You have to hire this year. So be warned, HR pros: There are several new threats to hiring.
Nearly 60% of businesses expect to grow in 2023. But 55% expect talent acquistion will be a top challenge in the growth, according to the 2023 National Business Trends Survey from the Employer Associations of America.
Translation: The demand will be there, but leaders are concerned they won’t have the right workforce to meet it.
Recognize the new threats to hiring
“The economy may be down, but business is good. And because business is good, we are seeing an increase in hiring,” said EAA Board of Directors Chair Kevin Robins and CEO of MidAtlantic Employers’ Association (MEA). “We still have many challenges and uncertainties.”
One of those: Emerging threats to good hiring. What to fear, according to experts:
- Career Cushioning
- Quiet Hiring
- Skills Gap, and
- Talent Shortage.
Here are the five trends you’ll want to note, plus effective, expert-driven ways to navigate them this year.
Career Cushioning is on the rise and it will likely affect recruting and retention. It’s the professional evil cousin of the dating world’s cushioning when one person looks for other romantic options while in a relationship.
“In November, companies cut over 46,000 jobs due to recessionary fears. Employees see this, become nervous and anxious, and seek security. They do this by tapping their networks and building new skills to properly prepare for a job loss,” says Jessica Kriegel, Chief Scientist of Workplace Culture at Culture Partners.
HR needs to handle this on two fronts: Recruiting and retention.
When hiring, be wary of Career Cushioning. Candidates who are just testing the waters aren’t likely great candidates because they won’t likely commit and they may be cushioning from you very soon. Gauge loyalty in interviews.
For retention, “be transparent,” says Kriegel. “Take steps so employees have confidence that the organization is taking the proper actions to address the challenges ahead and create a promising outlook for the entire organization. Managers should acknowledge the degree of uncertainty with their direct reports and ensure employees who stay benefit from any re-organization.”
The job market will likely be tight for most, if not all, of 2023, according to Department of Labor’s Jobs Report, which showed unemployment shrinking the last quarter of 2022.
So employers will want to focus on employee retention efforts. And when it comes to hiring, you’ll want to move away from “micro-interviewing” – that is, putting candidates through an overly long interview process. In a war for talent, the more quickly you can move solid candidates through your hiring process, the more likely you’ll get the best hires.
While you don’t want to rush through the interview process, you want to run it efficiently. Before posting a job, work with hiring managers on a cadence so all interviews, assessments and follow up are scheduled within certain dates. That way, candidates know what to expect and the hiring team is committed to getting the job done in a reasonable time – and won’t be tempted to micro-interview.
Quiet Hiring is a response to Quiet Quitting. While it’s a way to reward those who go above and beyond in their role – and essentially continually hire the top performers – it has its faults.
“With Quiet Hiring, employees put in the extra work without having a clear understanding of what is required and with no guarantee of advancement. Although promotions are being offered, there is no communication of role boundaries and what is needed to succeed,” says Sathya Smith, CEO and Founder at Piper. “It facilitates the idea that it is OK for … leaders to respond passively to employees’ behaviors and actions, rather than acknowledge them openly.”
So, yes, keep re-hiring your employees, but do it loudly and boldly, Smith says. Let them know what they do well and the great things – such as promotion, money and/or authority – they’re working toward.
“Set the perimeters for progression so it doesn’t lead to employee burnout from unmanageable workloads,” Smith cautions.
The pervasive skills gap persists.
“The economics of supply and demand remain the driving market force. Companies are still in acute need of trained, job-ready talent that can provide value to their organizations from day one and that need won’t change for the foreseeable future,” says Todd Zipper, executive vice president at Wiley.
He suggests these two strategies to bridge the gap:
- Widen the talent pool: Look beyond or eliminate four-year-degree requirements and interview candidates with relevant work experience and alternate credentials such as certifications. They will likely have skills that apply to the workplace and a specific role. Plus, you create a new pathway for growth.
- Upskill/reskill the workforce: Sometimes the best source of talent is within your organization. Assess how upskilling and reskilling programs can bridge internal skills gaps without adding the costs and risks of more recruiting.
“It’s important to delineate the different ‘markets within the market’ when looking at hiring trends for 2023,” says Zipper. “Among skilled professionals, the labor market will slow but not change substantially, and will continue to favor employees over employers, especially in technology-related fields.”
For lower- and mid-level positions, the hiring odds are in the employers’ favor, Zipper says.
To find the talent, try new sourcing solutions such as Hire-Train-Deploy (HTD).
“It has emerged as an innovative sourcing model that provides a sustainable pipeline of skilled tech talent,” Zipper says. “HTD is also diversifying tech teams by providing opportunities to students of all backgrounds, regardless of academic pedigree.”