The Great Resignation with a "Too Weak" Notice (7 min read)
Welp…the calendar year has finally turned over. Speaking of turnover, some folks had a great 2021 and others seemed to have gleefully said goodbye, adios, arrivederci, good riddance to last year…and their jobs. Either way, if you are reading this…congratulations…you made it to 2022! And for the majority of employees still working at home, you may look forward to yet another year plowing ahead, supporting societal productivity with your fuzzy slippers on!
For many employers, this past year felt like there was a giant leech draining workforce strength with attrition, long hours, and increased production. In addition, new prospects are simply not joining the work force the way they have in the past and many employees have up and resigned. In fact, The U.S. Department of Labor reported a record 4.5 million people left their jobs in November 2021, with similar preceding numbers in both September and October.
With this in mind and a fresh start to the year at hand, this article will examine why this “Great Resignation” is happening, help you combat it by getting back to the basics of recruiting, and finally shoring up your onboarding process with fresh prospective employees to help ensure your title insurance and settlement services business can operate efficiently.
For a large portion of American industry, the most substantial workforce loss and highest turnover rates appear to be coming from lower-wage sectors. The Great Resignation has caused many to ask the question “why is this happening?” There appear to be many things causing this phenomenon, one of the primary catalysts obviously being the recent pandemic.
With all these individuals leaving, it transfers the output burden to anyone still in the building. This stacking effect, if continued month in and month out, can cause a general sense of fatigue and frustration. These effects can build without positive signs of reinforcement relief. With noses firmly on the grindstone, career development may have taken a back seat along with responding to employee feedback and requests. Limited growth and overworked leaders can also contribute to employee frustration, increased dissatisfaction and attrition, further compounding the issue.
This in mind, employees are increasingly looking outward for career advancement often bringing the allure of a bigger paycheck. Moreover, recruiting can be an easy activity to put on the backburner amongst the chaos of reduced staff and other day-to-day responsibilities for leadership and management. With the current feeding frenzy for talent, it’s important to note that both recruiting and managing employees is a high effort endeavor, and your competitors are likely watching, popcorn in hand.
To help illustrate aspects of many candidates’ mindsets amidst the great resignation, consider the following. Candidates are now more often pondering numerous opportunities as they peruse and apply directly on company websites or on Indeed, LinkedIn, and other job sites. Given intense recruiting and market conditions, they can sometimes feel like goldfish in a piranha tank and you really must treat the situation as such. It is not uncommon to run across candidates who are in a blur of interviews and application responses. To stand out as an employer of choice, it is important to make a lasting impression with candidates. For example, communicate what makes your company unique. Maybe text them and ask what kind of coffee they like before sitting down. Acknowledge important life events on the horizon when mentioned during an interview. These are things that are easily accomplished with a little effort.
The Interview Process
Speaking of interviewing, considering the number of candidates now in the marketplace, the interview process can be different than it used to be and has become more vital to attracting prospective employees. Whether you work with a recruiting partner or not, taking a look at your process and adapting is important.
Candidates now expect to be sold on the company, business, culture, etc., not necessarily the other way around. Candidates now expect to be wooed a bit. An inadequate interview process and candidate experience can indicate an unhealthy work environment and thus scare away potential team members before the offer stage. Every point of contact is a unique bonding experience for said person, whether it is an interview, scheduling, or post interview debrief. It is also important to be flexible with scheduling, during these unprecedented times. People with less experience who are a little greener to an industry or working in general may require more handholding than the wizened, seasoned vet ready for their twelfth Zoom interview of the year. If you do lose someone early in the process for whatever reason, review your interview practices and ask why a candidate did not follow through. In short, it’s a good idea to simplify and standardize your interview process making it easier to identify outliers.
The Offer Process
You have probably heard the phrase, “time kills all deals.” In many years of recruiting we can say with certainty, now more than ever because of mass resignations, this statement rings true. And even during whatever busy season you are experiencing, keeping candidates up to date, and being transparent with them is key.
If you are not ready to deliver an offer, make sure that the candidate is kept up to speed as possible. If you have a few other candidates in the mix, tell them that. If you happen to be waiting for a P&L breakout before proceeding, an explanatory email goes a long way. Just make sure they are still in the game.
During this process it is important to individually adapt to each candidate. Some will want to negotiate certain items, whether it be compensation, flexibility, benefits, etc. Try not to take it personally when a candidate does negotiate and also be sure not to acquiesce with an offer that you will later regret or rescind.
The Money Conversation
Within candidate negotiations, the money conversation is another piece of the puzzle that can be adversely affected if not handled correctly. This is yet another area where communication transparency helps. If a candidate is willing to share with you what they are making/looking for, a low-ball offer can kill a deal even if it was meant more as a starting point or open negotiations. In this market, it is important to remember how many other sharks are circling talent in the water. A small bump in compensation may not move the needle with a candidate’s hardened mentality. Even if they do initially accept a modest increase, there is currently a good chance others will be calling as well and could put forth more attractive benefits or a higher dollar amount. Frankly, candidates are looking for a reason to decline or accept a position, many times that reason is compensation. It is not always the most important factor, that said, money talks.
Counter Offers and Onboarding
For the sake of this conversation, lets assume you have made a hire and they have signed on the dotted line. It is easy to check out at this point as it’s a done deal, right? Guess Again! As many have experienced, you may be welcoming a candidate to their brand-new gig, only to find their current or past employer clutching on their pant leg, begging them to stay! Companies in a pinch will sometimes do anything they can to keep solid, producing employees from leaving. They will lean on a long-time employee’s emotional empathy, offer them a promotion, or in many cases roll out the Brinks truck with a hefty raise. For a candidate, this can be a delicate time with many mixed emotions. There can be both fear and excitement for an unknown new role or company. The prospect of staying in the old familiar role, with more money and new promises is being dangled in front of them, it can often overwhelm the senses and lead to inaction.
So how do you combat this? The answer is, you must stay engaged and be on the ball with frequent communication. You may ask current team members to reach out, starting the onboarding process. Reinforce the excitement they had when they signed the offer letter. You might ask your IT department to send their equipment as quickly as possible and HR paperwork can be completed a little sooner in the process. In addition, if they have provided references, use this time to reach out and complete your checks. Pending positive reviews, which are usually the case, ask those folks reach out and congratulate them on a new journey. All these techniques can keep a new candidate excited and their eyes forward instead of looking back or at others.
At the end of the day, the process of attracting and signing new team members remains somewhat the same, only amplified by a rather unprecedented labor market at least partly caused by The Great Resignation. Have no fear, if you stay on top of your game and add extra effort where and when it counts, you can still have your pick of the litter and also build bench strength while planning for the future.
Simply put, to effectively recruit in these unprecedented times, you must differentiate your company from the noise, provide candidates with a unique and positive interview experience, deliver solid offers, present flexibility when possible and communicate any/new information to candidates when appropriate. If your focus is best used elsewhere, consider partnering with outside experts who can help you take advantage of the current market without taking your eye of the ball. Regardless of your strategy, please just make sure you have one!