By Michelle Silverstein, Director of Corporate Marketing at Criteria
Looking back on 2020, the year was challenging in so many ways. Yet challenges present an optimal time to learn from experience and improve for the future.
In the middle of 2020, Criteria, surveyed over 400 hiring professionals to learn about how their hiring processes had adapted to COVID-19. We published the results in our annual Hiring Benchmark Report, and the responses were illuminating. From that data, we uncovered some interesting takeaways about hiring that can be used to improve and grow as we cruise into the new year.
1. Remote Work Is Here To Stay
According to our survey, 69% of organizations transitioned to remote work at some point last year. As a result, organizations had to establish remote hiring processes that were just as effective as in-person processes.
For those who were fortunate enough to be able to work from home, we were curious how they felt about remote work. In our survey, we asked: “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how has your opinion of remote work changed?”
What we found is that the majority of respondents, 54% said that their opinion of remote work has become more positive. Meanwhile, 42% said their opinion had stayed the same, and a paltry 4% said their opinion had become more negative.
On the whole, remote work has left a remarkably positive impression on those who had the opportunity to try it. From that same survey, respondents said that the key benefits of working from home were:
Less commuting (95%)
Flexible schedule (76%)
Better work-life balance (75%)
Fewer office distractions (72%)
More time with family (68%)
More productivity (64%)
What’s clear is that employees like and appreciate working from home, and that it can actually be more productive than working in an office. This suggests that even after the world returns to a “new normal” and offices begin to open back up, we don’t expect to see everyone go right back into the office. Instead, we expect to see a hybrid workforce model that combines a blend of remote and in-person work.
With remote work likely to play a major role in daily life moving forward, organizations need a way to optimize their remote hiring processes. Remote hiring has the same goal as in-person hiring: to find the best person for the job. Ultimately this means that organizations need a way to accurately and efficiently identify top talent without meeting them face-to-face.
2. The More Candidates, (Not Necessarily) the Better
2020 saw a sudden and massive rise in unemployment early in the year. The result was an influx of candidates flooding the job market. This represented a significant shift in the hiring landscape. Before, the hiring landscape was characterized as a candidate-driven market where qualified candidates were scarce and employers had to put forth greater effort to attract and retain top talent. But with more job seekers looking for opportunities, employers were faced with a welcome challenge: too many candidates.
The result? Hiring professionals started to perceive hiring as “easier” in 2020 than it was in 2019. In our survey, we found the following:
Across nearly every dimension, hiring professionals were having an easier time in 2020 than 2019. This may stem from the feeling of greater choice among a bigger candidate pool.
Nevertheless, the biggest challenge that hiring professionals face continues to be finding high quality job candidates. While more candidates may seem like a blessing, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to find that one person who is right for the job. On the contrary, a high volume of candidates can create problems of its own, with the need to efficiently and accurately identifying the candidates who demonstrate the highest potential to succeed.
3. Diversity Is a Priority Now More Than Ever
In our 2020 Hiring Benchmark Report, we also asked hiring professionals if increasing diversity in the workplace was a priority for their organization. What we found was that, for the majority of organizations, it was.
32% said increasing diversity in the workplace was a top priority at their organizations. 46% said it was somewhat of a priority, and just 22% said it’s not a priority. What’s clear is that most organizations are invested in hiring and retaining diverse teams. The question is, how are they going to achieve that goal?
Unconscious bias is pervasive in the hiring process. One way to combat it is by incorporating more data-driven elements that are tied to job success. The goal is to identify the right person for the job based on their abilities, not based on their connections or background.
4. There’s Reason for Optimism About the Future
There’s no denying that 2020 brought with it a lot of reasons to be pessimistic. However, when it comes to the future, hiring professionals are largely optimistic. In our Hiring Benchmark Report, we asked hiring professionals how they felt about the future for their organization, and the results were surprising:
The data painted an extremely optimistic picture. 66% of respondents were positive about the outlook, while 20% were neutral. Just 6% were negative and 9% were unsure. Despite the setbacks of 2020, hiring professionals are seeing the opportunity for growth in the future.
