You can hire your “generalists” when you have the right information to inspire a talent attraction strategy
Workforce Locator™ provides cost-of-living, and standard-of-living comparisons by MSA, county, industry, occupation and other key variables. To develop effective talent attraction and retention strategies, it’s vital to learn where you stand in relation to your competitors.
As the following article reports:
> Kathleen Thomassen, senior professional of human resources, said that when companies are hiring, they are increasingly looking for candidates who are “generalists,” able to fill multiple roles as needed by the company.
> As hard as it might be to believe in the current job market, employees are walking away from jobs and job offers and holding out for the perfect fit, a job that will allow them to fulfill personal, professional and financial goals, Thomassen said.
Stagnant hiring, the return of raises, and recruiting generalists among current workforce trends
By Jennifer Lade
July 19, 2013 4:51 PM
With unemployment rates still high, most people consider the current economic climate an employer’s market. But that doesn’t mean it is easy for employers to find and retain talent.
Flatlined hiring, small salary increases and creative ways to attract and retain talent are just some of the trends local experts are seeing when it comes to workforce development.
According to a 2013 forecast on Workforce.com, hiring is stagnant, and that holds true for the SouthCoast region as well, said Bill Brennan, principal of the Stratagem Group, a Norwell-based consulting firm focused on human resources and labor relations.
“Hiring hasn’t come back,” he said, citing a Massachusetts unemployment rate of about 6.6 percent, which does not include the underemployed or those who have stopped looking for jobs, which he believes adds significantly to the count.
Concerns about health care costs and regulations have made employers shy about adding new employees, said Brennan. Nearly all companies have seen their health insurance costs increase by double digit percentages each year, an expense that can add an additional cost of 18 to 20 percent over an employee’s base salary.
And although the Obama administration recently announced that the employer mandate to offer health insurance to full-time employees has been postponed until 2015, many employers are confused about what is expected of them — and how much it will cost.
Meanwhile, Brennan added, salary increases have been holding steady just above inflation at around 2.5 to 3 percent, though it varies by industry.
“There were a lot of years when companies were not giving you increases at all,” so these modest increases are a good sign, Brennan said.
But to make up for small raises, “there’s attraction and retention strategies when you’re talking about staffing and hiring. Smaller employers are being more creative.”
One trend is for companies to offer a lower base salary and performance incentives for predetermined pay increases, Brennan said. These incentives are sometimes coupled with six-month, rather than annual reviews, to give both employer and employee a trial period of sorts.
Kathleen Thomassen, senior professional of human resources, said that when companies are hiring, they are increasingly looking for candidates who are “generalists,” able to fill multiple roles as needed by the company. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, startups and retail service businesses, where there is potential for the needs of the business to change, and with it, for an employee to wear a different hat. However, certain industries still need candidates with specific skills — in manufacturing, for example, where a job description is solid.
“Employers are still looking for the cream of the crop,” “‰Thomassen said. Generalists, however, are “hard to come by because applicants are looking for the best fit for themselves.”
As hard as it might be to believe in the current job market, employees are walking away from jobs and job offers and holding out for the perfect fit, a job that will allow them to fulfill personal, professional and financial goals, Thomassen said.
“It’s a growing trend,” she said, especially when it comes to professionals and management-level candidates.
Anne Broholm, CEO of Ahead, the New Bedford-based apparel, headwear and golf accessories company, agreed that generalists are needed in her industry.
“We’ve placed a much higher priority on cross training our team, certainly,” she said. “We’re constantly moving people around,” so it is important they are able to do different jobs.
Broholm became CEO in May 2012, and one of her first acts was the hiring of a human resources manager, Rachel Gordon, who came on board last July. The addition of an HR manager was a move to stay competitive and remain a desirable employer for their workers, Broholm said.
“We want to make sure that we manage them in a consistent manner and a fair manner,” she said, adding that she has seen improved morale in the past year.
The HR manager will also offer training to other managers at the company to make them more effective. This type of coaching is becoming more common in the workplace.
“More and more companies are hiring internal coaches,” said Karen Atwell, a certified professional coach who was president-elect of the International Coaching Federation’s New England Chapter last year. She added that some companies train internal people to be coaches in order to coach managers without the $15,000 to $20,000 per employee price tag of an external coach.
Job applicants can also hire their own professional coaches to give them an edge, but there are other strategies as well.
“One way for people to enter the workforce, especially if you’re on the younger end, is to start as a temp,” Brennan said. “It’s a great way to get your foot in the door. You’re viewed by the employer, and as the employee you get to view what the workplace is like.”
“If you have the work ethic and the communication down, I’m firmly confident you’ll be successful.”