How to win in a tight labor market

Businesses across the region — and the country — are continuing to face hiring issues, with a record number of people leaving the workforce. The market is tight, and companies are in a competitive race to gain the attention of job seekers, win them over and hire them.

In addition, workers — especially those in health care — are burned out. Long hours and taxing interactions have them wanting something new, and with so many options available, they are holding out for the best possible opportunity. Finally, with emergence of new COVID-19 variants, people remain concerned for their health and safety.

As we’ve grappled with these obstacles, we’ve found some things that work and that have allowed us to continue growing our workforce. Here are some tips to attract workers in a tight labor market.

Speak to job seekers’ pain points. Job candidates are looking for something new. After more than a year in the trenches of a COVID-driven health care setting, health care workers, and those across other industries, are looking for positions that better support their mental and physical health. In short, they want more manageable hours, ownership of their career and getting back to work that inspires them.

Listening to the pain points of job seekers allows companies to tailor their hiring messages to make them more attractive to potential employees. A simple shift to listening and then leading with the benefits of manageable hours and lower COVID-19 risk, for example, led us to a massive increase in the number of applications.

Network. When looking for new opportunities, job seekers often tap into the power of networking, but this also works for employers looking to get the word out about job openings. Recruiting efforts can include earned media, a website revamp, posting on job boards and working with industry partners. And while all of those support a robust strategy, nothing can replicate the impact of word of mouth.

To lean into this, companies should be proactive about reaching out to their networks. Coupling job postings with a real-life testimonial of what it’s like to work for your company can be very effective.

Lead with your mission but work with the market. The status quo is changing in just about every industry. Along with learning how to meet new concerns about burnout, health and safety, businesses have also been adapting to the question of remote work.

Do all jobs need to be based at the main office? Would some positions work best as office/home hybrid roles? What kind of technologies and policies can help your business create the best work environment? These are questions that nearly every company is trying to answer.

And while businesses want to be flexible to create a workplace that people want to join, they are doubling down on leading with their mission and maintaining integrity in what they are doing. By staying true to your company’s mission, applicants will naturally be drawn to that, allowing you to attract those who are the right fit for your organization.

It’s a new market out there, and leaders need to synthesize the feedback they are receiving and treat teammates as well as they do their customers. Hiring in this evolving environment doesn’t have to be impossible. Businesses need to adapt their way of thinking by getting personal — listening, connecting and staying true to a mission. By doing so, they can reach the right candidates and create meaningful employment opportunities. ●

Saket Agrawal is CEO of OFFOR Health

Saket Agrawal