Ultimately this is a lesson in resilience and adaptability. Setbacks don’t have to debilitate any forward-moving progress. Even in times of strain, organizations can keep making plans for the future and building towards those goals, even if the vision has to be altered due to changing circumstances.
How Criteria Can Help
Criteria’s assessment platform is designed to help teams hire and grow. If an organization is the sum of its people, then each new employee has an important role to play. When assessments are incorporated into a long-term hiring strategy, organizations can start to see incremental improvements in everything from performance and productivity to employee retention and engagement.
By administering assessments early in the hiring process, organizations can quickly identify which candidates are most likely to succeed in the role. This can save invaluable time in screening and interviewing candidates, making it easier for the hiring team to maximize their time and efforts towards finding that right person for the role.
Criteria’s assessments are designed to help organizations hire diverse, high performing teams. Through a rigorous validation process, Criteria’s team of industrial and organizational psychologists ensures that the tests are non-discriminatory and accurate. And when assessments are administered early in the hiring process, they help to highlight candidates who may have been overlooked based on resume alone.
About Michelle Silverstein
Michelle Silverstein is the Director of Corporate Marketing at Criteria, a leading provider of pre-employment assessments. With a background in B2B, SaaS and HR Technology, Michelle is a passionate advocate for helping companies make more informed talent decisions through evidence-based hiring practices.
Recently, I heard a commercial from Indeed.com. The ad was aimed at candidates, not employers, and focused on the ways Indeed can help candidates find the best employer. Candidates now have more choices than ever before. A growing abundance of remote and freelance work in many professions means that geography is no longer a restriction and workers have more flexibility when choosing work.
The way we search for jobs has changed. Websites like Indeed.com, Salary.com, and Glassdoor.com all help candidates research the culture, salaries, benefits, and reputation of companies they are considering before filling out an application. Candidates (and often, your existing employees) are armed with more information and are using it to be selective.
In this new employment landscape, what can firms do to adapt to this changing employer-employee relationship? Start by assessing your existing Human Capital Management Strategy and begin thinking about how to integrate technology.
Here are three key places you can integrate technology to have a big impact on your firm’s talent:
Acquisition & Onboarding
When treated as a strategic function, talent acquisition can have a profound effect on your ability to influence company culture, establish an employer brand, and ultimately make your firm more attractive to prospective candidates.
Organizations typically just don’t have the bandwidth to achieve this without the support of an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS can free your organization from the repetitive, administrative tasks associated with recruiting, which can make it difficult to provide a top-notch applicant experience.
An applicant’s experience during the interview process can be the difference between a great candidate accepting your offer or going to the competition. But even after an offer letter is signed, much more needs to happen to reaffirm that choosing your company was a wise decision.
Onboarding is a critical first step in the employee lifecycle, but few organizations have a thorough strategy in place to integrate new hires into the company in a way that supports retention and engagement. When you create an onboarding strategy that includes your new hires’ needs and integrates collaborative planning for development, you’ll set your employees on a path toward long-term engagement and success within the company.
Post-Hire Professional Development
Talent acquisition is one of the most expensive business processes in any organization. It’s time to start talking about how to reduce acquisition costs by investing in post-hire human capital management initiatives that develop and retain existing employees.
Your employees want opportunities to develop and tend to stay with an organization longer when this investment is made. Unlike throwing additional funds at the acquisition process, spending on learning initiatives for your workforce is mutually beneficial for employers and employees. Increasing employee engagement is shown to have very positive effects on business performance. For example, according to recent Gallup research, the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability. It’s worth noting that not every resource problem in your organization is an acquisition problem. Sometimes the problem may be repetitively hiring for the same role or a failure to identify the next great leader. Most of the time, due to manual processes, businesses can struggle to predict future needs and end up scrambling.
According to multiple bodies of research, including Deltek’s own Clarity surveys, many organizations have a partial succession plan in place, but the majority are not prepared for expected or unexpected turnover. Whether the role is a leadership position or an important individual contributor, thorough succession plans are a must to help businesses weather the churn created by employee turnover.
