The past year has been a rollercoaster for both employers and workers. COVID-19 lockdowns left many stores, businesses, and restaurants out of business or with no workers to return when the doors reopened later last year. This also affected the job market as those laid off and on unemployment struggled to find a job due to companies cutting staff or pausing hiring. As the United States begins to see the pandemic in the rearview mirror, the need for workers is unprecedented. According to Roy Maurer, a writer at SHRM, the number of vacant positions in the U.S. is at an all-time high. This is puzzling as unemployment claims have dipped down to a new pandemic-era low and businesses are still left understaffed. A hiring spree is going to be in full effect in the upcoming months and companies need to be prepared to compete for applicants. Keep reading to check out the details.
A Surge of Applicants is Coming and Here are the Reasons
During the height of the pandemic, the federal government introduced a supplemental $600 unemployment benefit on top of the regular payments an individual would normally receive. Most recently, the supplemental payments have been $300. During the past few weeks, some states have either halted the participation in that program or have been discussing it. For those relying on that additional money, it may be frightening enough to push them harder into getting back to work. Another staggering fact is many economists have discovered that those who once made less than $34,000 a year would actually be collecting more annually on unemployment (Maurer). Although there is a vast amount of push-back when it comes to ending these payments, it may be the key to encouraging people to re-enter the workforce.
Another potential cause of the post-pandemic hiring spree is the rise of wages for companies that rely on hourly employees. When it comes to organizations raising their starting wage, they really have no option. When people are making more money on unemployment, employers are forced to raise their wages to even keep their doors open. Companies like Costco, Amazon, and Best Buy have raised their lowest wage to at least $15/hour. Believe it or not, Costco took part in this over two years ago and has even raised their minimum wage to $16/hour in more recent times.
Besides wages raising and the supplemental unemployment halting, another aspect that may cause a surge of applicants is the amount of remote work jobs available. One of the most unique effects of COVID-19 was the number of companies that either stayed 100% remote or offered a hybrid option to their employees. This has become increasingly attractive to applicants as it is somewhat of “the-new-thing.” Also, those who worked through the pandemic in a remote way may be used to the convenience and are not willing to give it up. Companies that offer remote positions are getting more applicants than companies that do not.
4 Ideas to Prepare for the Post-Pandemic Hiring Spree
- Be Ready to Compete for Applicants
Wages are on the rise and even fast-food franchises have raised their minimum wages to $15 per hour. Besides that, offering an attractive benefits package may be the selling point for some job candidates. Consider offering a $500 sign-on bonus or even a referral bonus for any current employee that refers a new employee. The more beneficial for the employee, the better as it will become an extremely competitive market. True Hire has also made available a new initiative that allows companies to receive background check results in just 15 minutes when the results are clear.
- Adopt a Compressive Background Screening Program
Ensuring that you are hiring the best people is extremely important. You may have been waiting several months to be properly staffed, but you want to avoid turnover at a later time. You can do this by adopting a compressive background screening program that will prevent felons, sex offenders, and other criminals from working at your business.
- Consider Remote Employees if You Can
Remote work is the new hot topic in the workforce now. Simply avoiding that at all costs may cause your current employees to leave or turn away potential new employees. If you chose to do so, create a comprehensive remote work plan that will ensure that your employees are ready to take on the day even in their own home. Utilizing remote workers also opens your company up to a larger market pool of applicants. Restricting applicants to a specific area may work for some positions, but remote workers can be found almost anywhere.
- Consolidate Training
Once you have hired new staff, creating a concrete and consolidated training program is a must. After going through the rigorous ropes of hiring, the last thing you want to do is wait for your employees to start working. Be prepared, have a plan, and even consider training more than one employee at a time.