employers win the Northwest race for talentWhen it comes to staffing and recruiting, focus on the UPSIDE even while going thru the  DOWNSIDE!     

In our 45+ years of business and so many business cycles, one thing we’ve learned is that for every downside there is always an upside – things we can do differently that keeps us moving in the right direction!

While economic challenges can drive companies to make changes that seem forced at the time, if thought out carefully many of these changes prepare these companies for what lies ahead – after the economy rights itself!  Think about our response to the pandemic, where the whole economy was shut down and employers had no choice but to adapt and adapt quickly.  Employers who took the time to fully embrace the new remote work models that seemed forced at the time, are now prepared to offer a level of workplace flexibility that today’s workforce is demanding.   In the current market, the “work from home” employers now have a recruiting story that their “back to the office” employers don’t which makes a significant difference in who they can attract as future employees.

This blog post addresses the recruiting and staffing tactics that we believe are well suited to today’s market filled with economic uncertainties PLUS will allow businesses to take a step forward regardless of what happens in 2023 and beyond.  While some businesses assume that hiring during periods of economic uncertainty is too risky, we’re not so sure.  We think there are ways to navigate an uncertain economic environment to not only avoid a set back in the people side of your business but to come out ahead.

Here’s Our list of Ideas….

#1.  Take advantage of “Other Employer’s Lay Offs”  to add new talent to your team!    

Based on recent announcements of current or future layoffs,  we’re anticipating the candidate marketplace will start to get some relief soon.  For sure there will be a good number of highly talented candidates that haven’t been available in the marketplace since pre covid.   While many of these candidates will come from “large company” work environments, not always a good fit for small to medium sized employers,  many will have specialized skills and work experiences that can be invaluable to a small to medium sized business on the grow! Talent is expensive to develop.  Here’s a chance to pick up some of this talent before your competitors do.   

One of the services that PACE offers that helps our clients spot top talent as it becomes available, is targeted pipelining.  Our client tells us the kind of talent they will need to hire in the next 6-12 months, and we pipeline candidates that are likely going to be good fits for future job openings.  In the process we build up communities of candidates who are already interested in going to work for you, and are ready to be more thoroughly vetted when the time is right.  Our pipelining service allows our clients to be in the marketplace 24/7…even when they’re not looking to actively hire.    To learn more about our pipelining process check out this blog!    

#2.  Take another look at the traditional flexible staffing models.

….and find new ways to steer your staffing costs into a variable rather than fixed cost model.  You don’t always have to hire a new employee to get work done, or replace an employee who is leaving with another full time employee.  There are so many new ways to get work done to consider….many becoming increasingly popular as a result of shifting social and economic trends.

The trend towards more flexible workforce models has already started.  LinkedIn reports that their analysis of job postings between May and November of 2022 showed that temporary or contract positions grew by 26%, while full-time jobs only grew by 6%! 

The strategic use of temporary or contract staffing, temp to hire recruiting models, part time employment models have a lot of appeal to folks who have left the workforce and aren’t quite willing to come back in the same format they once worked.  Female workers, for example, left the workforce during covid to take care of children, and want a more flexible way of working when they return.   Employers can often convince their retirees to come back to work on a flexible basis as inflation impacts the costs of retirement.   Flexible work models can  entice both new and old talent to join (rejoin) your workforce without increasing long term commitments – a win for both employees and employers. 

#3.  When its time to hire, take your time to find the “just right” fit!   

During the covid shut down, we saw employers taking  stock of their talent assets, looking closely at the skills and mindsets of their current staff, and comparing those with the skills and mindset they  would need to compete in their business post-covid.   Existing staff were often asked to “do more with less and the employees who weren’t up to the challenge either became part of the Great Resignation, became quiet quitters, or got laid off as employers discovered how to get by with fewer employees.  In other words, most of us have already been downsized and the employees we have are the employees we want.

