These days, job seekers are looking more closely at how employers protect their frontline workforce from the health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. In many cases, workers are making more money by staying home. There are still qualified individuals with a strong work ethic, seeking a job and who are in demand. With a shortage of desirable candidates available, your workplace practices could make the difference in their decision-making process. So, how can employers provide safety training and assure prospective (and current) employees that their well-being will be respected?
Employers know that frontline workers searching for a job have historically cared most about schedule flexibility, higher wages, and a supportive culture. But in the wake of the global pandemic, many frontline job hunters are reprioritizing these factors, and adding some additional criteria.
Now, job seekers will be looking closely at how employers protect their frontline workforce from the health concerns brought on by the virus. Between transparent communication, proper safety training and precautions and health checks at each shift, the hourly workforce is looking at a new set of factors to ensure they feel prepared and engaged to do the work.
One option might be to use an online platform to communicate with all employees. Particularly in situations whereby teams met as a group to receive instructions, communicating online is a more attractive option. According to Steven Kramer, CEO and president at WorkJam, a technology company supplying scheduling, communication, learning and recognition to clients’ non-desk workforce, “Employers need to double down on employee empathy, instilling their workforce with the tools to create a safe environment—fostering employee welfare while encouraging customers to return.”
Conducting the Search
The online employment bulletin board, Monster.com, says, “…Many employers are unsuccessful in their efforts to find qualified candidates…. One cause of this problem is that many employers don’t fully grasp the demographics of today’s hourly, frontline workforce. While many employers aim recruiting messages only to younger people, about one-third of these workers are actually 25-44; slightly less than one-third are 45 or older. Many employers also recruit for full time positions when many hourly workers would prefer 30 or fewer hours per week.”
While those making the hiring decisions may not be trained HR professionals, they will still need to take a marketing approach to seeking a candidate who will be qualified, loyal, and responsible. Experts suggest a few key points:
- Make recruiting a 24/7 activity, even when you don’t have an immediate opening. Let’s face it: the best employees are the ones who are typically employed. Starting a long-term relationship with those who wish to “keep their options open” or who are not ready to start immediately gives you a talent pool to choose from when needed.
- After meeting with an applicant, stay connected. You can bet your favorite candidates have applied to multiple companies. Make sure they see yours as the most supportive opportunity.
- If you are competing with large companies for workers, you can use the flexibility inherent to your smaller size to develop the kind of corporate culture that attracts quality applicants.
- Have a way for applicants to contact you after-hours. After all, if you are available only during regular business hours, you discourage the very people you should be trying to recruit – all the good people who are busy working.
Marketing your job posting should be more than placing a single ad in a local paper or online site. Consider using social media ads and be sure to have a “Career Center” on your website.
The Job Description
It may sound elementary, but one aspect of your search should be to know exactly what you’re looking for by having a job description. Internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring and president of Humetrics, Mel Kleiman, CSP, writes, “Recruiting hourly employees is easier and more efficient when you have a job description that specifies the key attributes the ideal jobholder will possess. Looking for an employee without knowing exactly what you need is like going grocery shopping without a list: You spend more time and money than you should, you don’t get everything that you need (while simultaneously splurging on things that you don’t really need), and you usually have to go back and do it again.”
The job description formalizes what is expected of an employee and because it lists the mental and physical capacities required, and why the job exists, as Keiman points out, it “is the best defense against claims of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
While you may have hired dozens of people in the past, this is a very different time with very different conditions. To hire and retain a worker successfully in this environment, you need to look at it like a full-time job. You’re competing for the best; why not give it your best shot?