Fighting the War on Talent – Here’s How to Win

“The war for talent is real! You must prepare for it like it is a battle. Job growth in the region is at an all-time high which means employees have a lot of choices,” David Hollars, executive director of Centralina Workforce Development Board, told plant and human resource managers during a luncheon hosted by Davie County Economic Development, DavieCONNECT and the Davie County Chamber of Commerce.

David Hollars, executive director of Centralina Workforce Development Board, addresses local plant and human resource managers during a luncheon hosted by Davie County Economic Development, DavieCONNECT and the Davie County Chamber of Commerce.

He shared a number of startling statistics from www.ncworks.gov.: North Carolina’s unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.8%. The area unemployment rate was even lower at 3.4%. To put those numbers into perspective, he explained that during that time period the Centralina WDB region had 49,939 job listings but only 47,056 people listed as unemployed, many of whom might not be ready to do those jobs. That means that there is 0.65, or less than 1, candidates available per job opening!

He asked numerous questions that encouraged attendees to examine their recruitment practices and then offered tips that would help an organization stand out in its attempts to attract new qualified employees and to retain the ones it has.

“What is the first thing people are going to do when they hear you are hiring?” Hollars asked. “They are going to Google your company. How quickly could a potential candidate find out about open positions with your organization?

He explained that the more clicks it takes to find out about job openings, their description, and necessary qualifications, the more likely a job seeker would go on to the next company.

Local plant and human resource managers listen as David Hollars, executive director of Centralina Workforce Development Board discusses the challenges of attracting and retaining a talented workforce.

“Are you utilizing multiple approaches as part of your recruitment strategy? he asked. He recommends increasing visibility by using:

  • social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, including career specific FB and LinkedIn groups)
  • job boards (Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Dice, etc. as well as industry associations)
  • and the NC Works Career Services system

He suggested that organizations take a careful look at their website. “Do you have a career page? Is it easy to find? Do you have specifics to the open positions listed? Can candidates apply via your website? How well do you respond to candidates?”

Organizations should not only make it easy to find available jobs and apply for them but companies should also utilize their website to make a case that they are “an employer of choice.” Good websites are your key to getting good talent.”

He quoted PepsiCo’s Rebecca Gloyne who said, “Companies need to put as much thought and care into their employer brand strategy as that of their consumer brands, or they will miss out on talent as well as long-term growth.”

One way for a company to positively brand itself is to have an employee tell its story. “Perhaps you have an employee who started at a low level and moved up or someone who is now able to support their family because of their job with your organization.”

He also explained that retention is as critical as recruitment.

“Other employers want to steal your people! If you have a good employee, you certainly want to keep him. It costs 1 ½ times to 2 times the salary to replace an employee and surveys indicate that 65 percent of employees are confident they can find a better position that pays more. Employees have lots of choices, you aren’t the only game in town.”

Hollar discussed the importance of embedding new employees to a company through mentoring, training, and development.

“Studies suggest that a supervisor is the #1 reason employees leave. People leave their bosses, not their companies. Develop leaders!”

Compensation and rewards are also important and pay level is not the top predictor of retention.

“Recognition in all forms is a powerful retention tool. Let people know that you appreciate them. Recognition is not just about recognizing great work. It’s also about acknowledging and appreciating the people you work with. Say “hi” to people in the hallway, say “thank you” when someone does something for you, and offer your help to show your support.”

He also shared information about all of the tools that NCWorks Career Centers have to offer both businesses and career seekers. Businesses can use NCWorks Online to post jobs, search candidates, and find labor market information. Career seekers can create an online profile and work with a counselor to identify and build skills, prepare for interviews, etc. These tools can be found at www.NCWorks.gov.

His top three takeaways?

  • Position yourself as an “employer of choice” starting with your website.
  • Do a business recruitment audit on your company/organization.
  • Use ALL available resources for finding talent – especially NCWorks.

DavieCONNECT is a workforce initiative of the Davie County Economic Commission designed to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers and to provide innovative workforce solutions for Davie County.  For more information, contact Carolyn McManamy at 336.753.6670 or cmcmanamy@daviecounty.com.