Responding to the Trends
There are a number of trends in the employment and staffing worlds that impact both employers and prospective employees. Many companies are now outsourcing an increasing amount of work to freelancers and part-time workers. Likewise, many professionals now choose freelancing as a preferred lifestyle choice, not simply as a desperate alternative to a full-time position.
These trends impact the recruiting industry in several ways. The process of selecting a freelancer for a task or project is qualitatively different from seeking out a full-time employee. Many of the criteria for hiring someone to serve as an internal staff member aren’t applicable when using a freelancer. In fact, most of the popular websites for providing freelance talent don’t provide any real background information or credentials of the freelancers themselves. The most an employer can hope for is how well a freelancer has performed for clients on the website through something such as a star system.
As companies consider the advantages of these resources, such as no benefits and fewer continuing obligations, they find more positions that they are willing to trust to this form of part-time work. If a freelancer disappoints, it is vastly different and less expensive than making a bad hire.
Two very Different Tasks
Selecting a freelancer for a company is much more of a contracting process than a hiring assignment. Most of the EEO and related hiring issues, in addition to many of today’s sensitivities and HR guidelines are irrelevant to engaging or terminating a freelancer relationship. The recruiter simply has more freedom, from asking for specific referrals to not having to ensure a non-discriminatory review and selection process.
Of course, the other side of this coin is that a recruiter brings far less in the way of value-added services to the equation when selecting a freelancer rather than a full time employee. Recruiters are paid to have networks, find diamonds in the applicant pool, and to navigate all the intricacies of the hiring process. Absent that additional effort, the compensation that is involved will be significantly lower.
Many of the most popular tips for recruiting and retaining high-quality employees revolve around expensive incentives. While big-ticket items or several paid vacation days certainly can be effective, their expense may outweigh the benefits. Keep in mind that the average cost of employee turnover is $2,000, which means that motivating and retraining an existing employee should never exceed that amount. Here are some of the most cost-effective strategies for motivating employees.
Friendly Employee Competition
Rather than offering every employee a cash or high-value incentive for meeting a specific goal, consider hosting a friendly competition among employees within a certain department or office. Making the reward something like a paid vacation day could potentially be expensive, but making the “losers” of the competition take over the duties will help spare the business from any real expenses. The key to executing this strategy successfully is to make winning the contest achievable. That means awarding a prize to one in 10 employees rather than one in 100.
Instill a Sense of Job Security by Teaching New Skills
The most motivated employees are those who believe that they have a future with their company. Instilling job security is not as simple as just saying the words, but it can still be cost-effective. The best technique is to have managers or owners go out of their way to teach employees new skills. Actively investing time in the betterment of an employee signifies appreciation and value, which in turn can motivate employees to work hard for their business.
Make an Effort to Personally Speak With Employees
Human interaction is one of the simplest ways to motivate employees. This approach may not be new, and it may not be time-effective, but it can certainly be cost-effective. Small notes of appreciation, short conversations about a specific project recently completed or a company-wide, email praising effort can go a long way in keeping employees motivated and eager to succeed.
Motivating employees doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal involving cash rewards or large incentives. Friendly competition, personal recognition and feelings of job security all motivate just as well as costly alternatives.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job numbers edged up in July. Nonfarm payroll employers (goods, construction and manufacturing companies) added 162,000 jobs, which sent the unemployment rate down to 7.4 percent. Increased employment means a tighter job market, so many employers will have to work harder to find applicants. For human resources professionals looking to attract the best qualified and sharpest candidates to hire, this tighter job market calls for marketing creativity.
Bells and whistles – such as videos on your company website, or exhibits at job fairs – are acceptable ways to attract candidates, but there is a more effective way to target the hottest properties in the candidate pool. Here, the importance of creative job titles and killer copy in your marketing materials cannot be overstated.
Creative Job Titles
To catch the interest of the best candidates, creative job titles are essential. Forbes magazine recently published an article exploring this topic, and discovered that attention-getting marketing job titles expected to become more common over the next 10 years. These included Transcultural Anthropologist, Truth Engineer and Mobile Marketing Jedi. These examples might sound silly, but once the eye of a possible applicant is caught, however, the creative job title has set up killer copy.
The most important concept to remember about the relationship between an employment ad’s title and its copy is that they must be integrated. If you catch the eye with Sales Terminator, but follow with a generic paragraph unrelated to the creative title, you’re likely to lose the prospect’s interest. Adding creative copy to supplement the title shows cohesiveness, and a dedication to detail that will impress the cream of the applicant crop.
For example, it’s much better to follow up on the title Sales Terminator with copy that starts like this:
“Our team of rebels is working to secure the future of a great [furniture, tile, medical equipment, etc.] company. We’re looking for a sales machine who can target opportunities with laser focus and convert prospects into customers …”
Of course, your copy will vary, but the key is to integrate your clever job title with relevant copy. This will help keep an applicant’s interest high all the way through the interview process.