A hiring road map: tips to navigate key trends in the hourly landscape

May 29, 2012 | by Amanda Richardson
A hiring road map: tips to navigate key trends in the hourly landscape

If you're tossing and turning at night thinking about healthcare reform, increasing minimum wage or whether or not you should start a Facebook page for your business, I have bad news. These trends are impacting more than your sleep habits. They're also influencing your ability to recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your frontline workforce.

The good news is that by understanding the trends impacting the hourly landscape, and how they influence your hiring, you can transform these trends from road blocks to nothing more than a bump in the road. While the five external factors below are beyond your control, if you adapt your hiring practices, you'll be more prepared to ride with the trends rather than try to avoid them.

Anchors on your bottom line: costs are rising
Increases in hard costs – labor, food, commodities, etc. – are prompting businesses to look for ways to offset costs to keep their bottom lines in shape. Decreasing staff may be a first thought, but when you move to a skeleton crew, customer service will suffer. And according to Harris Interactive, 86 percent of people say they've stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service. Building assessments into your application process will improve your hiring by identifying which applicants are most likely to stay engaged in their work. Engaged employees are productive employees, and productive employees strengthen a bottom line. Cutting employees or stopping hiring will not help the bottom line. But hiring smarter will.

The unknown: election year jitters
It's election year and with a big question mark in the air until November, businesses don't know what's to come for key influencers such as healthcare reform, tax rates and the budget. Regardless of who wins the election, the best way to ensure your business stays strong is to hire a frontline workforce that delivers customer service that drives brand loyalty. But you can't hire the best if the best don't apply. You have numerous talent sourcing methods available, but the most-proven approach is to speak directly to your target audience through a specialized job site. When you start with a pool of applicants looking for the types of jobs you have to offer, the task of hiring the strong performers starts off on the right foot.

Careful adoption of the latest trends: social media tsunami
Facebook and Pinterest and mobile, oh my! With the launch of every new technology or social trend comes the pressure for businesses to dive right in or risk losing market share. But we've seen some savvy businesses step back and assess the landscape before adopting the newest "thing." If your business isn't ready to keep up with the traffic that social media can provide, or if you're not ready to optimize every customer-facing portal for mobile, there are partners who can help and there may be other ways to achieve your end goal. My advice is to be sure you can commit to maintaining a presence before you jump in.

Surveying high-growth industries: turnover may stunt growth
Consumer demand and economic factors drive industry growth, and in the coming years, the healthcare, child care and automotive industries, among others, will see an increase in demand and need for hiring. But unless you hire in a way that leads to less turnover, you will always be one step behind. At the same time, if your industry isn't projected for growth, you could lose employees to growing industries if you don't keep a close eye on your retention strategies. By putting your jobs in front of the right audience, assessing applicants against the core characteristics of your business and offering an integrated training program to keep employees engaged, you'll be able to meet demand (or keep the best employees working for you).

Increased attention on illegal workers: sometimes you don't want press
The discussion over illegal immigration and employers who hire illegal workers is getting louder. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits are on the rise and every employer can be audited. In a high turnover industry, including hourly industries, it's critical that employers always have their ducks in a row when it comes to employment eligibility. Staying compliant can be an uphill battle for employers, but if you use integrated online hiring software, your documentation process can go from complex to consistently compliant.

You can try to steer clear of the trends in the hourly industry, but in the end, these trends will influence your business. While these factors are out of your control, you can adapt your method of hourly hiring and retention to build a better approach that works with the trends instead of against them. And when you spin the trends to work in your favor, you may find that hiring becomes easy street.

For more insight on these trends and actionable steps to help weather the storm, read our white paper: 5 hourly hiring trends: how to adapt to grow.

Topics: Customer Service / Experience, Hiring and Retention, Operations Management, Staffing & Training, Systems / Technology, Trends / Statistics

Amanda Richardson
As SVP of Product and Marketing, Amanda manages product development of Snagajob's business solutions making it easier for hourly employers to source, hire, manage and train workers. She is also responsible for business development efforts. Oh, and she loves brunch. wwwView Amanda Richardson's profile on LinkedIn

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