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Recruit and Retain Top Talent in 2023

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Where has the time gone? It’s certainly been an interesting couple of years.

We took a step back and reflected on how turbulent recent global events have reshaped the recruitment and retention landscape. 

We explored what hiring trends and challenges recruiters, HR teams and Talent Acquisition Specialists have faced and how they have overcome them. Now is the time to understand what candidates and employees need so you can make powerful people decisions in 2023. 

Here are the HR and recruitment learnings and trends that we identified and a few tips to help hiring and retention in 2023. 

The current landscape 

Since COVID-19 rocked the world in 2020, recruitment agencies and businesses have had to adapt their procedures on how they normally hired talent. Most pre-pandemic practices have changed.

The pandemic brought about a huge digital shift in recruitment processes. Fewer job interviews are actually taking place in person as virtual job interviews have become the new normal.

Self-isolation requirements also forced businesses to reshape their operating models so that their employees could work from home to continue to drive the business.

The ability to work from home now means that location is no longer a determining factor in hiring new employees or retaining existing staff.

In many countries such as Australia, border closures have dictated a drastic reduction in labour from overseas, resulting in the national unemployment rate dropping to just 3.5% as of June 2022.

During isolation, a huge number of people also re-evaluated all areas of their lives, and their careers were no exception. 

Between February 2021 and February 2022, 1.3 million people changed jobs in Australia, provoking thoughts of a ‘Great Resignation’. Furthermore, 21% of the workforce have only been employed in their current job for one year. Whether this period of transition knows as The Great Resignation is over, or we are still in the midst of it, remains to be determined.

But ultimately, the power has shifted from employers to employees. As of April 2022, national job advertisements were up 22.2% compared to April last year. Individuals now have greater expectations from respective employees, and with a greater number of new jobs available, they aren’t afraid to voice their expectations or leave for a better alternative.

Two pie charts: 54% of workers expect a hybrid model.42% of workers expect more flexible start times.

A recent survey found that:

  • 54% of workers expect a hybrid model.
  • 42% of workers expect more flexible start times.

Thus, the battle for hiring and retaining talent is well and truly on! 

So, what did all this mean for HR professionals? What have human resources and recruitment specialists learned from the current landscape and what trends will shape the way they recruit and retain in the future?

List of 4 trends uncovered - using tech to recruit, develop strong employer brand, focus on retention, understand reasons for departure

These questions uncovered four key learnings including:

  1. Using tech and data to recruit quickly
  2. Developing a strong employer brand to hire well
  3. Focusing on retention goals
  4. Understanding reasons for employee departure to reduce attrition 
Learning 1: Use tech to recruit

Learning #1: Use Tech and Data to Recruit Quickly

Recruiting the perfect candidate is now harder than ever and represents a worry for 73% of Australian business owners in 2022.

With numerous companies competing for the same top employees; streamlining, digitising, and optimising your recruitment process is essential. 

If employees are burdened with an outdated, inefficient, and labourious interviewing and onboarding process, they are more inclined to side with another employer. Job offers need to come fast and for many recruiters, time to hire remains one of the leading Key Performance Indicators. 

In the aged care industry for example, Xref customers have reported the current recruitment trend of seeing top candidates needing to be contacted within one hour of applying for a role, and interviewed ideally later that same day. Otherwise, a competitor organisation will snap them up.  

Tech has helped revolutionise the recruitment process, making the lives of hiring managers and human resources professionals much easier, enhancing overall business efficiency.

Tip: Refreshing your recruitment strategies can help find talent in unique places. In the current climate, it’s better to be quick and efficient, to ensure you don’t lose out in the battle for candidates.

Headshot of Marley

Xref’s Marley Monk explains that ​​“The talent shortage market means your hiring process also has to be efficient. It can't be too arduous and it can't be too much.

Xref helps our customers save time in the reference checking stage of the recruitment process. Customers can raise a reference request in as little as 30 seconds and have a returned reference report in an average of 18 hours. Online reference checking reduces the need to play phone tag between recruiters and referees. 

Headshot of Beck Sparkes

Xref customer, Bec Sparkes from Enablo says Xref has helped her with hiring across multiple countries and time zones.

There’s only a small window that I have with the crossover between the US working hours, and I should use that time to interview candidates. If I had to do manual references and line up times to talk too, I would be using that short window of crossover to do references, rather than actually continuing to hire.

Many repetitive HR tasks can be automated to create data-driven insights.

Trend: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Continues to Grow in HR 

AI has already become a part of the hiring environment and the initial results are promising for HR professionals.

AI technology will never replace recruiters or HR professionals, but unlike people, AI doesn’t possess any biases when screening and selecting new candidates. The power of AI technology also enhances the evaluation of candidate data, analytics, and pattern recognition for more valuable insights.

The entry of AI into the recruitment environment sees benefits in cost, time reduction and also improved candidate experience with advancements such as chatbots. 

Did you know, in areas such as pre-screening, new hire monitoring and onboarding, AI has helped reduce costs by up to 75%.

Trend: Tech to Manage Candidate Relationships

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) is a new type of relationship management that was one of last year’s top recruitment trends, and it is set to continue.
Tip: A CRM can helps solve the growing problem of attracting talent as it allows for personalisation, relationship-building and engaging email campaigns.

Candidate Relationship Management can be utilised across existing, previous, and potential candidates.

CRM is a terrific strategy in the current climate given that 90% of HR professionals say today’s talent acquisition trends are mostly candidate-driven.

Learning 2: Create a strong employer brand

Learning #2: Develop a Strong Employer Brand to Hire Well

Since the emergence of the candidate-driven market, an employer’s brand has taken on even greater significance in the recruitment landscape.

