9 of the Best Workforce Predictions for 2012

Workforce Predictions for 20121. Skills Gap -We not only face a quantitative shortage of skilled workers but an imbalance between needed and available skills is making hiring difficult. A study by SHRM and others in late 2010 showed that only 32 percent of U.S. college graduates have “excellent” skills as they enter the working world and only 16 percent of high-school graduates have such skills. Young people are less prepared than ever, forcing employers to adopt new online recruiting strategies, new employee screening processes, new hire training including basic reading and math literacy, improved apprenticeships and mentoring programs, and other on-the-job training and development programs to build skills.

2. Résumé Overload (the Resu-mess) – The number of job seekers applying for jobs is greater than ever. Bersin’s Talent Acquisition Factbook® shows that recruiters seeking hourly workers receive an average of 144 résumés per position, and recruiters seeking white-collar workers collect more than 90 résumés per position. It is harder than ever to sort out the best candidates – hence an explosion of interest in assessment tools and prehire simulations. (According to Bersin & Associates, the assessment industry is on fire, growing rapidly as companies realize that they can better screen and preassess people using games, tests and simulations online. If you are not using online pre employment assessments online pre employment assessments and online applicant processing now, you should in 2012.)

3. Employee Retention. Retention issues will increase dramatically. Almost every survey shows that more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. Dr. John Sullivan predicts that turnover rates in high-demand occupations will increase by 25% during the next year and because most corporate retention programs have been so severely degraded, retention could turn out to be the highest-economic-impact area in all of talent management. Another startling set of statistics was just released by Mercer. In late 2011, its global research (more than 10,000 employees responding) found that 32 percent of employees are “planning on leaving” their employers, versus only 19 percent two years ago. Low engagement and employee performance is now the second most common business challenge cited in Bersin’s TalentWatch® research.

4. Social Media. For the last few years, most firms jumped on the social media bandwagon, but unfortunately the trial-and-error approach used by most has produced only mediocre results. In 2012 social media will increase its impact by becoming more data-driven.Talent leaders will increasingly see the value of a combination of internal and external social media approaches for managing and developing talent. Thanks to tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Glassdoor and many others, your employment brand is now “out there” whether you like it or not and whether you put it out there or not. To attract the best candidates from the large pool of workers you need to create a magnet – a clear articulation of your company’s strategy, a clear definition of the types of people you are hiring and lots of good will coming from employees in the marketplace.

5. Telework. Telecommuting and virtual work changes everything in talent management. The continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible for most knowledge work and team activities to occur remotely. Allowing top talent to work “wherever they want to work” improves retention and makes recruiting dramatically easier. as aging baby boomers stay in the workforce longer than planned, but demand more flexibility in where, when and how they work. Telework and telecommuting also continues to destroy the concept of permanent, full-time employment. (Keep reading!)

6. Contingency/Part-time Workforce. It is easier than ever to pick up your newly found skills and take them elsewhere. Upward of 40 percent of the U.S. workforce now works parttime or on a contract basis. Data from the last quarter of 2010 showed that contingent workers accounted for nearly 68 percent of new private sector jobs. Young people (particularly the under-30 age group) have rewritten the definition of work. That’s bad news for organizations that still hang on to work as a place you go to for 30 or 40 years. It turns out that the workforce is becoming much younger very quickly. By 2013, 47 percent of all employees will be those born after 1977. So, in 2012 and going forward, organizations must focus heavily on building programs to drive engagement among workers under the age of 30. (Re-read trend on Retention.)

7. Recruitment. 2012 will see a dramatic increase in workforce “poaching.” Yes, poaching employees is a rather harsh term for such an honorable profession as human resources. But let’s be honest, many of the employees a business wants to hire are already working. And many companies (although I don’t agree with this tactic, advertise “only employed workers need apply.”) Well, thanks to social media and a war for talent, many of the most desirable skilled workers can easily find job opportunities with competitors without working through head-hunters. For companies trying to ramp up production quickly or find highly skilled talent, the only way to get the talent they need quickly will be to “poach” or steal them from away from competitors. As the speed of change in business continues to increase, talent managers will also need to rethink the “develop internally first” approach. In many cases, recruiting becomes a more viable option because there simply isn’t time for current employees to develop completely new skills. As a result, the trend will be to continually shift the balance toward recruiting for immediate needs and the use of contingent labor for short-duration opportunities and problems. (For more on the likelihood of poaching employees happening, read about retention trends in 2012.)

8. Employer branding. Years of layoffs, cuts in compensation, and generally bad press for business in general will force firms to invest in branding themselves as a good, if not best place to work. The increased use of social media and frequent visits to employee criticism sites (like Glassdoor.com), make not managing employer brand perception a risky proposition. While corporations will never control their employer brand, they can monitor and influence in a direction that isn’t catastrophic to recruiting and retention. Some of the best organizations spend little on marketing, yet put time, energy and resources into making sure they have a sustainable culture. When a company is perceived to be one that really cares about its employees, it can prove to be a great PR or branding opportunity. Customers patronize businesses that care about their employees, and will even pay more if they believe their values are shared by the company.

9. E-Learning. Training and development is being transformed. Time is valuable and every minute away from a job means a loss in productivity especially when organizations are running so lean. But it’s also quite obvious that employees need to keep developing and learning new job skills. Thanks to tools like YouTube, Google and Facebook, we have all become accustomed to “instant gratification” – so online courseware that takes 30 minutes to complete is out. New video based online training now takes no longer than 10 minutes at a time and has been proven to more effective than longer videos and workshops. Short e-earning videos engaging workers better, especially using mobile devices, will proliferate.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.