At this point in the economic cycle, we don’t think employers can afford to compromise who they invite into their team.  While hiring just to hire is a model that might have worked in the past, we think taking the time to find and hire ONLY “exceptional talent” is the “best way” to prepare for the good times that always come after the bad.

#4. Find new ways to offer more job/life flexibility

Under the pressure to deal with a whole range of uncharted work/life situations, we see most Northwest employers taking a new look at flexible work arrangements.  The challenges employers currently face to retain their high value employees are not new, but recently exaggerated.  To rearrange work schedules to allow staff to be available for personal needs, like children doing virtual learning, or caring for aging parents, has required forward-thinking managers to re-think the logistics of how work get done.  Employers, for example, who have modified their management style to focus more on results than time at work, are uncovering that it is not only a more productive way to manage, but a more satisfying way to work for both the employee and their bosses.   Whether you are an employer who embraces or is trying to avoid remote work models, now is a good time to relook at how you manage the employees you have – more focus on results, more goal setting, new ways to bring visibility into each employee’s contribution to the mission.

#5  Take advantage of opportunities to use talent from new places.   

One of the noticeable upsides of the “work from home” policies of the pandemic is that employers were able to cast a much wider net when seeking out the talent they needed.  Geographical restrictions on where an employer worked were no longer relevant when looking for specialized talent.  Employees living in Everett are now working for companies headquartered in Tacoma — a phenomenon that wasn’t possible prior to the normalization of virtual work models.

If you’re a company who has decided to offer its employees the benefits of a virtual work model, make sure you take full advantage of all the recruiting opportunities this model has to offer.

#6.  Make sure you have pay plans in place that will attract better talent! 

This is not a job market that allows you to be at the bottom of the pay scale and still hope to hire great talent.  A reduction in operational costs (less rent as just one example) stemming from the migration from offices to homes has provided many employers with an opportunity to enhance their pay and benefit models to help with both recruiting better talent and retaining the top talent already in place.  Whether or not building owners will be able to lure companies and their staff back into abandoned buildings is yet to be seen, but one of the clear upsides to the recession are re- designed financial models, creating opportunities to shift monies to other places in the budget where monies can be put to best use.

#7.  Figure out how to attract today’s (very different) employees!   

Top candidates are redefining what it means to have a great job or work for a great employer.  If you want them to attract the right employees or have them stay with you after they are hired, hiring managers need to update how they show value to top performing employees in virtual work environments.   Before the pandemic and recession, a recruiter could attract a top candidate by advertising how your company offered job perks like snack bars, arcade-like play areas, and Friday afternoon wine downs. While perks  like these may have been enough to draw applications in the past, they don’t work in environments where employees aren’t at a physical office ever day.  This means you have the opportunity to redefine the value proposition your jobs offer – more flexibility, more meaning, more trust, more of the things that matter to the Gen Z workforce who will soon represent more than one third of the local workforce.

#8.  Continue to use virtual technologies to enhance and expedite your recruiting process. 

Regardless of whether or not you decide to move back into a physical work space, abandoning the new technologies that have by passed the need for face-to-face interactions during the hiring process,  is not a good idea.  Virtual interviews have proven themselves to be a good replacement for the face to face interview and allow companies to move quickly while minimizing the obstacles of assembling interviewers and candidates to meet face to face.  Using video interviews  not only leaves a digital trail of the actual interview but all those “quick touch points” that happen during the hiring process can all be conducted virtually and retained as part of the employee’s file.

We particularly like the virtual tours that some clients are creating – informational pieces  that can be sent to a candidate prior to an interview, letting them know a bit more about the work, the physical space where they will be working and a chance to meet teammembers up close and personal.

How Can We Help?

PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire candidates based on the “right fit” for over 45 years.  We are and have been the talent advisors to so many Northwest companies who began small and grew into prominent Northwest employers.   We’d love to help you with that same journey!

A 5 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide, based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees in today’s competitive marketplace, contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com or visit our website at www. pacestaffing.com/employers.

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