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2017 Benchmarks that Pave the Way for 2018 Hiring Success

2017 Benchmarks that Pave the Way for 2018 Hiring Success

By: John Rossheim

Is your company planning to grow next year? Any expansion will likely require an expanded team headcount and an evolving mix of jobs skills.  

Here’s the good news: the fourth quarter of the year is the time to lay the groundwork for successful and timely recruitment of the right talent for the year ahead. 

To give you a head start, we’ve spoken with recruiters and other workforce experts. Their tactics will help you glean the talent needed for success in the coming year.

Improve recruitment results with enterprise-wide workforce planning. More and more, companies of all sizes are rejiggering their talent acquisition practices by soliciting input from people all over the organization, from line-of-business managers, to rank-and-file workers, to C-suite executives. 

“The organizations that get good results have refined, organization-wide workforce planning processes that give them more lead time on hiring,” says Elissa Tucker principal researcher for human capital management at APQC, a non-profit benchmarking and best practices research firm. 

Leverage data to win the attention of your product-line managers. Would you like to persuade managers to contribute to workforce strategy earlier in the planning cycle? Show them the data: average tenure in key roles, how much attrition can be expected in 2018, and so on. 

“Analytics is a door opener,” says Tucker. “Analytics gets the attention of line-of-business managers” with regard to workplace planning and their role in it.

Increase the frequency of all-hands workforce planning check-ins. Your organization’s ideal talent mix changes continually, so it’s arbitrary and ill-advised to make a plan only once a year and set it in stone. Recognizing this, more and more organizations are checking in with all workforce stakeholders at least quarterly, Tucker says. 

Plan all your early 2018 hires before Thanksgiving 2017. Don’t wait for New Years to get specific about your hiring plans for the early months of the year. Take the first steps now to avoid getting caught flat-footed mid-winter. 

“A lot of candidates don’t make moves during the holidays, so we start talking about January hires around Thanksgiving,” says Juli Santiago, a vice president at Search Max.

Scope out regulatory changes scheduled throughout 2018. With the changeover of White House administrations, Federal labor regulations are in flux. Your organization must keep on top of pending changes at the national level, but also keep abreast of proliferating state and local changes. 

For example, starting in October 2017, “in New York City, we can only ask candidates about target salary range, not their current salary range,” says Santiago. For starters, the Society for Human Resource Management maintains a Federal and state labor legislation tracking system.

Recognize that market forces can trump Federal deregulation. In 2018 wages and employment classifications -- such as overtime exempt versus non-exempt -- likely will be driven more by a very tight labor market than by looser regulation. 

“For the last year of Obama’s presidency, everyone thought the FLSA overtime wage floor was going to go up, but that has died on the vine under Trump,” says Todd Wulffson, managing partner at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger

But given near full employment, employers will be unlikely to rescind wage increases given in preparation for the FLSA revision.

Anticipate fewer surprises from the NLRB. Employers can expect the National Labor Relations Board -- now comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats – to be solidly in Republican hands after the president fills a vacancy in 2018, according to Wulffsson. With this shift, the NLRB will be less aggressive about asserting novel forms of worker claims against employers, he says. 

The effects in 2018 are likely to be lower costs and less risk in fielding a workforce. And that means your competitors may be more aggressive in staffing up than they have been for the last several years.

Invest more in junior-level searches. In the wake of the 2007-2009 recession, it was relatively easy to recruit young talent with some experience. Not so in 2018. “The hardest-to-fill jobs are the ones that ask for five years of experience,” says Santiago. “Because we’re in a candidate-driven marketplace, a candidate can be looking at five offers at once.”

Have a backup plan for the hardest-to-fill roles. You can’t always get exactly what you want, especially if you’re looking for professionals with rare technical skills. So be flexible. 

“In cybersecurity, broader skills are often better,” says Jeff Freiss, practice leader for cybersecurity at Global Executive Solutions Group. “Because of the talent shortage, companies can’t always hire a specialist. I’ve been focusing on security engineers and security architects,” who are more adaptable than specialists in specific programming languages, for example.

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