Can’t Find Talent? You May be Looking the Wrong Way

With Canada’s national unemployment rate at just 6.2% (and the US rate holding steady at 4.1%) you might feel like you’re working harder than usual to find employees. And not just good ones … anyone at all.

The Canadian retail sector holds the largest employment share in the nation, so competing with other retailers for workers is a challenge. Some reports suggest a turnover rate of up to 67% for part-time retail employees, possibly due to seasonality and lower wages. Up to 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment, and you might spend six to eight figures replacing employees this year.

A high industry turnover rate, along with fewer unemployed people looking for work, means it’ll take serious resourcefulness to unearth talent in a candidate-driven market. The good news? The pool isn’t as limited as it may seem.

A low unemployment rate shouldn’t deter you from recruiting. People who are employed aren’t necessarily engaged; 30% of them may be job-hunting while at work because 65% of working Canadians are prepared to leave their current employer.

One way to entice employees to jump ship from competitors is to offer a higher wage. According to a Randstad survey, 64% of Canadian workers say money is their top priority (albeit not their only one) when looking for a job. The average rate for a retail sales associate sits at $11.81 per hour, close to Canada’s average minimum wage, so consider the number you’re currently offering, and be prepared to raise it when attracting and retaining top performers.

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But whether or not your candidates are currently employed, fewer active candidates means your recruitment approach needs to focus both on quality (finding the best candidates) and quantity (increasing your chances of being seen).

Source creatively and persistently. Posting job openings is not enough. We’ve seen hiring teams post a vacancy on one or two job boards, maybe update the listing every few weeks or every month, and act surprised when applications don’t come flooding in.

At Mindfield, we’ve discovered that it takes a consistent process and scaled presence to push companies to the forefront. Depending on the market size and location, we use a multi-pronged sourcing strategy that has us targeting national and niche job boards, running email campaigns and digital ads, and tapping into our proprietary constantly updated database of over 2.6 million candidates. These high exposure campaigns feature SEO-friendly descriptions to showcase the role and employer brand so postings are easily found and so your company stays top-of-mind.

Hire for fit and reduce turnover. With such high industry turnover rates, how do you hold on to good people? The risks of a disengaged workforce are well-documented, and engaged employees have the highest retention rates. But it isn’t enough to simply engage your current team. If you don’t hire people who fit, they’re more likely to leave.

Recruiting employees who share values with your business will result in engagement and satisfaction from the get-go. So when you’re posting jobs, and even when you’re not, make sure your company culture and the nature of the role are front and center.

Hire and create strong leaders. Even if you hire exceptional people, you may experience a high turnover rate if their supervisor isn’t equally exceptional. Employees leave managers more than they leave jobs, and all too often, hourly workers enter supervisory roles with little to no leadership knowledge.

Seventy-four percent of retailers told Hay Group that the main reason employees quit is in “pursuit of better opportunities.” Hire and train great leaders, and you’ll not only have a better functioning team but more opportunities to promote from within.

It takes a lot of work to source, screen, interview, and hire candidates, especially in the current market. Remember, help is available from start to finish while you build a successful workforce.

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Cameron Laker

Cameron Laker
CEO and Co-founder MindField Group

Cameron Laker

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