8 Recruiting & Retaining Challenges and How to Solve Them

Are you struggling to find and keep highly qualified people in you organization? You and every other company out there it seems. The truth is not all companies are facing these same challenges. Many companies are growing, thriving, and are not limited by people. So, why are so many frustrated and constrained by these issues? Let’s examine the eight most common reasons:


1. Millennials Think Differently

Millennials’ restlessness creates unique challenges, as these workers are more accustomed to jumping from company to company than other generations.

Millennials need:

  • Sense of purpose and being part of something more important in life than profit margins
  • To be challenged and continuously developed in their careers
  • More autonomy and life balance


2. Fewer applicants

According to a SHRM study, 51% of organizations lack the volume of attractive candidates they need to make a quality hire. One reason is that your job posting is simply not being seen by enough eyeballs. Consider your online presence.

According to Pew, nearly 80% of job seekers conduct searches online today, and one-third rank it as their most important resource. Posting online seems like a “no-brainer.”

Keep an open mind

The “ideal” might not exist at the time, so try to keep the description as open as possible. What are the “must haves” and “good to haves”. Prioritizing these might help open the field up to a wider range of potential (and good) hires.

Be efficient in your processes

Time is of the essence! Delay in the process is the other main reason employers lose out on the people they want to hire— employers with the most efficient processes are the most successful in hiring the people they want.

No matter how aspirational your brand is, few applicants are going to be impressed with waiting a few weeks for feedback or will want to hang around 6 weeks for a decision.


 3. Lack of experience

One of the most common pain points amongst HR professionals: an applicant with great skill sets, but simply lacks the work experience needed.

50% of respondents to SHRM’s study agreed that lack of experience amongst applicants has made their jobs more difficult. It is easier to fill a job when a large population of the workforce will likely have the skills and experience you require.

Each day, nearly 10,000 baby boomers retire from the labor force–that’s 4 million highly-skilled workers each year!

One strategy to compensate for a lack of experience and skills in a candidate that would otherwise be a great hire, is to provide mentoring, education, and training programs.


4. Fierce Competition

While the number of employment opportunities is increasing, the skills gap remains. Therefore, many hiring managers and executives are constantly competing over the same, shrinkingpool of talent. Today, hiring companies must compete online, in print and in person in order to find the right talent that not only fits their skills requirements, but their company culture as well. Recruiting has become a demanding full-time job that few companies–outside of major enterprises–have the manpower for.

To gain the needed skills and talent for particular roles and functions, HR professionals can enlist the help of staffing agencies who specialize in temporary and contract workers. The contingent workforce allows companies to “switch to skills-based models for hiring”—a strategy 60% of employers currently implement, and 57% plan to use in the future.


5. Lack of Understanding Around What Employees Want

People want job security. Although this cannot be guaranteed, it is something employers should be aware of. People still look for the basics when they join an organization. Additionally, LinkedIn Talent Solutions’ Global Recruiting Trends reports employee engagement is an ongoing challenge for many businesses, with 48% citing it as very important. However, according to 2016 tracking data at Gallup, less than one-third of U.S. employees are engaged!

While engaging every single employee probably isn’t a realistic goal, engagement measures are designed to quantify employee involvement, enthusiasm and commitment to their work, co-workers and employer.

Creating an open, anonymous way to provide feedback gives you an opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse of how your workforce is feeling, and what can be changed to make it even better.


6. Specific, Narrow Skill Set Required

Typically, it is easier to fill a job in a non-technical, operational discipline. The more technical you get, the more difficult it is to find candidates that match well. Consider the engineering field; it is relatively simple to find an engineer. However, engineering is a field with countless disciplines and sub-disciplines and finding an engineer that fits the precise needs of your organization might be more of a challenge.

Having the right people in the right positions at the right time requires a well-thought-out talent management strategy for building a more agile and adaptable workforce.

On one hand hiring new people with a very narrow skill set might solve an immediate problem but could leave you in a lurch when new challenges arise.

Instead, many companies are now strengthening their existing employees with additional skills.

Encourage people to develop a wide knowledge of technologies to enable career development and be ahead of trends and innovation.


7. Culture “Quirks”

If you’ve ever worked for a company with several cultural “quirks,” this point does not require much explanation. You know the quirks when you see them. The quirks make it potentially difficult for a new hire to assimilate into the culture. As a result, the more of those quirks that exist, the harder it may be to fill the job opening. On the other hand, recruiting and hiring for organizations with lots of flexibility and rewards is generally easier.

Perks such as remote work options, adaptable schedules, personal growth programs, mentorship, nap rooms, free food, and pet-friendly policies, have raised the bar for many companies.

While Gen Xers value control and compensation, millennials are all about how it feels—driven by how well their team works together, how supported and appreciated they feel, and how much possibility they have.


8. Brand Name Recognition

Generally, the more well known the company or the brand, the easier it is to fill a job opening. Imagine the volume of resumes Fortune 500 companies receive daily. However, companies do not necessarily need national recognition. If your company is well known regionally, that can make hiring easier.

What is the word on the street about what it is like to work for your organization? If your company or brand is well known, but not for a good reason, that can make filling open positions tough (think Enron, Firestone, and GM).

A bad reputation does not mean people will not want to work for your organization, however, it does usually mean the candidate pool gets smaller, making it more difficult to fill job openings.

Look at websites like Indeed to see employee reviews of your organization to get a sense of where your reputation stands. If what you hear is negative or inaccurate, consider ways to re-establish your brand by presenting at conferences or participating in relevant press arenas and LinkedIn groups. Contact us if you are interested in a consultation.