retiring employees

How Will You Replace the Wave of Retiring Employees?

America’s workforce is getting old. Retiring employees are leaving jobs in droves, setting off a series of talent challenges for organizations.

For starters, talent sourcing looks and functions differently than it did just 10 years ago. Traditional methods like job boards are increasingly ineffective. Many companies still rely on them, however.

In addition, the general experience level of organizations is poised to decline as senior employees exit their roles. Often referred to as the “brain drain,” companies are now realizing that critical knowledge and skills are walking out the door with their retirees and may not be prepared for the implications.

Clearly, companies must find a way to fill these jobs. But given the current strength of the job market, finding replacements may be easier said than done. The current unemployment rate remains at an all-time low of just 3.7% and competition for talent is fierce.

In response, your hiring strategy must be twofold: minimize the impact of retiring employees and maximize your talent search efforts to find quality candidates.

Here’s what it looks like in action.

How Employers are Hiring Modern Talent

The recruiting landscape is changing. Candidates aren’t pounding the pavement with resumes in hand like they used to, nor are they as interested in job boards as in previous years.

Studies show that employee referrals remain the top source for talent, accounting for about 30% of all hires.

But where do the other 70% come from?

Here are some of the most commonly used techniques that actually work.

Incentivize Referrals

Employee referrals are gold for organizations. They have the highest ROI of all other hiring sources and reduce the time to hire by 55%.

Maybe that’s why nearly one in two companies incentivize referrals from employees. Companies can save money on hiring costs when employees are referred, as well as avoid high costs of turnover by hiring quality employees.

In response, they pass on some of those savings to their valued employees.

In some cases, that incentive is cold, hard cash. Some companies also offer gift certificates, vacations, and even large-scale prizes like cars.

Leverage Mutual Connections

Tap into your professional network to see if they can point you in the direction of qualified candidates. Many of your colleagues may know someone who needs a job or may even have applicants they can share with you if they currently don’t have any job openings.

Some companies choose to extend their referral incentives outside of just their employees. This means that anyone who refers a successful candidate to you may receive a reward.

Also, if you’re interviewing a candidate, go to their LinkedIn page to see if you have any mutual connections that can help you learn more about them.

Break Out of Geographic Restrictions

In the digital age, you’re no longer limited to just your local job market. Share your job listings across the country to tap into the best potential candidates.

For some jobs, you may find that hiring a freelancer makes more sense. Jobs that aren’t location-specific or otherwise don’t require on-site attendance can be contracted out, which can also reduce your overhead and employment costs.

In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of the workforce will be freelance or contract work in some capacity by 2020.

Target Passive Candidates

Not all candidates are active job seekers. In fact, some sources suggest that 60% of the workforce isn’t actively looking for a job opportunity, but may consider a change if the right job came along.

This means organizations need to take a proactive approach in finding candidates to fill positions. Networking sites like LinkedIn can be an effective tool to reach out to qualified professionals.

Some companies post paid ads on Facebook to get in front of candidates who otherwise may not have considered them.

Because these candidates haven’t expressed interest in your company, there’s an art to getting their attention. You’ll need to do a little more “selling” on the opportunity and give them a reason to want to learn more about the position.

Connect with Local Colleges

Vocational and trade schools are brimming with future job candidates. Once students earn their certificate or diploma, they’ll be actively seeking work.

Build relationships with your local schools to gain exposure for your organization. You may even consider offering internships that could turn into viable employment.

Join Industry Associations

Every industry has associations or groups you can join for networking opportunities. Ideally, you can find a local chapter where you can attend meetings and events to grow your professional network.

Members of associations are usually in tune with the industry and are current with the skills and knowledge of the field. And even if you don’t directly connect with candidates, you may connect with other professionals who can lead you to potential job seekers.

Create a Mobile-Friendly Application Process

If you do decide to post jobs on your website or use a job board, make sure the application process is mobile-friendly.

Studies show that 45% of job seekers will search for jobs on their mobile devices. They need an easy way to apply on the spot, or else you risk them skipping your job posting altogether.

Work with a Specialized Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies continue to play a vital role in modern hiring, thanks to a few notable benefits.

For starters, targeting and personalization are becoming more critical in talent sourcing. Companies should consider working with an agency that specializes in hiring for their industry to reach the most qualified candidates.

In addition, companies with overstretched HR departments may find it quicker and less expensive to outsource hiring than trying to do it internally. Having someone else find and vet candidates, conduct first-round interviews, and check references can free up your internal team to focus on other growth objectives.

What to Do Before the Brain Drain

While you’re on the hunt for the right candidates, there are a few ways you can minimize the financial and operational impacts of retiring employees. Use these succession planning best practices to fill future gaps before they have a chance to disrupt business.

Identify Possible Retiring Employees

Retirement should never come as a surprise. Companies may not know exactly who will retire each year, but you should be able to determine who is will soon be eligible for retirement.

Once you know who is likely to leave the company within the next year, start looking at their job duties and see who could potentially take over for them.

The goal is to fill those jobs quickly (usually from within) without a noticeable decline in job knowledge, skills, or production by the time your retiree leaves.

Get an Exit Date

If your employees are talking about retirement, try to pinpoint an exit date so you can prepare accordingly. They may not have a specific date in mind, but knowing a general timeframe can help you prioritize critical business objectives and minimize the time crunch.

Cross Train Employees

Allowing employees to job shadow and cross-train can help prevent information siloes and increase job readiness. You’ll have more capable employees who can step into roles on shorter notice.

Keep in mind that asking senior employees to cross-train younger workers can often be a cause for alarm. Make sure you communicate that your intention is to share knowledge, not push them into early retirement.

Develop Manuals and Documentation

Knowledge is power, and when retirees leave their post for good, all their job knowledge goes with them.

That doesn’t mean they can’t also leave it behind. Before they clock out for good, ask them to help you create manuals and other documentation of important processes and tasks. This way, someone else can easily pick up where your retiree left off.

Password logs, tips and tricks, and other insights can go a long way in removing much of the guesswork that comes with assuming a new role.

Consider Alternatives to Retirement

Retirement doesn’t always mean unemployment. Some retirees might be eager to leave behind their regular 9-to-5 job, but don’t want to give up working altogether.

You should consider exploring other opportunities for your retiring employees, such as a reduced schedule or a consulting role. This way, they’ll still be within reach if you need to tap into their knowledge.

As a benefit to the employee, they’ll no longer have the same stress or demands as they did in their old job. Plus, they can still collect a paycheck, albeit a smaller one.

Retiring Employees Create Opportunities, Not Burdens

Adapting to a changing workforce isn’t a new challenge, nor will it be a one-time occurrence. But the sheer size of the Baby Boomer population adds a layer of complexity to the here and now.

On a positive note, retiring employees are helping organizations improve an area that often goes overlooked. Companies should start their succession planning early to get ahead of the anticipated turnover. This can provide future generations with the best chance of success.

Are you preparing for the wave of retiring employees? Consider the benefits of partnering with a specialized recruitment firm to help you bridge the gap. Reach out today and enjoy a simplified hiring experience!

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