compensation are more the rule than the norm today, and companies not keeping up will have trouble recruiting. Getting it right means more than just making one change; it means consistently evaluating where you are. These periodic compensation reviews should include questions such as:

  • How do your wages compare to those of your competitors and the cost of living?
  • Is it feasible for you to offer monetary incentives for signing?
  • Have you invested in/referenced compensation data reports?
  • Who is leading your compensation analysis review?

Your total employee experience probably isn’t great. The attractiveness of a job is not based solely on compensation. How do you measure up on the following?

  • How do you support work-life balance? This isn’t just about providing the ability to work from home, which isn’t feasible for many industries. To use a football analogy, if you’re a passing team and your offensive line is built to pass block, you can’t suddenly become a running team. Employers must look for other ways to be flexible. Instead of a five-day work week, can you offer four 10-hour shifts? Provide ride services to avoid commuting issues? Relocation incentives? Can any work be completed at satellite locations? Be creative in finding ways to offer flexibility.
  • Are you making employees feel safe and respected? It’s important to clearly communicate COVID protocols. Don’t forget about mental health benefits, as many companies underutilize these. Also, emphasizing respect in the workplace helps to avoid conflicts that arise from differences. Respect should be part of all your communications and an important part of your culture.
  • Does your onboarding process give new employees the support they need? Good onboarding immerses an employee into the organization to become invested not just in their job but in the company’s mission. Invest the time, energy and resources to make this happen. Also consider extending onboarding into ongoing training programs.

Your recruiting process needs a revamp. Companies need to put forth as much effort marketing to candidates as they do to customers. Consider the following.

  • When is the last time you updated your job descriptions? Does the description paint a positive picture of your culture?
  • Expand narrow placement criteria. Can you tap into a nontraditional workforce? Nontraditional workers are vastly underemployed and often have higher productivity.

Effective recruiting remains vital as small businesses struggle with the labor shortage. In September, a record high 50 percent of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill. For now, the best approach is to focus on the hard truths to make small businesses more competitive and attractive to job seekers.

Mark D’Agostino is president of ConnectedHR