It’s not enough for succession plans to live inside the brain of a single individual. By using the latest succession planning tools available through your talent management software, you can develop, maintain, and test succession plans to ensure that future leaders are ready to advance when you need them most.
Tracking Key Performance Indicators
Even less data-driven companies are beginning to track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to talent management–but the problem is that many are not tracking the right metrics.
Some metrics, like voluntary and involuntary turnover rates, are really just numbers. They fail to provide companies with the information needed to craft, implement and measure a more effective human capital management strategy.
Using a talent management solution to track metrics like Time to Start, Lead Time to Billable, and Talent Acquisition Sourcing Channel, your company will generate more sophisticated and actionable insights. Here is a closer look:
Time to Start: the amount of time it takes to bring a new hire on board from the moment the position is first publicized. This KPI determines the overall success of your acquisition strategy.
Lead Time to Billable: use this metric to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the onboarding process. The more quickly a new hire is assigned to billable project work, the sooner that employee is contributing to revenue.
Talent Acquisition Sourcing Channel: how effective are the job boards and social media sites on which you advertised open positions? By monitoring this metric, you will be able to determine which sources are the most effective for specific job categories and for your organization more generally.
Using technology to help you track, benchmark, and eventually predict metrics will help HR professionals to position human capital management as a strategic cornerstone for their organization.
For most organizations, a lack of integrated technology bogs down HR with administrative work and limits time for value-added activities such as strategic talent acquisition, retention and development. It prevents HR from being seen as a key contributor to strategic planning by limiting the analytics and insights they can provide at the executive level.
HR needs to partner with other functions within the organization, such as IT and Finance, to develop and then implement an HR technology roadmap. Human capital management solutions are the most powerful when they are integrated with the existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions used by your organization. All of the above challenges can be addressed and improved by the effective use of digital human capital management solutions.
For some companies and for some types of jobs, it is not uncommon that as soon as a job is posted online, applications come flooding in. But what about the times when that isn’t the case? Or when you need a highly specialized hire that may not be looking for a job at this time? This is a perfect opportunity to take a look at other options, and one great resource to pursue is working with external recruiters or recruiting agencies.
LinkedIn has a great list of how staffing firms can help you excel and some of the advantages of working with them. Some of the biggest reasons that companies start working with recruitment agencies include:
When the types of applicants they want are in high-demand and probably already in a job (and possibly not looking at this time).
When they have a hard to fill job that is not getting enough qualified applicants through their normal channels.
When they have already looked on job boards and not located resumes that fit their requirements.
When their company has grown significantly and the current team is overwhelmed with the number of job openings and the time required to fill them.
When you make the move to work with recruiting agencies, there are some considerations you will need to keep in mind in regards to the terms of your agreement as well as the responsibilities and expectations of the external recruiter.
What payments terms does the recruiting agency have? In most cases, this will be based on the hires annual salary and paid after the employee is on the job for a certain number of days. For example, you might end up paying out 20% of the employee’s annual salary to the recruiter after the new hire has been with the company 90 days.
What is the recruiter’s warranty period? Many will offer you a timeframe during which, if the hire doesn’t work out of leaves, they will find you a replacement hire at no cost.
What additional services will the vendor complete for you? Make sure that you work with an agency who, at a minimum, will pre-screen and meet every candidate that they send your way and that they will verify the qualifications before sending to you. Also, depending on the recruiter’s field and specialty, some may offer additional services such as skills testing, background checking, drug screening, etc.
Keep in mind that these things can be negotiated – especially if you are making multiple hires through the same agency. Make sure you discuss and come to agreement on the terms and price. Also, make sure you shop around and thoroughly review each recruiting agency you use. You may end up sending out to multiple agencies, but sometimes you can get competitive pricing if you work exclusively with a single vendor.
Additionally, there are some terms and scenarios you might want to review with a recruiting agency that may or may not be a part of their original agreement.
Do they offer a lock-out period? This would be a time during which the recruiter cannot place your candidate in another position at a different company, necessitating you filling the position again.
