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Are you one of the countless organizations that has been hiring recently? If so, you’ve likely noticed how challenging it currently is to hire the right people to join your team – there simply doesn’t seem to be enough people! A wide range of factors has contributed to the current labor shortage.
First, some workers are reluctant to search for jobs because they fear contracting COVID-19. Many women have dropped out of the labor market, likely to care for young children. Finally, manufacturing, construction, and other production companies have slowed production. Interruptions and slowed supply chains have made it difficult to get the parts to keep making things.
Although the labor shortage has significantly impacted restaurants, bars, retail, and manufacturing, the education sector has not escaped the challenges of finding and keeping top talent. Below, we take a closer look at why conventional hiring approaches aren’t working and some alternative approaches to help you find the talent you need for non-teaching roles in your education organization.
Why Conventional Approaches Aren’t Working
Employers across all sectors assumed that once the government cut off the additional unemployment benefits related to the pandemic, they would no longer struggle to hire new team members. However, research shows that this is not the case. A 10 percent increase in unemployment benefits during the pandemic only reduced applications by 3.6 percent. This reduction is notable but not enough to eliminate all hiring challenges.
The current landscape includes workers who are simply quitting their jobs. In mid-October 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that almost three percent of the entire United States workforce left their jobs in August. Much of the current research strongly suggests that the pandemic, coupled with a drastic increase in remote work, has changed the way people view the world and make economic decisions that impact their lives.
Remote work is here to stay, and companies, including educational organizations, that do not offer (either by choice or necessity) remote work are putting themselves at a disadvantage when hiring and attracting the best talent. In addition, refusing to include remote work goes against employee expectations, especially Millennials and Gen Z, who are savvy enough to know that remote work can be an option for many more roles than employers have historically offered.
Work Smarter, Not Harder: Effective Approaches for Hiring During a Labor Shortage
The struggles you face finding and hiring top talent for non-teaching roles in the education sector are amplified in the current candidate-driven labor market. In addition, upheaval from the pandemic has impacted the way employers and candidates relate to one another during the search and hiring. Effective approaches to hiring during a labor shortage involve creative solutions, such as:
Build a Cohesive Message
Your education organization’s reputation in the community and among the greater education sector matters when you are trying to attract job candidates, especially during a labor shortage.
Research shows that more than 80 percent of job seekers care about an organization’s reputation when deciding where to apply. Therefore, building a cohesive brand message is one of the most proactive solutions to attracting talent. In addition, when job seekers have a clear view of your organization’s culture and values, they can picture themselves working for you.
The effort to develop and implement a communication pattern is called brand messaging, and it can create a standardized way of conveying your organization’s values to stakeholders.
The best way to accomplish this is with a brand style guide that is accessible to everyone in your organization. Learn how to create a brand style guide here.
Additionally, you can work on branding even when you do not have any immediate openings at your organization. This brand management ensures you have a qualified candidate pool when you need to fill positions as they become available.
Increase Social Media and Blog Engagement
Regardless of sector or industry, many companies use social media and blog engagement to build their brand and develop a cohesive message that provides a foundation for successful recruiting and hiring. If your social media presence is weak or non-existent, you need to increase your presence to maximize your organization’s story.
The exact social media platforms vary based on preference and organizational needs. However, adding a blog or increasing the number of posts you currently provide is a must-do. Blog content can include a wide range of subjects to engage your audience, but it must be quality content. Posts with little value or those full of spelling errors can hurt your organization’s reputation and do not send a good message to potential job candidates reviewing your website.
Let your imagination run wild when creating content. You can focus on a host of educational topics, from broad industry trends to pedagogy and student outcomes. Regardless of which topics you cover, you should always be able to tie your content back to your organization’s missions, goals, and results. This presents a unified story about your organization and a clear vision for what you do.
You can share your blog posts on multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As you provide quality content on your blog and across social media platforms, you bring more attention to your organization and attract job candidates that love your story and want to do their role to help you serve students, parents, and teachers. Currently, blogs that have more than 2,000 words are more valuable for driving traffic to your website and roles than shorter blogs because search engines such as Google rank them higher in the search results.
Showcase Open Positions with a Video
Sometimes your audience would rather watch a video than read a blog post. Creating and distributing videos is an easy and cost-effective way to showcase your education organization’s brand and story. For example, use open positions as the center of a series of compelling videos for potential job seekers. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram provide an opportunity to create short, creative snippets that do not need significant production or advanced editing. Yet, simple videos draw those browsing their favorite social media platforms.
