New Age Hiring. What Research Says About Smart Hiring

If you’re an HR professional, a consultant working in recruitment or a recruitment agency, you probably know the news. Hiring has changed and it might never be the same again.

Gone are the days when job ads were crafted, advertising campaigns were run, resumes were sifted through – offline or online – and interviews resembled a bit of a blind date. This is the age of making it personal. And I don’t mean adding a flattering headshot to your resume.  No, this is the age of human relationships and trust. Of connection and networking.

And it partly has to do with a wildly more competitive hiring environment – for the employer. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, at the end of 2014, in the US, there were 5 million job openings, the highest level since January 2001, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS).

Also, the number of job seekers per job opening fell from 6.8 in July 2009 to 1.4 in October 2015. Add to this the fact that millennials – that unicorn category everybody tries to get a sense of – recorded a median tenure at their jobs from 1.3 years (20-24 yrs of age) up to 3 years( 25-34 yrs of age).

“In a 2012 online survey of 2,000 people born after 1981, 88% of people reported that humour is essential to their sense of self. Take a look at GE’s trendy recruitment campaign, “What’s the matter with Owen?””

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvfU1NpCJQQ

 

In a word, people job hop nowadays, there are plenty of new jobs to go around and there are far fewer good candidates in search of employment.

That means you need to level up.

A host of studies carried out by various organisations are pinpointing to two different ways to do that: employment by referral & boomerang employees.

Simply put, these two strategies will not only make you more competitive in the difficult environment of headhunting, but crucially, they also save you a bunch of money.

Take a referral system example: if a typical agency charges 20% of a new hire’s first-year salary, that’s $20,000 for a $100,000 hire. Even if you rewarded your recommending employee with a $2,000 bonus for the successful hire, that still saves you & 18,000 compared to agency hiring.

And it’s not too different for hiring back former employees either: the cost to rehire a boomerang employee is reportedly one-third to two-thirds the cost of hiring a new employee.

But let’s look at these two strategies up closer, a bit.

Employment by referral

You can do this with the help of both current and former employees. For current ones, send out a newsletter announcing the job opening in-company. You don’t pay to advertise to your own employees, after all! Add a bonus for every successful hire you make and that’s it. If they’re happy with the organization, they’ll do all the work pitching it to their qualified friends. All that is left for you to do is the interview – with tons of costs averted in advertising and recruitment along the way.

For former ones, keep a regular alumni newsfeed where you can send them info on new jobs, competitive compensation and benefits. If you parted well – which is always recommended – they’ll find it easy enough to pass it on. Who knows – if the job ad is sufficiently interesting, they might even consider it for themselves. Either way, you get a new hire with minimal effort.

Apart from the cash savings, employment by referral is a method that celebrates and reinforces your current employees. They feel valued and part of the future of the organization and engagement is fostered. Besides, they get to say they got a job for their friend – which, in itself, is a great start for a solid company culture. 

Time-wise, it’s also a wonderful road to take. According to a study by JobVite, on average it takes 29 days to hire a referred candidate, compared to 39 days to hire a candidate through a job posting or 55 days to hire a candidate through a career site.

Not to mention that you gain time in onboarding for the referred new hire. Since they already know someone in the company, their expectations are realistic from the outset. Besides, they already have a buddy or mentor to show them around.

As for retention, studies show referred hires tend to stay longer, which speaks volumes for your return on investment. For small to medium companies, especially, costly training and recruitment owing to high employee turnover are things that will gladly be avoided.

One study by JobVite found that 46% of referred hires stayed with the company for at least one year after they were hired.  Compare that to 33% of people hired through career sites and 22% hired through job boards.

Last, but not by any means least, referred employees are almost always a guaranteed culture fit. They’re in the same social circles as your current employees, after all. No more worrying about recruitment professionals not getting what your company needs or failing to make the company attractive enough for passive candidates. You get to design your own recruitment/networking channel through which you attract the best people in your own way.

Case study: Genesys

An $850 million developer of omnichannel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions, headquartered in Daly City, California, Genesys needed to step it up in the competitive employee market of the area. They gave up traditional recruitment in May 2014.  Ever since, they launched an associate program hiring recent college graduates. The program takes place at the HQ and consists of 3 intensive training weeks, followed by an extended mentorship period with a company employee. They even held a 2-hour product centered event for high school kids who they eventually expect as future trainees.

Merijn te Booij, Executive VP of Product and Solution Strategy says, “now, we are networking to create pools of potential employees who have a connection and relationship with us.”

As of 2014, their recruitment time span had fallen to 50 days, as opposed to 100 days initially.  They had graduated around 70 associates, with around 138 interns joining them globally.

Rehiring boomerang employees

You should never let your top talent leave on bad terms. Of course you’ll fight for them, but if they do decide to part ways, let them know your door remains open.

Boomerang employees are making a comeback, people say. And according to David Almeda and Dan Schawbel’s report, “The Corporate Culture and Boomerang Employee Study” (July 2015), it’s true too.

You can do that by having a clear communication strategy for company alumni. Your objectives are to maintain a relationship with them, keep them in the loop for company developments and, ultimately, encourage them to return. At the end, you will have created a strong alumni ecosystem able to keep around its most prized former employees.

A lot of HR practitioners currently resort to Facebook, emailing and LinkedIn for keeping in touch with alumni. While these are all great channels, they’re the place where everybody else is vying for their attention too.

Make sure you create your own communication channel with them and show them you value them as individuals and professionals, even after they’ve left the organization.

Use a broadcasting app to keep a curated news feed for alumni. Give them news about company growth, new departments created or new exciting products launched and keep them coming back.

Almeda and Schawbel recorded some 80% of employees saying former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return, with 64% saying there appears to be no strategy for maintaining a relationship.

Go even further and personalize the newsfeed. If you asked for their feedback when leaving, look at those reasons and tell them how the organization has grown since then. It will speak volumes for how much you actually care.

Not to mention that some of them may even have left thinking the grass was greener on the other side and decided they were wrong. Boomerang employees may leave because they wanted to acquire new skills in order to return on a better, more well-paid role. Or because they wanted to have a go at some long lost passion they had. Either way, chances are they will want to return when they feel the time is ripe.

Take every chance to retell the story of your organization in new, more appealing ways. Look at this engagement campaign by KPMG, which sent it to Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list

 

And when and if they do, just look at the wonders they do for employee engagement! They will be mentors to the juniors, since they know the drill and they will be pumping excitement for all the older employees. After all – it says something when a former colleague comes back with fresh new skills and a whole lot of enthusiasm to contribute, right?!

In the past 5 years, there’s been a “changing mindset” of companies toward rehiring former employees, report HR professionals. Why? For starters, there’s a lower risk involved, since we’re talking of people you already know. Then, it’s one-to-two thirds cheaper than getting a new hire onboard. Besides, it’s also great PR for your organization – these are people who left and came back, because they realized what valuable organization yours actually is.

So what are you waiting for?

Get to work on that alumni communication strategy and that referral system and reap the rewards!

 

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