At what point do you have to pay for the resume? For example, what if the recruiter sends you a resume for someone that already applied through your website? Or what if the same resume is submitted by multiple recruiters? Make sure this is clearly defined and easy to document.
What happens if the recruiter sends unqualified candidates? This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but it can happen, so make sure you have open lines of communication to address this situation quickly.
With all of this in mind, our last piece of advice is to make sure that everything about the relationship and the resumes you receive and hire is well documented. Take steps to ensure you are able to find and report on the information about the resumes that have been sent your way. Utilizing tools such as applicant tracking solutions and vendor management systems can help ease some of the burden of tracking this manually. Also, having this as a part of your ATS makes it easier to track the resumes sent from recruiting agencies and house them in the same place as external or internal candidates which will help ensure consistency in your own hiring practices.
The recruitment process is the process of hiring the right people in the right place, at the right time. This is a critical activity which allows companies to conduct proper and effective workforce planning. This process is important because it involves all stakeholders, to make sure they are well equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skill
set to hire. Where there are several well-known candidate sources to look for future employees like the company website, job boards, vendors etc., this blog we will instead focus on the internal employee transfer employment.
Saratoga Institute reports that, the average cost of finding and hiring someone from outside the company is 1.7 times more than an internal hire ($8,676 vs. $15,008). What’s more, in the Business Times research shows that between 40% and 60% of external hires aren’t successful, compared to only 25% for internal hires are unsuccessful. This is good news for employees who typically leave firms due to lack of career opportunities, yet its bad news for job seekers who may have fewer jobs to apply for as internal hiring rises. According to Business Times article
Advantages of Staffing Internally:
Money: Rather than going through the whole recruitment cycle from scratch and paying investment money in different sources to find the right qualified external applicants; internal staffing allows you to easily find the right nominees for the position.
Culture Fit: When you promote or transfer an internal employee, you know that he/she already fits in with the corporate culture, which is something that is often a risk with external candidates; for example many candidates can say the right things in the interview but that does not mean that they can fit as part of the team. So as an employer you already know the work ethics of your employees which reduces this risk factor when hiring external candidates.
Motivation: Motivation is key because it allows companies to retain their talent and reduce turnover. When employees know the career path that they can achieve as a result of hard work then they are tempted to stay and work harder resulting in a happier staff and higher revenue generation.
Time: As we know time is money. So rather than spending time in publishing an open vacancy in different sources and going through the whole interview process and waiting for the new hire to submit his resignation from the other company and join yours; you can reduce the recruitment time in half by hiring internally.
How is that Accomplished?
Finding the right people internally starts by having the right tools that allows you to assess employees on relevant competencies and skills. Running their gap analysis and create career plans for them while giving your employees the relevant training programs to help them grow. Allowing the employee to have access to update his/her competencies and skills profile gives your organization the ability to always have up-to-date information for future leaders’ planning.
Few other important items to take into consideration while performing internal transfers are:
Make sure your internal transfer policy is clear and followed consistently.
Give internal employees clear feedback if you select someone else so they don’t look elsewhere because of miscommunication.
Make sure their current manager is a part of the process.
Don’t make them feel like their current job is in jeopardy because they applied to a different one.
The recruitment process is one the key building blocks that helps define a company’s workforce level of competitiveness in the market and generate revenue. There are many benefits to hiring internally for vacant positions, however, doing this efficiently requires a full well planned and organized process of identifying top performers, their level of qualification and the development options.
Feedback is a critical component to motivating your workforce. According to a recent study by AccentureTM, providing frequent, direct performance appraisals ranks in the top 5 ways to engage your employees*. A technology solution that facilitates this process by providing ongoing access to documented expectations, departmental objectives and goals, and a location where employees can log their achievements and challenges reinforces to employees that they are an important part of the organization’s success.
With a full understanding of factors that drive your top performers, you are able to ensure they have access to the career development opportunities they require. Top performers are often career driven, willing to go the extra mile to remain on the path to success. With Brilliant HR Performance solution in place, they can identify their career goals and share them with their managers. Managers then have the information they need to keep them engaged in their work and productive at your company.