If you have been running lean on employees, now is the time to hire, and this guide explains why.
The Great Recession has bequeathed one of the oddest hiring markets in U.S. history. Despite lingering high unemployment, many businesses report difficulty finding skilled workers. Fears about a double dip make it doubly hard for companies to know when and how to fill jobs.
A good place to start is by getting a mental grip on the current landscape. The layoffs, freezes and wage cuts of the past three years have greatly unsettled management-employee relations. Just look at Madison, Wisconsin, where angry union members, students and sympathetic workers have occupied the state capitol building to protest proposed legislative changes to labor benefits and collective bargaining.
With so much at stake nowadays, owners may want to speed up the staffing process so they can "get back to work." But hiring is among the most important, high-impact aspects of that work. Here are some important steps to consider as the businesses start to crawl out of the recession.
1. Don't assume you have the upper hand. The idea that businesses can pick workers from the cream of the crop, pay them less and they'll be grateful is a fallacy. First, a talent shortage in fields unscathed by recession, including healthcare, entertainment, data communications and biotech, ensures rising wages. Second, the last few years have bred an internalized sense of independence among many job hunters.
Kevin Wheeler is founder and CEO of the recruitment consulting firm Global Learning Resources, Inc. in Fremont, California, and founder of the Future of Talent Institute, which analyzes global workplace trends and attitudes.
In a 2008 article on the recession, he predicted, "More people than ever are trying out life as independent workers. Many will not make it and return to the corporate fold, but they will be wiser and better prepared to abandon ship than they were before."
Finally, the fraying of traditional loyalties has led to a devaluation of corporate employment. As Wheeler keenly noted, "Reliance on a single firm for security has already eroded and this recession will strengthen employees' wariness about promises and deferred compensation."
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