Keeping hires happy means giving them information

Organizations large and small are struggling to hire sufficient staff as 2021 approaches its halfway mark. With the costs of labor rising and the stakes growing higher, speed and efficiency in hiring are not enough.

One-time perks to encourage applications might get some takers, but how can hiring managers ensure they're bringing in quality workers who will stick around months from now?

A simple answer: ask the workers. Traitify's Happiness Report surveyed over 1,100 hourly workers to find out what makes them happy on the job and what's important when applying for a new position. Themes emerged that can provide valuable takeaways for HR professionals keen on standing out amid a crowded landscape.

Talent Acquisition: it's a back-and-forth

One key: communication. Respondents let us know that they want to hear from employers. Survey-takers indicated that when applying for a job, they appreciate a process that's easy and fast. But also among their highest priorities: keep us in the loop.

Happiness Report - Job Candidate Happiness Factors: ease of job search website 53%, ease of application 50%, regular updates on process 49%, not being ghosted 48%, yes or no within weeks 48%, fast responses at each step 46%

In other words, job applicants for high-volume roles have an interest in a hiring process that is a back and forth exchange. About 1 in 2 of our survey-takers selected "Regular updates telling me where I am in the process" as a sought-after component. A platform comparable to a "Track my package" service could be an influential step.

Other features could include an estimated time to complete each step of the hiring process, including a theoretical start date. About the same number of respondents (48%) endorsed "Getting a yes or no response within a few weeks of applying." This points to the applicant's interest in their overall time investment, but also to their desire for an endpoint. Whatever the conclusion of a hiring process, applicants want to be informed.

Not a cookie-cutter approach

Survey data from previous years provides additional evidence that job-seekers appreciate being kept up to speed. While our data indicate that individuals value up-to-date information about the application process, other research shows that people in the job market value on-the-ground insights about open jobs. In Glassdoor's 2018 survey, 45% of workers said a top source of job information is hearing about the role from a friend. This suggests that when considering their prospects, individuals are receptive to first-hand knowledge about what a workday entails.

Responses to this preference could return to tried-and-tested methods, like offering a referral bonus. But there's room for innovation. Employees could serve in recruitment teams and/or as liaisons to a given school, sports league, or online community. It's the ability to tell a "story" that should be emphasized, so that prospective applicants can come to a greater understanding of the job's advantages and daily rhythms.

Employee Engagement: keep up communication

Our Happiness Report provides additional insights into a "give and take" approach. We asked workers to consider how various employer initiatives would impact their happiness with their jobs. Responses revealed an interest in paid time off and prioritizing workplace safety. Close behind: receiving communication from a manager focused on how the worker is feeling and how life is going, which notched an average score of 63 happiness-producing points on a 100-point scale.

Happiness Report - Employer Pandemic Initiatives Ratings out of 100: unexpected paid day off 78, covid-19 safety enforced 64, manager checking in 63, email acknowledging challenges 59, eliminating performance reviews 58, hosting virtual meetups 54, talking about the new normal 48

There are two important points here. One is that there is value in communication focused on concepts like state of mind, everyday coping, and overall wellness. Two is that personalized communication — a small-audience message from an immediate supervisor — may be uniquely powerful in boosting workplace morale.

Next, remember "give and take." SHRM notes the value of encouraging communication from employees. "Not only does a comprehensive approach to listening help an organization pinpoint and quickly address problems, it makes people feel valued," Tamara Lytle writes. Consider creating both opportunities for workers to share their thoughts and suggestions with management and to communicate with each other to share resources and advice.

"Not only does a comprehensive approach to listening help an organization pinpoint and quickly address problems, it makes people feel valued" - Tamara Lytle

Status quo = rough waters ahead

A recent US Chamber of Commerce survey confirmed deep and widespread hiring woes. More than two thirds of respondents indicated that hiring professionals in their region were having a "very difficult" time hiring sufficient workers, with only 5.7% claiming that hiring conditions were "normal."

Given the uphill road of the next several months, candidate experience needs to set the tone as not only fast and engaging, but also one in which the future employee feels heard, valued, and well-informed.


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