Recruitment and Retention Strategies for Staffing Companies
The labor landscape has changed dramatically following three years of the pandemic. During the Great Resignation of 2021, 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs just in the month of November alone. This mass exodus is more than a record-breaking quit rate, it reflects a major shift across all aspects of the workforce. People are rethinking their relationship with work and have much higher expectations from their employers than ever before.
A closer look at the numbers shows that not only are quit rates elevated, so too are hiring rates. November 2021 recorded not only record resignations, it was also the nation’s strongest hiring month since 2015. In a job seekers market, workers are feeling more confident to switch roles in search of better wages, benefits, and career opportunities. This is not just a short-term trend spurred on by the pandemic, it’s a continuation of a trend that began more than a decade ago. Now, more than ever employees are ready to walk away from jobs that do not meet their needs.
So how should staffing companies adapt to this dramatically altered labor environment? The most important strategy to follow when seeking to improve recruiting and retention efforts is to embrace digital transformation. New and emerging technologies are readily available to support and improve efficiencies. But more is needed to gain competitive advantage. In this article we look at six approaches to help improve recruitment and retention strategies.
Seven tactics to improve talent recruiting and retention
Following is a list of recommended tactics to better reach targeted talent, attract qualified candidates and retain good workers.
Know your niche
Niche recruiters are better able to access a concentrated pool of qualified candidates and build lasting relationships with the best talent in the industry. As you build that strength and become known for it, top talent will increasingly search out your team for job opportunities.
Further, working with a niche segment gives your staffing company the advantage of having a better perspective on the roles you’re recruiting for. From this advantage point your recruiting team can utilize specialized terminology and knowledge to speak with professional expertise to candidates. This makes a resounding impact on that important first call to a potential new employee.
Your marketing team is going to benefit too. Niche-centric job postings that include more focused keywords will rise to the top in search engines, and the organic channels your team develops will be far more effective.
Specialize if you can, when you can, and as soon as you can. Serving a niche market allows your staffing company to stand out as unique and enable you to upcharge clients for specialization in your sector.
Focus on referrals
Research verifies that word of mouth remains more effective than other types of marketing. In many industries, referrals are the gold standard way to get new clients and candidates. Staffing is no exception. Now is the time to tap that network in new ways.
Reach out to your channels and offer incentives to members of your network. If your happy candidates refer their friends to you, pay them a small commission or bonus. Extend this same incentive to existing employees and contractors.
Staffing companies hire referred candidates faster and more affordably than those acquired through other channels. More importantly, these candidates often have higher retention rates.
Responsiveness, recognition, and rewards
People want to feel appreciated. They want to feel like they’re contributing, and they want to feel like there is a rewarding career path for them. Create mechanisms for making employee feedback easy, then listen and respond to their comments.
Today more than ever, it is necessary to acknowledge and uplift people to keep them around. Most employees want to know that if they bring something up, if they have a concern or an idea, that someone is available to listen and take them seriously. While many employees leave because they’re not happy with the recognition they’re getting for their efforts, they also leave when they feel no one is listening. Have an open-door policy, or some other easy means for employees to have a voice and receive feedback.
Additionally, it is human nature to value appreciation. Frequently saying thank you for a job well done goes a long way to make your employees feel appreciated. That and money! Monetary rewards, bonuses, and gifts make the thank you even more significant. More importantly, raises tied to accomplishments and achievements will help you retain staff probably more than any other action.
In staffing, responsiveness, recognition, and rewards needs to come both from the staffing company itself, and from the client who ultimately employs your candidate.
Onboarding and team building
Setting expectations for the employee/employer relationship at the outset is critical. The onboarding of new employees, first onto your team, and secondly into your client’s organization is of paramount importance. Make all efforts for the worker to get through the process easily and effectively without it being long and drawn out. Technology can play a significant role in accomplishing this feat. Workers do not necessarily need to “self-onboard,” but it is expected that companies can and will use technology to make a lot of the basics available to them, at their own speed.
Once onboard, effective team building should become a focused effort – promoting a positive group dynamic at every opportunity is highly recommended.
Nurturing team mentality can be challenging for staffing companies. People often don’t hear how things turned out on the work they did, or the group effort they contributed to. Start a company newsletter to regularly share the progress and results of projects with the team. Celebrate successes, this gives more of a sense of ownership, accomplishment, and job satisfaction. Want to really make an impact? – why not celebrate results at regular happy hours events!
Failure to cultivate a sense of belonging to a large group will tend to alienate some individuals. These are the employees most likely to gravitate to other employers who offer a more developed team culture.
Managing the client/employee relationship
As mentioned, the right fit between employer and candidate is crucial. A key part of this equation rests on the employer’s willingness to treat candidates as well as possible. Successful and well-run staffing companies know this, and generally weed out clients who treat their employees badly.
Interview and monitor client customers as well as your candidates – you need to be more than simply an order taker. Get to know how your clients operate, how they treat employees, and how they manage working conditions. Ask yourself “is it better business to have more clients with fewer employees, or fewer clients with more employees?” Gauging brand reputation and profitability will show the benefits of ensuring positive client/employee relationships.
That being said, it is your staffing company’s responsibility to set the scene for success. Strive continuously to improve your recruiting, interviewing and other processes for identifying the right people for the right jobs.
Value your recruiters.
Finally, internal employees are also an important part of staffing company successes. Result orientated recruiters are the backbone of your business and as their reputation grows, can become a sought-after asset for your competition. Just like clients and candidates, they too need to be kept happy. Similar effort and incentives that you implement to retain candidates should be extended to your own internal team, as well.
Steady, transparent & consistent pay
People typically work because they need the salary; money motivates them. A failure to pay employees consistently or accurately will create low morale issues that usually result in high staff resignations. The reverse is also true; well-paid employees are most likely happy to remain on staff.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for growing staffing companies is to ensure steady, reliable pay that correctly compensates workers for the time and work they perform. The challenge to meet payroll weekly or bi-weekly is often aggravated by the cash flow gap between the time a client customer is invoiced and the time you receive their payment 30 to 60 days later, sometimes longer.
Payroll funding is a mainstream financial strategy employed by many staffing companies to overcome this cash flow gap. Payroll funding is a form of invoice factoring designed specifically for the staffing industry. It is used to convert invoices into immediate cash. Working with a reputable payroll funding company ensures employees are paid accurately and on time. A reliable paycheck is a strong incentive for workers to stay happy and on the job.
Staffing companies are facing novel and sustained challenges in this new era of the work force. These challenges range from adapting to heightened worker expectations to developing more effective recruiting and retention tactics. A multi-part approach to attracting and retaining qualified talent is needed.
Fully understand what employees want and ensure your company is equipped with the right technology stack to best manage your interactions with them. Then, leverage your expertise to focus on a niche market and nurture referrals. Once employees are onboarded, ensure team building and relationships are fostered effectively to give your employees a sense of value. Recognition, active listening to feedback and rewards are proven tactics to improve worker satisfaction and ultimately to foster longer working relationships. Meanwhile, support and incentivize your recruiting team – they are the engine that drives your business forward. Most importantly – pay your employees accurately and on time!
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