For the economy and wellbeing of the general public, historically low unemployment rates are undoubtedly something to celebrate. For businesses looking to fill open positions or expand, low unemployment rates poses some issues. Smaller companies are affected more by the low employee pool, as they are often unable to offer competitive wages and benefits, but low unemployment means the task of finding (and retaining) quality workers is made that much more difficult.
Recruitment is made difficult during periods of low unemployment, but it isn’t impossible. Below are a few tips and things to keep in mind while trying to fill positions during those periods.
Competitive pay and complimentary perks are often considered satisfactory incentives for drawing in new employees, but often, it isn’t the salary that brings people in, but the culture of the workplace. Depending on your industry, encouraging an appealing culture may be easier said than done, but there are a few ways you can improve the environment without remodeling the entire structure of your business.
Offering opportunities for recognition and feedback can greatly influence the culture among all employees. Praising those who complete quality work, as well as those who go above and beyond, is one way to encourage employees to perform well; knowing that their work is recognized and appreciated can help instill confidence and motivation, and from an outside perspective, that kind of supportive environment is appealing. Likewise, a place of work that provides opportunities to learn from mistakes, rather than simply incurring punishment, can be seen as positive. Being mindful of higher-ups and their relationships with employees, especially in regards to appreciation and constructive criticism, can help improve the overall culture of a workplace, and when prospective employees see this, they will be more inclined to apply and perform well with your business.
Similarly, opportunities for internal mobility can appeal to applicants who are driven and desire to improve. If you are looking to fill positions that require experience or intimate knowledge of your business, consider extending applications to current employees; this will encourage existing employees to remain and grow with your business, and filling entry-level positions tends to be easier than filling positions with more necessary qualifications during periods of low unemployment.
While you don’t want to rush decisions, being timely and proactive in your pursuit of quality employees can demonstrate your drive to find the right individual while also proving to applicants that you find their skills valuable. Scheduling interviews as soon as possible and preparing appropriately for them can make a significant difference in the hiring process, and doing so will show your applicants that you are serious about finding the best fit.
Your interview and application processes should be thorough without being sluggish; if there are any significant delays in the process (from paperwork processing to discussions about interviewees), assess the issues and make changes. Making an offer as soon as you come to a decision; if you find that the applicant has the skills, temperament, and personality necessary to fill a role, you shouldn’t wait to interview all applicants during a period of low unemployment. Doing so will only allow the applicant to apply elsewhere, and you may risk losing them to a competitor.
Low unemployment can make the process of recruiting quality, loyal employees difficult, but being retrospective and proactive about your hiring process and internal culture can help improve your chances of hiring and retaining the employees you need.