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Recruiting During The Pandemic

Kristi Stepp has a new article for the Michigan Manufacturers Association on trends and best practices for recruiting during the pandemic.

Recruiting During the Pandemic

Hiring has been both a challenge and an opportunity during the pandemic. Traditional ways of recruiting have changed and we have seen several conflicting trends for both employers and candidates. Learn about three recent trends and use these best practices established by employers of choice to help you get the talent you need.

Trend: Candidates Concern About Company Response to COVID-19 When candidates ask us how potential employers responded to the pandemic, safety and leadership practices seem to be the main drivers for these inquiries. Manufacturers were among the first to have their employees return to work and have successfully focused on safety and collaboration, as well as regulators. GNS North America, a leading Tier One Automotive supplier, made the safety of its employees its number one decision criteria when responding to COVID-19. Josh Roberts, HR Director for GNSshared that it was a challenge from a leadership perspective, as they were dealing with issues they had never faced before. Roberts, along with the GNS NA Leadership Team, spent a lot of time understanding the known best practices for dealing with COVID-19 thus far, legal requirements and guidelines, and ultimately worked to make sure they were “doing the right thing” as a destination employer. GNS shut its locations for 10 weeks beginning in mid-March, in-line with statewide imposed shutdown order. When manufacturing resumed in June, most salaried staff continued to work from home. During this time, GNS has taken a number of actions to keep their employees safe, including leveraging video technology; restricting visitors in their facilities; and stopping employee travel to other GNS facilities. Best Practice: Make Safety a Priority Emphasizing that employee safety is your top priority is important and the message must be backed up with actions that prove the point. In addition, companies that have been able to show empathy and flexibility for their employees have had a powerful story to tell candidates.

Trend: Challenges with Hourly Hiring and Retention Many Michigan manufacturers have experienced challenges with hourly hiring. Roberts of GNS Automotive shared that the labor market was tight before, but the pandemic made it worse. Several factors have contributed to this challenge, including rising salaries and increasing competition with employees moving for $0.25 per hour; childcare and virtual schooling issues; additional COVID-19 unemployment benefits; and health and safety concerns. Employers have had to get creative in order to attract and retain their hourly employees. GNS is focused on becoming an employer of choice in the region by taking actions to make them a more attractive place to work. For example, they participated in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide paid leave for employees who needed to quarantine or recover from the virus. Another employer developed a flexible part-time schedule to allow high school and college students, as well as caregivers, to re-enter the workforce on their own schedule. While more complicated to administer, this program boosted productivity and ended up saving money for the company. Best Practice: Become a Destination Employer Best practice companies are taking an active approach to managing their brand as an employer. Like GNS, they focus on becoming employers of choice in their regions. This can include:

  • Showcasing your flexibility as an employer.

  • Making it easier for non-traditional employees to work with you.

  • Highlighting the best aspects of your benefits, including quality/cost of health care coverage to helping employees think beyond just their hourly wage.

Companies are also continuing to keep a pulse on the engagement levels of their employees and to proactively address concerns.

Trend: Increased Speed of Recruiting for Salaried Employees Over the past year, the time from first interview to placement has shortened significantly. This was primarily driven by video-based interviews and the flexibility of candidates working from home. While face-to-face interviews used to take weeks to schedule, video interviews can often be scheduled within days. This is great news when you have critical openings to fill and need the interview process to move quickly without sacrificing quality. However, one manufacturer shared that the ease of video interviewing has allowed hiring managers to add more people to the interview process, slowing the process down and causing frustration for candidates. Best Practice: Use of Technology to Streamline the Recruiting Process The market for salaried employees is competitive. Companies that have increased their levels of communication with candidates and are leveraging video technology to streamline the recruiting process have an advantage.

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