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It’s no secret that the U.S. talent market is in a high-demand, low-supply phase, leaving businesses across sectors scrambling to fill job vacancies so they can continue serving their customers. For the past decade or so, the business world has watched as technology companies built facilities and cultures of fun and innovation, offering unheard of perks and generous pay. Farm Credit and cooperatives, too, are facing a constricted labor pool, exacerbated by rural locations and positions that require in-person work in a post-pandemic, hybrid world.
“We’re seeing fewer resumes and more resignations since the pandemic, as people rethink their situations and strive for a better work-life balance, even if it means taking a position that doesn’t capitalize on the higher education they’ve paid for,” says Beth Oliphant, FCCS Talent Assessment Manager. “Some offices have experienced new hires leaving before their 90-day onboarding period is over. There’s less institutional loyalty than our organizations have traditionally experienced.”
Attracting the right people through the door starts with having a compelling story that resonates with the broadest group of potential candidates – including the 99% of Americans who do not have agricultural backgrounds.
“Skills and knowledge can be developed and learned, but experience is irreplaceable,” says Angie Coleman, Organizational Development Consultant with FCCS. “It’s much more important to hire the right person for the job based on aligning their natural motivators, talents and needs with the attributes needed for success in the role.”
Flexibility is a powerful tool for attracting top applicants. Flexible benefits packages support a variety of lifestyles, including healthcare, insurance and retirement support, as well as work-life considerations like flexible schedules, more lenient PTO policies and remote work options. Being flexible with job responsibilities offers the opportunity to attract top candidates as well as support existing employees by redesigning positions to capitalize on everyone’s strengths.
Knowing that today’s labor force is much more mobile than we’ve seen, it’s also more important than ever that organizations plan ahead to backfill key vacated positions quickly. But human capital planning is broader than simply identifying a likely candidate to advance into a given position.
“Talent management programs assess individuals for their strengths and then plan professional development against the desired career path to fully capitalize on what each person has to offer the organization,” says Jay Lux, FCCS Vice President of Leadership and Organizational Development. “It’s akin to financial planning in terms of making the best use of your resources, investing in them to enable them to deliver more value, and planning in case they leave.”
The strongest talent management programs are designed with flexibility and are updated regularly. Start with defining the skills and attributes needed in each critical role, and identify who on staff might have – or be able to develop – the necessary qualities. Consider, too, how the roles may evolve over time and update development plans as needed.
“You don’t always have someone on staff who can grow into a role, so sometimes the best succession plan is a good recruiting plan,” says Jay.
This sometimes means recognizing that not every stellar performer is interested in becoming, or has the skills to become, a manager. More and more often, people are turning down promotions for quality of life reasons, choosing to remain in a job role they enjoy and in which they contribute fully.
“Professionals today want to be challenged, have meaningful experiences and do cool things, while still being able to fully enjoy their personal lives,” says Jay. “With the talent market expected to continue to shrink, it’s up to each organization to craft job roles and an organization that appeal to these expectations.”
For more information about recruitment support, contact Beth Oliphant at at
316.733.4431 or via email; to discuss assessment tools contact Beth or Angie
Coleman at 303.887.3791 or via email; and for CEO Selection and Talent
Management Planning, contact Angie or Jay Lux at 651.982.4568 or via email.
Recruiting Tips for Today’s Talent Market
1. Have a compelling story to attract today’s values-based younger generations.
2. Use social media and other tools in addition to relying on career fairs, and
consider engaging younger staff in messaging aimed at their demographic.
3. Reduce implicit bias by removing names and other identifying information from applications and resumes during early consideration rounds.
4. Make use of assessment tools and use the results to inform the interview, in
addition to considering attributes against job requirements.
5. Consider employing behavior-based interviews that feature questions about
prior experiences handling specific situations. Panel and scored interviews also each provide broad information and opinion on the right candidate for a position.
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