You can use a smartphone and user-friendly video editing software to create various videos that allow you to mention open non-teaching roles in your organization. Some examples of topics you could make videos about include:
- Your organization’s mission as it pertains to the groups you serve and the broader education sector
- Your organization’s culture, including anything that makes your organization stand out
- Milestones relating to funding, student outcomes, and other vital measures that demonstrate your commitment to education
- Insights about trends in the education sector
- Star team members that have done something remarkable or gone the extra mile
- An average “day-in-the-life” of the role(s) you are trying to fill
- Tips about teaching, studying, and other things related to education
- Spotlights on specific non-teaching roles and their potential for advancement
The ultimate goal is to provide value to those who visit your website and interact with your social media profiles. Videos offer extra value and help increase your organization’s digital presence.
Leverage Non-Monetary Benefits
We assume you are offering a competitive wage for the non-teaching roles you are trying to fill in your education organization. However, it takes more than an excellent salary to attract top talent during an actual or perceived labor shortage. Therefore, your compensation package not only needs to include a competitive salary, but employment should come with a range of non-monetary perks as well. You have to choose what works best for your education organization’s needs, mission, and workload. Examples include:
- Additional personal time. Over the last decade and especially since the arrival of a global pandemic, employees in all sectors greatly value additional personal time. Team members with children, whether single or partnered, struggle to balance work with family obligations. Education organizations that offer extra personal time allow parents to “show up” for their children the way they encourage other parents to engage with their students. Additional personal time also offers team members with and without children the time to recharge and reboot, making them more productive at work. Finally, time off provides an opportunity for those who want to volunteer or engage in their community.
- Flex-time. Offering flex time is another perk that draws strong applicants during a labor shortage. Many organizations provide vacation time and sick time. When you lump them into one category of paid time off, it provides team members with more paid time off when they aren’t sick. This also benefits your organization because employees are less likely to call in sick unless they are ill. Instead, they want to preserve their flex-time to use for the occasional personal day or vacation.
- Flexible work hours. With an increasing focus on work-life balance, flexible work hours have become essential for many jobseekers. Although the 8 to 5 work schedule is typical across the education sector, it isn’t always the most convenient schedule for everyone. Non-teaching employees do not always need to be held to the school day schedule. As long as you have a dedicated team member who will complete their tasks, giving them freedom of the hours they work is arguably one of the most attractive non-monetary benefits you can offer someone. This may include allowing them to come in earlier or later than usual. You might allow them to work four 10-hour days and take Mondays or Fridays off in other cases. Regardless, flexibility allows employees to meet the demands of their personal life and still thrive in the workplace.
- Opportunity for remote work. As a whole, the education sector has been slow to offer remote work opportunities to team members in non-teaching roles. However, COVID-19 forced the hand of many organizations within education and beyond to transition as many roles as possible to remote work during the height of the pandemic. In fact, more than 50 percent of U.S. employees worked from home for some time due to COVID-19. Many employees learned that they could effectively do their jobs from home, saving time and money on commuting. Some do not want to come back to the office, so remote positions attract top talent. Even if you are unable to make a role 100 percent remote, it’s worth it to explore the possibility of a hybrid model that allows a team member to work a day or two from home each week.
A labor shortage creates challenges for organizations trying to hire the best talent to help the students and parents in the communities they serve. However, learning and acknowledging that conventional approaches aren’t attracting enough job candidates or the right job candidates is the first step to adjusting hiring practices during a labor shortage.
Education organizations can work on their branding and build a cohesive message that showcases their work, mission, and successes, providing information to job applicants who care about the organization’s reputation where they work. Additionally, leveraging social media engagement and providing high-quality video content shows applicants your organization’s story and gives insight into the company’s goals and culture.
Creating a strong social media presence is essential to attracting top talent. Even if viewers don’t think they are a fit for a non-teaching role in your organization, they are more likely to pass along information to someone they know when a company has a strong reputation online and offline. Finally, employment packages need more than salary. During a labor shortage, job candidates are looking for the best package possible, and many perks included with employment have nothing to do with salary. Many workers equate the amount of personal time they receive with their pay, so any action you can take that gives your team more time, including flexible work schedules and remote work, is more likely to attract job candidates.
Let WorkMonger Help You Find Job Candidates During a Labor Shortage
WorkMonger provides a wide range of services for employers seeking job candidates for non-teaching roles in the education sector. You can find the hiring solution you need within the constraints of your organization’s budget and requirements.
In addition to data-driven employer/employee matches, their TrulyHired job board is the largest non-teaching education job board, providing an outlet for traditional job postings that get your open positions in front of qualified people.
If your education organization is struggling to find candidates during the current labor shortage, let WorkMonger help you with your candidate search process. Contact us today online to learn more and set up a free talent consultation session.