Employers Scale Back Job Boards; Expand Social Media

In a trend started during the latter half of the past decade, employers were forced to sift through mounds of online applications, thanks to the convenience of online job boards. The recession and millions of displaced workers only exacerbated the challenge. Recruiters are forced to read a lot of applications submitted by candidates who don’t qualify. That has led many employers to scale back their use of online job boards.

According to a December survey from the Corporate Executive Board, about 24% of companies plan to decrease their usage of third-party employment websites and job boards this year. Instead nearly 80% of the companies surveyed are hiring a different breed of recruiters who can find passive candidates, using networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn , as well poaching candidates from competitors.

The experience of a Northeastern Wisconsin employer highlights the problem of what I projected several years ago would be a “resu-mess.” The employer had 134 $15-an-hour entry-level job openings. It received 850 applications. After reviewing them for high school diplomas or GED certificates, work history and experience, it eliminated 450 applicants. The remainder were tested for physical dexterity and given eighth-grade reading and math tests, which eliminated 208 more. The remaining 192 applicants were given personal interviews which focused on character issues.

That article enticed me to visit our applicant processing system to assess the relationship between the number of ad views to completed applications per open position. For Chief Marketing Officer, 285 potential candidates viewed the ad using a combination of an online job board and LinkedIN. Seventy-two completed the application, but only one candidate met the requirements of the client. A sales executive position attracted 170 candidates after being viewed by 5,636 jobseekers. A search for hospitality associates caught the eye of 21,234 candidates. Eight hundred thirty-nine (839) applied. Less than 150 applicants qualified for interviews.

This sheer volume of applications is forcing companies, small and large, to rethink how they recruit. Simply cutting back on posting jobs to CareerBuilder or Monster isn’t enough.

Qualified but passive candidates are building connections in LinkedIn. But many companies have blocked accessibility to networking sites. Human resources professional, generally a conservative group, are also often reluctant to join networking sites. Without access to online networks and a robust list of connections, recruiters are fighting this war for talent in handcuffs.

This onslaught of applications is also being processed and filtered by fewer recruiters and downsized human resources departments. Recruiting, compliance and administrative human resources functions in many small businesses are handled by one employee.

More applications and fewer resources lead to delays in responding to candidates. Top candidates may fall through the cracks and be ignored. Likewise, they might be turned off by a slow response and lack of acknowledgment. That’s an ill-advised strategy that employers competing for a precious few qualified employees afford to continue.

An online applicant processing system (APS) is one solution many companies are adopting. An APS allows employers to open the recruiting funnel without overwhelming resources to filter out unqualified candidates.

Applicant Tracking and Processing SystemUsing an APS, a hiring manager creates a job listing and then adds screening filter questions. Each question is carefully weighted and prioritized. Candidates can apply using an unlimited number of online job boards such as CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed), free job boards, social media networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, employee referrals, and other sites like Craig’s List. When the manager logs into the APS system, he or she can quickly view all candidates or filter for only candidates who meet the minimum qualifications. Unqualified candidates can be notified automatically using the system’s email templates.

An online Applicant Processing System is a smart, cost effective solution to a growing problem confronting nearly every organization – recruiting qualified candidates.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page!


New Report: It Takes 826 Career Site Visitors to Obtain One Hire

Building a high performance workforce these daysrequires a fresh approach. That is especially clear when you consider our daily news is filled with paradox: stories of layoffs, hiring freezes and reduced hours are just as common as the need to find and retain highly skilled talent.

The ability to stay competitive as the economy improves is forcing businesses to look at recruitment differently. But businesses need a workforce that is more qualified, more efficient and more skilled than ever before. Companies will not be able to fill new jobs they create or the jobs they have eliminated over the last few years using old strategies and technology.

10th Annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Report: By the Numbers Survey & Report released last week provides cues for employers ready to change.

One of the most powerful findings revealed that it takes 826 visitors to a company career site to obtain one hire. This excellent Jobs2web slide helps to illustrate that an effective recruitment strategy attracts candidates from a variety of sources including job boards, social media, and search engines.

To compete for talent, employers must now add search engine optimizer to the list of responsibilities for recruiters and human resources professionals. Just last month 101,000,000 global searches on Google for ‘jobs’ last month (Source: Google Keyword Tool. From Davis Advertising, 2011 Second Annual Survey of Job Posting Sites, Chris Taylor). For employers, recruitment is no longer just a human resources function. Getting candidates to find you requires a well-executed internet marketing strategy when writing ads, using social media, and designing a career site.

The report also reported that 57.1 percent of the respondents believed that social media played an important part in their direct sourcing program. Asked to rank the impact of social media on various parts of their recruiting program, respondents said its influence was greatest on direct sourcing, college hiring, and on hiring from job boards.

The most important finding might be that internal movement is the #1 Source of Hire. Yes that’s right – career sites, job boards, and ads on social networking sites may help increase the flow through the talent pipeline but more than half of ALL hires were filled from internal movement. It is the second year in a row that internal movement was attributed to at least 50% of the positions filled.

Referrals contributed the most new candidates when evaluating external sources of hire, following by job boards. Monster and CareerBuilder continue to be the leading suppliers of new hires. Of the responding companies, 88.9 percent reported making at least one hire from Monster; 85.7 percent hired at least one candidate from CareerBuilder.

Based on these results, I offer four recommendations if employers will be successful in their pursuit of skilled workers:

1. Candidates must be recruited from multiple sources including internal candidates, referrals, job boards, and social media.

2. A company career site is more important as a central point of application than a direct source of candidates.

3. An applicant processing system must be considered to facilitate the rapid and accurate screening of applications.

4. Referrals and word of mouth remain the number one source ofexternal hires. Consequently, social networks cannot be ignored; they are a viable and important sources of candidates.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.