Last week we held a roundtable discussion with leaders in Talent Acquisition and not surprisingly, the table was full and the conversation could have continued on even longer! Afterwards we spent some time giving back to our community at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Below is just a quick summary of the conversation.

Ideas were shared around helping recruiters that that are feeling fatigue and exhaustion during these times:

• Offering a half day off every Friday (or similar).

• Ensuring the entire TA team isn’t missing at once, but allowing more flexibility for those who wish to take it to reset and enjoy some downtime.

• Recognition programs such as recruiter of the month, quarter, etc. Prize at the end of the year can be something along the lines of professional development such as attending SHRM Talent. This has increased recruiter retention.

• Add recruiters to the team to help ease the req burden. Consider bringing in ‘greener’ recruiters to help them along. Engage the buddy system – pair someone early career with someone more experienced. Build connections – both can learn from each other! Leverage these senior recruiters who are looking to advance in the TA space. They can be mentors to the rest of the team which allows their leadership style to be observed and stretches them professionally.

• Provide regular feedback and encouragement.

Keeping your TA team engaged:

This has proven challenging, but the good news is that no one is giving up. Creativity is key and finding new ways to connect, especially with a remote team. Here are some ideas shared:

• Create a Fun Committee. They develop plans for engagement such as virtual happy hours, virtual walks (everyone in their own neighborhood on zoom for 1 mile), family feud etc.

• In meetings, take 30 minutes for business and 30 minutes for socializing, personal connections.

• Change your review process. No more annual performance evaluations. Instead, try performance conversations that last 15 minutes and are held more frequently. This eliminates surprises and allows adjustments to be made.

• Review your TA process. Keeping an eye on making sure the TA process works. Ask yourself:

Does your team have coordinators or onboarding folks that can help ease the load?

What tools can you use to help automate some of the administrative tasks while keeping the process personal?

Does your process take too long? What is holding it up?

Are your job postings working? Are you sharing enough about culture?

Is the interview experience you provide one that allows your organization to shine or does it turn candidates away?

Where are your candidates (and your team) at with remote, hybrid, in office?

There is no one size fits all approach. And while TA professionals know this, helping leadership throughout the organization understand this is proving to be a challenge.

Some folks indicate a desire to return to the office, while others insist remote must be an option. One candidate turned down a role because it was remote, and although there is a satellite office nearby – it’s not where the team sits.

It is best to spell out the requirements for each position in the job posting. This requires more in-depth intake calls to ensure TA understands that hiring leader’s expectations for their team. Is hybrid 4 in 1 out, you decide, or what does that look like?

Some companies have been willing to be flexible based on the position and the person. This has proven to be great for attracting and retaining talent, but is a hard sell. It requires a shift in the mindset, and no hard & fast rules.

If you’re trying to get more employees in the office, make good use of their time. ‘Purposeful presence.’ Requiring teams to be in on the same day means they can collaborate in person those days. Offer incentives and social interaction such as lunches, coffee/pastries etc. Food seems to be a good way to win hearts!

Overall – the best approach is for an organization to be as flexible as possible. Often that is easier said than done.

Other creative strategies to fill your talent pipeline:

• Evaluate your job requirements. Is a high school diploma required for some of your hourly roles? Why? Will lack of high school diploma or degree prohibit future growth in your organization? Can that change?

• Evaluate your degree requirement for tech jobs. There is a decrease in the number of students attending college, and these folks are digital natives. Minimize the barrier to a role by not requiring the degree. Consider folks who have been with LaunchCode or similar.

• Employee referrals – many have beefed up their employee referral programs offering more for ‘hot jobs.’ With larger recruitment teams, consider offering this to recruiters – sharing candidates they have connected with for someone else’s req.

• Engage your employees as ambassadors of your organization, particularly for roles where your company is not a destination employer, i.e., Marketing and eCommerce roles at a pharma manufacturing company.

• Consider bringing on retirees as an encore program or consider alternative hiring. For hourly roles, when possible, consider a flex force – people that want to pick up a few shifts a month as an example. It can help out a short-staffed team!

As always, we are humbled and honored to be a part of these conversations among leaders in the St. Louis region. We look forward to continuing to support you in the way you need us most to hire and develop the key talent you need to succeed.