Dynamic and thriving businesses develop strategic long-range plans that include specific steps for employment needs and expansion. This means implementing active and ongoing initiatives to continually source, recruit, and hire top talent. For any business that wants to grow, be competitive, maintain or increase its hiring momentum, be proactive, and stay ahead of the changing labor market, the ideal time to hire should always be viewed as now.
The United States economy and the resulting labor market have always been a changing tide with the advantage flowing between employers and employees. As a result, the question of when the optimal time to hire should never really be about time, but about the pace or speed at which you hire.
Keep reading as we outline how a mindset of always hiring now supports your business strategies and takes advantage of the changing labor market.
Hiring Now Supports Your Business Strategies
Even the best strategic plans need people to implement them. However, waiting for your Human Resources department to develop and launch their optimal hiring process isn’t going to work. For your future and ongoing plans to be successful, the time to hire is now. Here are four reasons why.
To Meet Your Growth Rate Goals
Think for a moment about your current business goals and the specific steps you need to take to reach them. Are your current employment levels — the number of talented individuals on your team — enough to get you there?
Consider this simple example. Let’s take a modest-sized insurance agency with a business goal to increase their annual revenue from $5M to $10M over the next five years. This would require an increase in revenue by at least fifteen percent each year. Currently, they have five experienced Producers that each contribute roughly $1M annually. For this agency to reach its $10M annual revenue goal in five years, they have two options to accomplish this.
The first option might be considered an ‘All In’ approach by betting everything on these five Producers to steadily increase their sales volume each and every year consistently.
Clearly this is an over-simplified example that is not considering outside factors, but these individuals would all need to achieve triple digit sales gains each year on top of servicing their existing accounts.
How many Producers have you heard of that can work at that level of productivity to manage an existing account load while simultaneously sourcing and closing new accounts to achieve that level of consistent annual growth? Additional hires would be needed to help manage the growing account load.
The second option is to approach the same business goals with a ‘Divide and Conquer’ method. In this method, new Producers are added to your team to share in the objective of sourcing and closing new business.
Let’s start over with our five Producers each generating $1M in revenue. Again, this is over-simplified since it is hard to show in these tables the time needed for anyone not already operating at a $1M+ level to ramp up, nor does it account for lost sales, or current retention rates. However, this time to increase revenue every year, you hire an additional two to three Producers each year capable of contributing the needed $1M minimum increase in revenue.
While the pace of revenue growth is nearly the same in each example, the difference is in what can be realistically achieved. In addition, the second option also provides for better levels of customer service and avoids burning out one or all of your original Producers. Some gains can be achieved through hard work, and absolutely should be a focus. However, long-term sustainable growth requires additional people to help you reach your goals. The question is what those roles are and at what point you bring new hires onboard.
Here’s another factor you may have overlooked. What would you do if one or more of your overworked Producers left your agency using the first approach to growth? How would you recover and manage the level of service your accounts would need at that point?
A methodical growth plan (the second scenario) might allow you to hire some individuals with less initial experience and train them on your business practices, allowing them to grow with you and your business goals. The ideal time to hire isn’t once you reach your goals, but before launching your strategic plans and while your efforts are ongoing.
To Support a Positive Culture
A compensation package and flashy title will bring people to your door. However, it takes company culture, opportunity for career growth, and supportive leadership to keep them working for you instead of your competition.
According to the 2021 Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute, compensation matters, but it isn’t the top factor when it comes to retention. Work-life balance and recognition both rate higher than compensation for retaining top talent. Salaries need to be competitive, but other factors matter more for those who want to stay with their current company.
The time to hire isn’t when your employees are already revealing signs of burnout and stress from heavy workloads or other factors. Lean and mean may sound impressive, but it’s a recipe for disaster! Hire as your business expands and demand increases to maintain a positive company culture that is supportive and productive.
Learn more about the impacts of employee morale and turnover in these blog posts.
To Gain a Competitive Advantage
Smart organizations keep an active eye on what their competitors are doing. This is valuable for many reasons, but we are not talking about it being time to hire just because they are. Adding new members to your team still needs to be done strategically and with purpose. So look closely at what is happening in their business.
- Are you noticing changes in key roles?
- Take a look at their online reviews. Have recent reviews been negative?
- How has their business performed overall in the past year?
- What has your Marketing team noticed in your competitors’ online activity?
- What is your Sales team hearing when talking to customers and prospects?
