The labor market in Central Oregon remains tight and finding qualified employees continues to be one of the primary barriers for business growth in our market.  Hoping the right candidate will apply to your job or walk through your doors is not a strategy.  The labor market is only going to get tighter for the remainder of 2021.  If you’re a business owner or hiring manager then strap in, because it’s going to get wild.  Here are some things to consider to win in this type of environment.


Focus on Retention Strategies First

Evaluate the Brand of your organization starting with the external perception.  A quick litmus test is to look at online reviews using Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Glassdoor.  You’re doing great if there are 3.5 stars or higher on each of these platforms so keep it up.  It’s time to secure some reviews if there are less than 25 as this is an indication that the public might not know about the organization as much as they could.  If the reviews are less than 3.5 stars then start addressing the feedback disclosed in the reviews from the public.  Employees want to be associated with a Brand that has a great reputation, and the Brand is based on what other people say about an organization.

Next, monitor the internal perception of the organization.  Are current employees engaged and motivated?  Do they refer friends and family to the organization?  Annual performance reviews are not an effective way of measuring real time changes in this type of fast changing environment.  Instead, consider biweekly or monthly “check-ins” with internal employees to evaluate factors that influence their satisfaction and engagement.  Try to identify anything that could be preventing employees from performing their job and address those items quickly.

Invest in employees and show the long term growth opportunities and create an individual development plan.  It does not have to be complex.  Keep it simple.  Don’t make assumptions as everything has changed for people and businesses during the COVID pandemic.  There are some great local resources through the Bend Chamber of Commerce DevLabs and YP Summit.


Recruit and on-board employees with purpose

Posting a job and praying for qualified candidates is not an effective strategy.  Active Job Seekers, those actively applying to jobs, need immediate responses from prospective employers to remain engaged in the recruiting process.  If your organization is not in a position to immediately respond to job applicants, then don’t post a job because it will create a bad experience for the applicants.  Active candidates will be applying to at least three jobs.

Consider dedicating someone on your team to engage with active job seekers and also begin networking with passive candidates; those who are currently employed and not actively looking for a new job but might be open to new opportunities (this is everyone right now).  If an internal resource is not an option then partner with a recruiting or staffing firm to assist in the process.

Once hired, create an exceptional on-boarding experience where the new employee feels welcomed, valued, and excited.  Check in with them directly during their first day, first week, first month and at very specific intervals going forward.  Some easy and impactful things include finding out their favorite food and providing a team lunch, or their go to caffeine source for an early morning treat.  Find out what employees like and give it to them, within reason of course.


Get ready for the economic tidal wave

Restrictions on businesses are being removed post the Pandemic and manufacturing levels are increasing.  Supply chains are opening.  The economic tidal wave is coming.  Position yourself to ride the wave.  It’s time to stop hoping your employees will stay or new people will magically show up and implement strategies for success.

Contact GA Rogers Bend today to discuss recruiting options for the next 18 months.

Quinn Hanson, Division Manager, G.A. Rogers & Associates.  Executive Recruiting

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