Each January, I write a Hot Topic about what I predict will happen throughout the New Year. This past year, I predicted that hiring would continue to trend positively after four companies asked us about partnering with them to design their hiring systems, all within the month of December. It was kind of a no-brainer!

This year, I think that local businesses will continue to grow, but at a slightly more moderate pace (maybe this is wishful thinking because 2011 was such a crazy year!). Last year, it was hard to stay ahead of the growth and for the first time in many years we started hearing about shortages of talent in key areas such as engineering and skilled trades. At one point this fall, we were actively recruiting for nine engineers at the same time.

While we’re looking forward to continued job market growth, we expect the labor shortages in key disciplines to increase. This is why it becomes so important to position your company as an “Employer of Choice”. One valuable place to start is to look at your Company through the eyes of one of those engineering candidates. If a candidate can choose from several employers, what factors would make him/her choose you?

Competitive Compensation: One of the first questions candidates ask is about the compensation. Obviously we all work to earn a living, but compensation is also indicative of the resources that an organization has and the way it chooses to spend them. No one likes to work for a company that is always just scraping by. Have you explored creative ways to reward your best employees?

Community Reputation: What do your former employees and unsuccessful applicants say about the organization? Were they treated well? (Yes, job seekers do talk to one another). Have you had layoffs? If so, how were they handled?

Work Environment: One of my favorite questions to ask employees is: “How would you describe our company to a friend who was thinking of working here?” Make certain that your employees would offer a positive response to this question. They are one of your best referral sources! If not, what steps are you taking to create a positive work environment?

Do candidates know you exist? Often, we find that some of the best employers tend to stay below the radar and candidates just don’t know they exist. What can you do to get your company name in the limelight once in a while? Are you an event sponsor? Do you have your employees volunteer on behalf of your company?

Back in December, we hired a new employee at HRM to help us prepare for the New Year. Marni Berghuis has joined our staff on the professional placement side and we’re excited to have her on board. We’d like to think that we’ve done at least a few of these things right in order to get her to take the leap, leave her former employer, and to come join us. Hopefully you’ll be looking for some additional talent as well.

Best wishes from all of us at HRM Innovations for a highly successful New Year!

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