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Why Key Talent is Hard to Find in 2021

Amanda Price
5 min read

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the American workforce. All too many employees experienced crippling layoffs in the crisis's early days, causing both financial and emotional hardship. There wasn't merely an epidemic of disease but also one of fear and uncertainty. 

As we get back to pre-pandemic hiring levels, we need to internalize the hard lessons we learned during an unprecedented time in our nation's history. They include new operational and supply chain safeguards to minimize paralyzing work stoppages and a more intense focus on the value enterprises offer both customers and employees. 

They also include a need to create an overarching economic plan. That way, we're ready when the next pandemic hits.

Many more things need to be done differently if we hope to weather the next crisis relatively unscathed. One of these things is the way companies acquire and retain talent. 

These days, facing the challenge of an unprecedented worker shortage isn't only about finding the best team members for your company but also about keeping them happy. 

There's been a distinct shift in the workplace. Employees now have most of the power, and employers are left scrambling to meet their demands. 

Workers unhappy with their work situation are leaving their jobs in record numbers. Organizations must find a way to replace them to keep their companies afloat. 

A survey by the Manpower Group shows that 32% percent of US businesses are struggling to find people to fill their open roles. Worldwide, that number skyrockets to 69%. Another study showed that by 2030, the worker shortage could result in over $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues if nothing changes. 

Here are some of the reasons why talent is hard to find in 2021: 

Employees want to work from home 

Over the last two years, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how people view work. One of these changes is that individuals now want to overwhelmingly perform their professional duties from home. Technological developments such as Zoom and other cutting-edge tools virtual teams can use have made this exceedingly easy to do. 

A Business Insider poll shows that 39% of the workforce working from home would consider quitting their jobs if they're not allowed to continue doing virtual work. 

This is terrible news for companies that are only able to offer on-site employment. If these enterprises can't provide what prospective employees want, they won't attract enough team members to sustain operations. 

Employees want better work-life balance 

Individuals have come to enjoy the better work-life balance that comes with being a remote worker. Families with children particularly love the freedom that remote work brings, including spending more time with their loved ones. 

A FlexJobs survey indicates that 61% of parents want to continue working from home. Only 2% of survey participants want to eventually return to the office full-time. 

Because eight of every 10 workers want a better work-life balance, this is something companies must think about offering to entice employees to return to the workforce. This may mean more flexible working and scheduling options. 

Employees are afraid of COVID-19 exposure

Some individuals don't want to return to working at a brick-and-mortar location out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

Employees want to make a contribution to society 

The pandemic has made some individuals acutely aware of their own mortality. Because of this, some have chosen to leave jobs they feel don't help make civilization better. 

To counteract this attitude, focus on what your company does to make the world a better place in your employer branding. 

Benefits key talent is looking for in 2021 

Here are some things companies can offer prospective employees to entice them to come back: 

Remote work with flexible hours

Being able to work remotely and the freedom and flexibility to manage their own schedules is something that's rapidly becoming expected by employees. This is a fundamental change in the way things have always been done. However, research has shown that remote work has robust benefits for not only employees but employers too.  

Let's say you can't offer full-time remote work. Even so, the ability to provide a day or two each week is an attractive lure to many who are on the fence about returning to the workforce.

Mental health benefits 

It's becoming abundantly clear that one of the things companies can offer to attract and retain top-tier talent is mental health benefits. Employees want better mental health resources from companies to overcome the intense feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout so many are feeling. 

The conversation around the drastic need for more and better mental health services for the country's workers has only intensified because of COVID-19. Burnout is becoming epidemic among employees, and feelings of worry and stress have skyrocketed. 

Family-friendly employee perks

Employee benefits for brand-new parents have been increasing in the last couple of years. Programs have been created to cover the costs for treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing or harvesting. Substantial improvements have also been made to paid and unpaid maternity, paternity, and adoption leave programs. 

However, child care still leaves a lot to be desired in many companies. Both parents are employed in more than 60% of American families, yet only 6% of enterprises offer child care benefits. 

Sourcing talent for your organization

Broaden the scope of your search

If your work environment is now 100% virtual, then you're now able to search not only for top-tier talent in your own narrow geographic area but the entire world. 

Beef up your employer brand 

Candidates won't respond to your outreach attempts if they think poorly of your employer brand. That's why it's probably a good idea to clearly communicate your employer value proposition whenever you get a chance. 

An excellent way to do this is by responding to reviews. Regularly check review sites like Glassdoor and promptly respond to any feedback your company gets from current or past employees. This will help team members feel engaged and heard. 

Workers who feel like their employer listens to and values them are more likely to spread the word that your enterprise is an excellent place to work. 

The strategies needed to communicate your employer brand to the universe are the same ones your marketing team uses to promote your consumer brand to customers. 

That's why you should think about partnering with your marketing team to disseminate employer-branded content

Source talent even when you don't have open jobs 

Sourcing candidates can be a time-intensive activity. That's why you probably should be sourcing talent even if you have no open jobs. That way, you'll always have a pipeline full of candidates whenever you need to fill an open role. 

To be more proactive about sourcing, look at your business growth plans. This will help you build a workforce hiring strategy that includes a timeline for when hires need to be made to meet your company's objectives. 

Once you know how you need to grow your company, work with department leaders and HR to identify which skill sets you'll need to make that happen. This will help you build an ideal candidate profile.

Create a comprehensive social media sourcing strategy 

Share targeted job content and details about your company's mission and hiring processes on social media. This will help keep candidates interested and in the loop, even if you presently don't have any jobs to fill. 

The primary social media channel you'll probably want to use is LinkedIn. This has been the social media channel of choice for employers and employees alike for some time now. 

Perfect your email messaging 

This means ensuring that your email messaging is optimized to appeal to your ideal candidate profile. It's all about creating a real connection. To maximize the chances of this happening, you can lead with a subject line that stands out and makes the candidate want to open and read your message. 

Try to personalize your recruiting message with relevant information you know about them. Also, paint a brief but compelling picture of the role and your enterprise. Lastly, explain how you think they could contribute to your company. 

You can boost your email response rates by not only personalizing your messages but by hyper-focusing on the issues that matter to most candidates. You'll want to give your candidate pool just enough content to pique their interest, so they respond to your outreach attempts. 

However, you shouldn't overload them with too much communication. Ask recent hires for feedback on your outreach messages. Then, use that feedback to experiment with different types of messaging to boost your response rates. 

Find talent the easier way by using Hunt Club 

f you've been finding it to be incredibly challenging to source, recruit, and hire top-tier talent, you might need to bring in an expert. 

If you think you might benefit from one, consider Hunt Club. We're a network recruiter that has recruiting down to a science. We'll leverage our proprietary processes, extensive referral networks, and keen expertise to find you the talent you need when you need it. 

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