Does retail have a problem with how it recruits and hires workers?
After years of underinvesting in people, human resources (HR) and hiring systems, much of the retail industry now finds itself scrambling to find, qualify, hire and on-board new employees who have plenty of other job options, including those as independent contractors.
America’s workforce, which appears to have been permanently changed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, is largely being fueled by the gig economy. Forty percent of the economy is now powered by gig workers, a segment growing three-times faster than the national workforce, according to a Forbes article from earlier this year.
The gig economy is both disruptive and here to stay. Job marketplaces that power gig organizations make hiring easy, quick and flexible for shift and hourly workers who are attracted to the contractor lifestyle. Retailers and restaurants can better compete for human talent and hire more efficiently and effectively by placing their focus on two key areas.
Treat job candidates like customers
Retailers already know how to digitize journey(s) and engage with customers (CX). It’s time to treat candidates like customers. HR systems that recruit for corporate positions lack the candidate experience, speed and scale needed for field-level hiring. Building a better acquisition process — simplified application options, frequent updates, status checks, reminders — will grow the applicant pipeline, increase conversion and reduce ghosting. A modern candidate experience that reflects the brand value can serve as a differentiator in recruiting.
Automate and speed up the process
Transform, digitize, scale and securely speed up the hiring process and on-boarding processes. Create a single repository for all applicants (corporate and field). Use analytics to mine applicant database and social media for high-potential candidates. Automate reference, employment and background verification to mitigate risks and ensure safety and compliance. Create alerts and messages to keep candidates engaged and informed of where they are in the process. Implement immediate closed loop hiring, as opposed to legacy retailer timeline of hire-next-week / get-paid in two weeks, to complete with on-the-spot hiring and same-day-pay. Offer the ability to bid for shifts by day or day-part. Allow employees to work multiple positions and at more than one location.
The pandemic has issued a wake-up call for employers and, along with the growth of job marketplaces and the gig economy, the relationship between workers and companies has permanently been upset. Retailers who develop new strategies and technologies will be much better positioned to find, qualify, hire and on-board top talent.
- Gig Workers Are The Workforce Of The Future: Here’s How To Engage Them – Forbes
- Does retail have an answer for its jobs problem? – RetailWire
- The hunt for warehouse help heats up – RetailWire
- Will throwing money at drivers solve the trucker shortage problem? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the biggest impediments to retail hiring at this point? What do you think are the keys to hiring more efficiently and effectively than in the past?