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Think Outside the Box in Recruiting, Hiring

One of the challenges facing nearly every employer today is recruiting, hiring, training and maintaining staff. With the holidays rapidly approaching, that challenge becomes even more pressing. 

So, what’s a merchant who needs to fill open positions or hire additional help for the holidays to do? Actually, several steps can be taken, outside of normal staff recruitment, to find workers. 

Expand your search avenues 

Routine practices of advertising Help Wanted in local newspapers and posting a sign in your store’s window might have worked in the past. However, the pandemic changed those rules and now employers have to think outside the box when it comes to finding employees. 

The knee-jerk reaction of employers has been to lure and hook new employees with higher wages, signing bonuses, and increased benefits. Those solutions, however, can have mixed results and affect existing staff who might see their experience and past wage increases devalued when new employees start at higher wage rates. 

Instead of risking alienating current staff, make them your valued recruiters. Offering a cash incentive or paid time off for a successful referral is an easy way to increase staff. This program can be a two-stage incentive. The first bonus can be offered for a successful hire with the second given if the referred employee stays for six months. 

A successful referral program can also enhance your team’s morale by building a staff of friends and acquaintances. 

In times of a tight labor market, businesses should also loosen their job qualifications. Instead of requiring retail experience, look for a candidate with strong soft skills – a good attitude, a helpful nature, proper etiquette, and good communication skills. Businesses can teach work skills – how to run a point-of-sale system, the location of products, and other store-specific mechanics. Soft skills ensure your customer service remains friendly and helpful.   

Love your community 

Successful retail businesspeople invest in their communities by sponsoring local organizations, charities and events. Tap those relationships by seeking employees through them. Participants in youth sports, 4-H, FFA, and church groups could be fertile soil for finding seasonal help. 

Senior and veteran organizations can also provide candidates to fill positions. When the pandemic hit, many seniors retreated from the workforce due to COVID concerns. Some might be ready to return to work if they are offered a safe place to work. 

Set your business apart  

With so many businesses searching to fill vacancies, it’s a good idea to differentiate your workplace from all the others. Make it an attractive option for job seekers. 

With the pandemic still affecting just about all kinds of human interaction, emphasizing the steps your business has taken to maintain workplace safety can attract workers. 

Other incentives such as flexible schedules, job sharing availability, cross-training, opportunities for career advancement, and continuing education are other ways to attract new employees. Offering young workers additional training and avenues for advancement keeps them engaged in their jobs and provides a glimpse of what a career with your company could look like. 

Be ready to pounce 

Workers are in high demand, so businesses need to be able to hire a good candidate when one is found. One way to do this is to streamline the application and hiring process. 

Instead of collecting applications or resumes and reviewing them en masse, make yourself available for on-the-spot contacts if not interviews. Same-day hiring events are becoming more popular due to the tight labor market. So, it’s likely your business is competing against many others for the same people. If a qualified candidate walks through your doors, have an application or hiring process in place to make them your new employee on the spot. 

Don’t sit on your hands. In these times of many available jobs, recruiting, hiring and retaining employees should have a higher priority.  

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