2021 Staffing and Recruiting Trends

2020 was a year of great change and uncertainty that found people, businesses, and entire economies pivoting to adjust to a new kind of volatility. Staffing and recruitment practices were no different. A number of trends emerged, gained momentum, or altered course entirely due to the tremendous societal shift that has taken place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the landscape of staffing and recruitment shifting more rapidly than ever before, it’s important that organizations keep their finger on the pulse of the industries that they work within. To help companies prepare for ongoing shifts, here are some of the most significant staffing and recruiting trends to expect for rest of 2021.

Importance of Employer Branding 

In 2021, the good name of a company does not just go far with its customers…it goes far with its potential employees, as well. This is to say that employer branding has become an inextricable part of the modern recruitment process. Today’s candidates are looking for a certain set of values and a particular culture to be present in the companies that they dedicate much of their lives to…and they now have the means to more readily seek those things out.

Social media and career review sites allow potential hires to easily access a wealth of information about your organization’s employee experience. If wages are low, turnover is high, work conditions are poor, or you have any PR skeletons in your closet, they will likely find out. Those things were always going to make recruitment difficult, but today more than ever, they can be a detriment to your hiring process.

Candidates today want to work for an empathetic company that shows respect for all of its employees and gives back to their community. Taking employer branding into account could be the thing that gives you the edge you need to acquire and retain top talent in a highly competitive job market.  

Workplace Wellness

Focus on mental health in the workplace has been on a steady upward trend for years, but with the events of this past year in particular, employees are putting even more emphasis on workplace wellness.

According to a report by Wellable, nearly 90% of organizations plan to increase mental health and substance abuse disorder services for their employees this year. That same report states that nearly 90% of organizations also plan on expanding the use of flexible scheduling to account for the tumult that 2020 has brought.

Employees today are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of workplace expectations and duties being adjusted, there’s been an increase in personal losses, isolation, stress, anxiety, and economic strife. It’s imperative that you, as an employer, do your part to help your team adapt to the jarring new changes.

Potential hires will likely be interested to know about your mental health programs and benefits. Be prepared to tell them about what you offer in terms of stress management, meditation programs, and telemedicine, as these are among the most popular workplace wellness programs that companies are investing into this year.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

2020 was a year marked by urgent calls for racial justice, raising questions about diversity, equity, and inclusivity not only in the workplace, but also in the country as a whole. These pertinent questions have informed current recruitment trends in 2021. Trends reveal a staffing industry that is heavily focused on the creation of diverse and inclusive workplaces with narrower gender disparities.

There should be no question about the benefits of a diverse workplace, either. There are countless studies that extol the virtues of organizations that focus on inclusivity and welcome a broad range of ideas. With this knowledge, it should be an easy decision for any business leader to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their recruitment process. This can be done through the creation of a diverse interview panel, diversity hiring targets, rewards for diverse referrals, and education for yourself and your hiring team on ways to identify hidden hiring biases.

Focusing on DEI in the hiring process is a great way to foster a diverse workplace. However, real workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion begin with a change in company culture. Making a public statement, emphasizing diversity as a value, offering diversity training, and reviewing your current policies through a DEI lens are all great ways to start. When the culture supports diversity, the hiring process will inevitably follow suit.

Reliance on the Gig Economy

It only makes sense that, following a year of chaos and unrest, employers are beginning to embrace contract and temporary workers at an increasing rate. The market for temps, contractors, and freelancers grew exponentially when much of the country shut down in early 2020, causing unemployment to skyrocket, and business leaders pivoted accordingly.

In 2021, the gig economy is bound to continue its growth, and you’re going to need to acclimate yourself to it if you haven’t done so already. Know that an increased reliance on the gig economy does open up flexibility and can bring new perspectives to the table, but bear in mind that engaging and working with your contingent labor does require a bit of a shift in thinking.

For employers struggling to manage a whole new type of payroll, we offer employee payrolling services to aid you in issuing checks to your contingent workers.

Digital and Social Recruiting

Using the Internet as a recruitment tool is far from a new trend, but innovations in the medium are continually popping up, and online recruitment has been cemented as the industry standard for seeking talent. Expect that trend to grow in 2021, as more and more business is done online and at home.

Here are some ways you can take advantage:

  • Automated Recruitment

Taking advantage of recruitment automation is one of the best ways to streamline your hiring process. Using digital recruitment tools, you can automate time-consuming tasks such as posting job applications, organizing resumes, screening applicants, and sending e-mails to potential hires. All of this allows you to use your time to focus on other things, instead of being caught up in administrative processes.

While this does remove much of the tedious manual labor from your plate, it’s important to note that it does not remove the all-too-important human element from the hiring process. In fact, digital automated recruitment can help you to become even more engaged in the process of getting to know your applicants personally in order to decide whether or not they’re a good fit for your organization.

Another option to alleviate the burden of online recruitment is to hire a workforce solutions provider.  

  • Recruiting Through Social Media

Social media is another fantastic recruitment tool that is only going to grow in 2021. Creating a visible presence on websites such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter and networks like LinkedIn and Facebook will be imperative for attracting top talent. Tools like these not only allow you to have greater visibility when you have job openings, but they can also lay the groundwork for hiring future candidates as jobs come available.

According to Indeed, 60% of all job searches in America originate from a mobile phone. In order to take advantage of this trend, you need to focus on creating a presence on social media and make sure that your own website is optimized for mobile use.

  • Video Interviews

Businesses have been taking advantage of video chat tools such as Zoom and Skype in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change any time soon. Why not incorporate them into your hiring process?

Video interviews can eliminate a lot of constraints that in-person interviews present, while still allowing an intimate and comprehensive assessment of the candidate to take place. There are even programs specifically designed to accommodate video interviews, including Jobma and SparkHire. Through video interviews, you can get to know a large number of candidates in a small amount of time without losing too much of the important personal connections of face-to-face communication.

  • Candidate Experience

Another thing to keep in mind as you develop a digital recruitment strategy is candidate experience. If your application process is confusing, slow, difficult, or too long, you’re likely to scare off some talented candidates before you can even get a look at their resume.

Attempt to streamline the online recruitment process without sacrificing too many of things that are important, and be sure to allow for candidate feedback so that you can continue to adjust and improve along the way.

Improved Client Relationships

Prior to the surging levels of unemployment last year, candidate acquisition was the number one priority in the recruitment industry. Top talent was scarce, so the main focus was seeking out qualified candidates. In 2021, with the candidate pool larger than it has been perhaps at any other time in history, priorities have changed. This year will be all about improving client relationships.

It’s not likely that business will be booming in too many sectors this year, so maintaining long-term relationships with clients should be the top priority. Fostering new relationships should be a very close second. A shifted focus toward improving client relationships should help any company that is struggling with the effects of the pandemic to weather the storm until the ship has been righted.

Flexible Staffing Options from Employnet Workforce Solutions

If you’d like to know more about ways to use current staffing and recruiting trends to your advantage, call Employnet Workforce Solutions at (866) 527-HIRE or contact us today.