Today’s hiring challenges
What would you say is your biggest challenge in 2021? Up until recently, I think most of us would have said it was the broken supply chain. But for many of us, that has changed to the hiring challenges of finding and keeping quality employees. No, scratch that – finding ANY employee has become a significant problem.
Between stimulus checks causing people to opt-out of working, the necessity for some parents to remain in the home until schools and daycares reopen, and mega-corporations aggressively offering the moon to new hires, keeping your team intact has become as tough as a nickel steak.
The problem has become so bad that one retailer friend has eliminated all pre-employment qualifications, background checks, and drug tests. That’s right. If the applicant is breathing, they have a job. My friend’s logic is that having no one to greet a customer is having an immediate impact on his bottom line, and I agree that is a big problem.
Even worse, though, believing that these unscreened employees will be short-timers, he decided to train only the very basic skills with no sales training whatsoever. Why waste time training someone else’s eventual employee, right?
The cost of a bad hire
There is a saying in Texas: Don’t squat on your own spurs. At what point is our handling of the problem only making the impact worse? My philosophy has always been that having the wrong employee is more damaging than the job vacancy itself. While I fully understand the need to adapt to challenging circumstances, I think the reality behind that philosophy stands.
Frontline employees are your primary brand ambassadors. Even a small misstep from one of these unscreened and untrained fill-ins can lose a customer forever. Without proper training, their production, regardless of the department, will suffer. What about the increased likelihood of on-the-job injuries, inappropriate behavior toward other employees, lawsuits, and unemployment claims? That’s scary stuff that will only drive your overall costs sky-high.
Perhaps most at risk, however, is the quality of your workplace. Your most productive employees are basing their loyalty on the high-quality environment that you have built. Aren’t they more likely to leave if they no longer feel good about coming to work? How much more trouble will you be in if that happens?
As bad as it is, let’s not panic. Be proactive in keeping the talent you currently have. Whether it’s pay, working conditions, morale, whatever – now is the time to have your best foot forward. Then spend a few minutes deciding what standards you can bend or temporary measures you can implement to expedite the hiring process. But above all, protect the things that have made your company special.