(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad, a provider of talent activation technology. Check out their latest research, “The Awakening: Onboarding Emerges as a Strategic Driver.” The report details how organizational leadership increasingly sees improved onboarding as a strategic imperative to support the success of the business. It’s a must-read for any talent acquisition professional. Enjoy today’s article!)
Regular readers of HR Bartender know that the majority of my corporate experience is in the hospitality, entertainment, and transportation industries. These industries are known for talent being a key differentiator in delivering business results. For example, all hotels have beds. And airlines have seats. While we could argue all day about the quality of the physical products, my guess is that we would agree that the key difference is with their people. We don’t remember what soap was in the hotel room or the snacks on the plane. We remember how we were treated.
But another thing these industries are known for is being highly competitive when it comes to talent acquisition. When people are a key differentiator for your business, you want the best. And organizations are willing to pull out all the stops to get it.
As the labor market continues to challenge us, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the strategies that highly competitive industries use when trying to attract the best talent.
- Workforce planning is conducted regularly. When you’re constantly in a talent acquisition mode, you have to understand talent supply and demand. We regularly looked at what was happening in the labor market, particularly in technical roles like culinary and flight operations, where having specialized credentials and licenses were necessary.
- Successful recruiters in these industries don’t wait for requisitions. Because it was common to be looking for a needle in a haystack when it comes to managerial positions, when we found someone who was a fit, we hired them. If they were the right person, they were capable of being flexible about their responsibilities. Ultimately, the new hires would pay for themselves.
- Hiring managers are engaged in the process. Since managers knew they could hire the right talent without a requisition, they were very engaged in the hiring process. That doesn’t mean they didn’t consult HR or that the sources surfaced by talent acquisition didn’t work. It simply meant that “everyone” was a part of the recruiting effort.
- They treat candidates like customers. The people who applied for jobs at the hotel, theme park, or airline could also be customers at the hotel, theme park, or airline. So, our goal was for every candidate to remain a raving fan of the business – even if we turned them down for a job. One of the biggest ways we did that was by following up with every single applicant.
- Pre-boarding includes learning the product or service. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of value in having candidates pre-board by completing new hire paperwork. But we took the extra step of making sure new hires were able to experience the product or service. For example, front desk agents spent a night in the hotel to experience the place the same way a guest would.
With unemployment at historic lows, organizations everywhere might consider themselves in a “competitive industry” situation. And it’s important to note that competition isn’t reserved just for your industry. If the majority of the jobs you hire have lots of transferable skills, geography can also be competition. When I worked in hotels, another hotel wasn’t always my competition. It might be the retail store or call center nearby. Our employees were able to do those jobs. Working in a highly-competitive industry can really keep you on your toes.
So, as you’re entering “budget season”, think about your candidate and employee experiences. Are there activities that talent acquisition should commit to, like making sure every applicant gets a reply? Now’s the time to start putting those implementation plans in place. Because by all indications, the recruiting function in 2019 isn’t going to get any easier.
P.S. Speaking of 2019, there is another area HR might want to focus on the employee experience. Specifically onboarding and creating engagement. Join me and the SilkRoad team on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 1p Central/2p Eastern for a webinar on ”High-Turnover Organizations: How to Onboard and Engage New Hires”. As always, if you’re already booked and can’t make the live session, sign up anyway and listen to the recording. It’s been pre-approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit. Onboarding is the new hire’s first impression. In a competitive hiring landscape, you want that impression to be a good one!15