What's Ahead: Recruiting and Retention to Once Again Take Center Stage

This is part of a special advertising section on What's Ahead for HR Leaders.

Friday, April 1, 2011
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The workforce is aging; all signs are pointing to the economic recovery. So, what does this mean for the next year in talent management? It's about to get crazy.

Over the next several months, making great efforts in recruiting the right candidates and retaining your top employees will once again take center stage and become one of the most pressing concerns in talent management.

Companies need to plan how to handle the potential hiring frenzy on the horizon, and start thinking about how to keep their workforces feeling engaged and appreciated so they don't lose them to competitors. To handle these issues, it is imperative that organizations do the following:

Prepare for Increased Volume 

Budgets will be opening up and organizations may find themselves in a place where they need to hire large numbers of employees at once. The aging workforce retiring, current employees leaving as more jobs become available, mergers and acquisitions -- all could be reasons that companies should increase their recruiting efforts.

To avoid problems, start building a database of resumes to search through once you have openings. Keep great candidates in the back of your mind and organize this information so you can find it. An applicant-tracking system will help here, and will also help identify the right candidates.

Employers need to focus on creating a sought-after work environment to fight the competition and succeed in finding and keeping the best talent. Candidates will find the market swinging back in their direction, so companies will need to offer more than just money to have those dream candidates join the team. Job seekers (especially the younger ones) want better work/life balance and room for growth in the company. They also want to feel appreciated and to find a "great place to work." 

Create a Succession Plan for Your Organization

Get a plan now, to avoid problems in the next year. Use planning tools and processes to determine who in your workforce is eligible to retire in the coming years and plan replacements. As the economy rebounds and the future feels more secure, more people will begin to retire. It's estimated that baby boomers make up more than 50 percent of the workforce and their retirement could cause a mass exodus in the next several years.

Succession planning should not only be tied to potential retirees and key executives, but to other individuals who might be dusting off resumes to jump back into the job market. Focus efforts on positions of high value to the organization and those that are difficult to fill/replace. Know which employees would be a big loss to the company and have a replacement plan in mind if they leave.

Keep employees aware of plans for their futures with the company; you'll find investing in your current employees and helping them gain new skills goes a long way in creating company loyalty and feelings of appreciation.

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Understand How to Handle Mergers And Acquisitions

Plan to see more mergers and acquisitions in the coming months and years. Bringing two cultures together can be challenging, so HR should get involved in the process early. With each deal, HR gains new talent and needs to sort out the top employees and what new talents and skills the organization is getting.

You may need to re-recruit some of your key employees, and open and honest communication is extremely important in that process. Provide employees with information such as details about benefits, videos from the CEO discussing the merger and information from HR on the process. Garner feedback from employees and use that to create a new set of values after the completed acquisition.

Stop Fearing Facebook

Social media will continue to rule as we move forward. Companies that feared it in the past will have to learn to embrace it. Flock to LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and Facebook to find top candidates because it's where the candidates are hanging out. Companies without a social-media-recruitment strategy will be left behind. It allows for casting a wider net and reaching a greater number of passive candidates. Include options that allow candidates and employees to share jobs with others. As a bonus, social recruiting decreases the cost of recruiting and staffing.

Social recruiting is not only a great place for engaging with candidates, but also a way to share latest information and humanize the company. Use it in branding your organization as a "great place to work," so those sought-after candidates start seeking you; mobilize your social workforce to be your greatest brand ambassadors.

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