Many companies were forced to make drastic and hard reductions to their staff during the pandemic. While these decisions may have temporarily helped their bottom line, the long-term effects could leave substantial opportunities for you. Areas of your competitor’s business made lean may soon show signs of poor support, inefficiency, or substantial time delays. These are areas within your company to shore up, gaining you a competitive edge.
LinkedIn Insights offers several great functions which allow you to see which companies people are leaving and whether or not this is representative of a particular skill set. This is great for Recruiters because it allows us to shed some light on who is investing in their talent and who is losing good people.
To Maintain Business Momentum
Whether you work with a recruitment firm or handle your talent acquisition needs internally, the entire hiring process takes time. Stopping and starting this process requires more effort when you do ramp up, than a continuous process of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and developing your talent at a steady pace.
When you have a mindset that it is always time to hire, it keeps you flexible to adapt to sudden market changes; open to new opportunities that come your way; and available to quickly connect with top performers your competition let go or who have decided they have had enough. (More on this is in a moment.)
Learn more about the hiring process here.
Hiring Now Takes Advantage of a Changing Labor Market
The U.S. Labor Market is marked with both subtle and dramatic changes that have happened over time. The shift from agricultural jobs to industrial occupations happened gradually as our country grew and populations expanded. Contrast that transformation to the onset of technological advancements when the change in where and how Americans worked was much faster and impactful.
In 2020, another dramatic and incredibly swift metamorphosis happened, or rather was thrust upon us. Collectively, we learned how to adapt to remote work and employees began to reflect on what was most important in their work and their lives.
This recent shift offers incredible opportunities for organizations, especially for those who understand the time to hire is now. Here’s why.
To Be Proactive vs Reactive
Whether you refer to what is happening now with employees as the Great Exodus, Great Resignation, or Great Quit, employers who are not paying attention are in for an incredibly rude awakening. Just the volume of open candidates — passive or active — makes now the time to hire.
There are multiple theories on why employees seem to be leaving en masse, but the reasons tend to boil down to a few key factors.
Employees want a balance between their personal and professional lives. A career, while important, isn’t everything.
Talented, hard-working people can be productive anywhere. Employees realized they liked the flexibility of remote work and for many, not something they want to relinquish.
How organizations react to crises matters, and this time employees were watching closely and didn’t always agree with how this one was handled.
With so many unknowns during the pandemic, many employees contemplating a job change decided to wait. Their wait is over.
Companies are proactively hiring again and incentivizing talent with opportunities too great to ignore.
Regardless of how you feel about this ongoing migration of talent, you as an employer, can either be poised to take advantage of it or be forced to react to it. Those who take a proactive approach know the time to hire is now.
Don’t wait until key individuals in your organization tender their resignations. Be ready with fresh talent that can either fill the void immediately or are actively learning the role to advance their careers.
To Draw From a Passive, Yet Interested Candidate Pool
While the number of candidates actively looking for new roles continues to climb, passive candidates are quietly observing the labor market. These are candidates who are not currently searching but remain open to opportunities that may come their way. Interestingly, the volume of passive candidates continues to increase as well.
Anecdotally, we are having more conversations with these candidates than we did just a year ago. They may not be as disengaged or frustrated with their current positions as active candidates, but they are fully aware of the movement and opportunities in the labor market right now and do not want to miss out on a good opportunity when it presents itself.
Even among these candidates, common reasons for remaining open to a shift in employers are fairly consistent with these most offered reasons.
Their company is going through a merger or acquisition and there is a lack of change management.
They have reached a ceiling in their current role and want to continue to grow, requiring them to consider other organizations.
Turnover in their current company has steadily climbed, increasing their workload and level of stress.
The company is forcing people back into the office and they want to remain working remotely.
They are curious about what’s happening in their niche and market.
Now is the Time to Hire Great Talent
Need more proof that now is the ideal time to hire? A review of LinkedIn available metrics reveals that there are currently over 12 million platform users in the United States who have attached the status of “Open to Work” to their profiles. Further, over 5.6 million of them have specifically noted they are looking for remote work opportunities. That is a very large pool of both active and passive candidates to consider.
This chart highlights the top industries these individuals are currently working in.
For companies wanting to meet business goals, support a positive company culture, stay ahead of the competition, and maintain their forward momentum, now is the time to hire. Further, the current labor market allows forward-thinking organizations to connect with motivated candidates and proactively remain in a hiring mode.
Before you embark on the path to hiring great talent, download our Guide to the Recruitment Process to help you along your way.