With greater competition in the battle for talent, companies also need to sell themselves more effectively to job seekers. This is not just confined to the Australian market, as the European Labour Authority explains:

“For companies to stand out, they now have to actively ‘sell’ themselves to job seekers by offering relevant perks, such as flexible working, health and wellness packages, and sick leave policies for when employees need to care for a sick family member. Remote working is here to stay, and employers can no longer rely on attracting job seekers with a fancy office or a quirky recreation room – instead, they need to show how they will look after their staff.

Trend: Tell Real Stories and be Authentic for Hiring Success

When candidates are looking for roles, most companies have corporate values that communicate what a company is really like on the inside. It means that candidates feel they are taking a huge risk starting a new role. They ask questions like, ‘Is it the type of role and company I am looking for? Will I fit in?’

Headshot of Serge

In a recent webinar conducted by Xref, the VP of Business Development / Head of Sales at Careerbeacon, Serge Boudreau, emphasised the importance of real stories in attracting top candidates. 

What candidates are telling us in the market is that they’re wanting real stories. They want to know what the corporation is actually like.” 

Tip: Think of your employer brand as your reputation. Consider what can your company and culture offer candidates, in exchange for their talent, skills, and experience.

A candidate that understands your employer brand and has the skills you need is likely to be a strong fit for your organisation, thus hopefully increasing retention. 

Learning 3: Focus on retention

Learning #3: Focus on Retention Goals

With more employment options out there than ever in recent memory, businesses should also not neglect their existing staff.

As the employer, you must make a consistent effort to make existing employees feel like valued team members. If not, they are naturally going to begin exploring options elsewhere.

Tip: To reduce attrition, HR and People and Culture teams can increase their involvement with other teams in the business to better understand the needs and goals of employees. 

The following trends illustrate that many organisations are doing just that. 

Trend: Upskilling from Within

According to LinkedIn data, internal mobility is up 20% since the onset of COVID-19.

Internal mobility is up 20%

With many professionals re-evaluating their current roles, companies should clearly communicate the availability of horizontal shifts in their organisation. The ability to change job avenues within the same company enables prized employees to gain experience in another sector whilst also retaining their valued service.

In turn, businesses should also look to promote from within and upskill their staff on a consistent basis. A staff member who sees internal opportunities within their grasp and is being supported with training and development measures is less likely to leave.

Focus on ‘Power Skills’

Consider also the opportunity to develop ‘power skills’ within your people. Skills such as communication, innovation, creativity, collaboration, adaptability, listening and time management are becoming increasingly valued by HR professionals and recruiters because with remote and hybrid working environments, employees are expected to work in “a state of constant change and adjustment”. 

list of power skills

In the near future, it is predicted that around 66% of all new jobs will mainly rely on skills such as those listed above.

To further support this notion, a study by McKinsey predicts that 10 years from now, workplace demand for social or relationship-building skills will increase across all industries.

In 2019, Deloitte found that a typical employee lacks 1.2 of the essential skills that an employer required for a particular job. Today, that number has risen to 18 essential skills, translating to 23 million skills shortages.

Tip: As a recruiter, look out for candidates who possess power skills such as collaboration, coachability, problem-solving and communication. 

Trend: Embracing Flexibility and Employee Wellbeing 

Increasingly, employee wellbeing is front and centre in the people landscape and HR professionals need to embrace these needs to reduce attrition and increase retention. Whether that means flexible work, reducing skills gaps with training and development or focusing on diversity and inclusion, for example. 

Since the emergence of the candidate-driven market, employers have had to adapt to the new expectations of the workforce. One of these expectations is hybrid work. 

64% of managers believe their team is just as productive working from home

A mix of working from home and working in the office is proven to be highly valued by candidates and existing employees. From an employer’s perspective, productivity has not diminished in the majority of roles, given that 64% of managers believe their teams are just as productive working from home.

Tip: If you are struggling to fill positions even after advertising a hybrid model of work, consider the option for remote workers and remove location from the equation. This can open up a vastly bigger talent pool of candidates.

Organisations will lose talent if they don't adapt to candidate and employee expectations around these issues," said Amber Ferrari, marketing manager at Jobvite. 

Recruiters have had candidates turn down offers specifically because there wasn't flexibility built into the offer. Some form of flexibility is becoming less of a perk and more of a real expectation.

Learning #4: Understand reasons for attrition

Learning #4: Understand Reasons for Departure to Reduce Attrition

Another way of retaining talent is understanding the reasons why your people leave. Tracking reasons for departure through an Exit Survey may help with retention strategies in the future. It’s important for HR leaders to have a clear view of what their people may need in order to achieve longer-term retention. 

Tip: As part of an Exit Survey, it may also be valuable to ask your departing employees if they would be interested to be rehired. This can be an interesting way to build your talent pool to help with future hiring. 

Trend: Strategise to Mitigate the Great Resignation and Talent Shortage

By understanding reasons for departure, organisations can work towards mitigating the impacts of The Great Resignation and the current talent shortage market. Learnings and strong change can be made when reasons for attrition are documented well. 

Some staff may be leaving for reasons outside of an organisation’s control, however other employees will have reasons that can be acted upon. Taking action and creating practical strategies can improve your organisation for future success and increased retention rates. 

What Does the Future Hold for HR Professionals?

It certainly is a trying time for businesses in the areas of recruitment and retention. While the market remains candidate-focused, it is likely that this shift in candidate and employee expectations will continue. 

Given what we know with the current people landscape, we expect certain hiring trends to come to fruition in the next few months. Power skills, AI and HR-focused CRMs are some top trending possibilities. 

The shift towards tech-focused HR practices is already strongly underway but this is set to increase with time. 

To secure the best talent, it is important that the recruitment industry is creative in searching for talent. Organisations need to embrace the shift away from traditional recruitment methods and ways of working. The most successful will be those who can adapt well and adapt fast.

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