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How to Find and Keep Good Employees in a Tight Market

By Derek Ross, CLMS, HR Consultant, East Coast Risk Management 

If you are feeling the pain of trying to find qualified candidates in a tight labor market, you are not alone. Our team has heard from countless clients across multiple industries and regions that are struggling to find the employees they need.

In light of The Great Resignation and the ever-increasing challenge of attracting the right candidates for your jobs, we recommend employers take a creative approach to recruiting. It would also be wise to take another look at retention efforts.

To help get you started, our HR team huddled to discuss techniques that we have seen work for other employers.  We put together the following list of ideas that may help you meet the challenges of hiring in the current job market:

  1. Offer (or increase) referral bonuses for current employees who refer a successful hire. Add a subsequent bonus if that new hire remains with the company for a year (or however long you set).
  2. Many companies are now getting creative and offering signing bonuses from $500 up to over $10,000 for some hard-to-fill positions. Consider your business needs accordingly as these entice candidates to apply that might not otherwise have applied.
  3. Form a committee of workers from across all levels to discuss how your organization can attract new employees.
  4. Carefully review  your   compensation  plan.  Make  sure  the  wages  you  offer  are competitive, meeting or exceeding the market rate.
  5. Consider hiring less qualified candidates with potential and then training them in the skills they are lacking.
  6. Look at  adding  benefits  such  as  short-term  disability,  life  insurance  or  retirement planning. If you can’t afford more group benefits, call in vendors to offer supplemental benefits.
  7. Offer flexible scheduling, if possible. This is especially important to younger applicants and employees. Due to the pandemic, more and more candidates are looking for a better work/life balance than ever before and, more importantly, fully remote jobs.
  8. Keep a close eye on industry news feeds. Watch  for  regional  layoffs  for  similar employers in your area. You can target those newly unemployed, skilled workers.
  9. Visit the chamber of commerce and include a small gift in the welcome baskets given to new residents. Be sure it includes your hiring information.
  10. Have an open house for the community. Put up the “now hiring” signs in the lobby and give tours of areas that can be seen by the public. Offer interviews on the spot.
  11. Put a sign in the most popular places around town that says something like “HERE WE GROW AGAIN!” This way you do not come across as desperate for help, but as a growing company.
  12. Don’t forget about social media. Post openings on your own pages and ask employees to spread the word by sharing it on their pages. Ask trade schools to post your opening on their pages, too.
  13. Consider using temporary help to fill an opening. This will take the time pressure off of your recruiter and may even lead to a long-term employee.
  14. Ask current employees to consider posting an employer review on sites like Glass Door.
  15. Think about rehiring people who have left on good terms.
  16. Reach out to vocational schools. Talk to the students who will be graduating this year and not moving onto college.
  17. Organize or participate in a job fair.

Reducing turnover:  Attracting and hiring the right candidate is just the first step. If you can’t keep that new employee, you will be right back to the hiring starting line. Retention of your best employees is essential to keep your operations running at optimal speed.  It will also save you thousands of dollars since turnover can cost up to 200% of an employee’s annual pay, depending on the role.

Consider these ideas to further boost your retention rates:

  • Develop compensation pamphlets to show people what they really make after all the tax and benefits are pa This will allow employees to compare apples to apples if they are considering employment at a company offering a few more cents per hour.
  • Instead of conducting exit interviews, meet with current employees and ask them why they stay.
  • Along the same lines, you can conduct an employee engagement survey to find out what your employees like and what they don’t like about working for your organizati
  • Coach supervisors and managers to become more effective and approachable leade Train them on communications and management skills to help them engage with their teams.
  • Offer clear career paths, if possible, by promoting from within. Professional development could include reimbursement for outside training and educational opportunities that will help them develop skills in their fie They gain skills and you gain a more skilled workforce.
  • Consider offering bonuses including gain sharing or profit sharing.
  • Strengthen your onboarding process.

For even more ideas to help you attract and keep good employees, see our previous articles:

If you are an employer with questions about any safety, workers’ compensation, or human resources issue, contact East Coast Risk Management by calling 724-864-8745 or emailing us at We will be happy to help!

Disclaimer:  The information provided on this web site is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Use of and access to this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship between East Coast Risk Management or our employment attorney and the user or browser.