A little more than half of small businesses are either hiring or trying to hire according to the survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Foundation, but 45% have reported being able to find few or no qualified candidates.
With the unemployment rate hovering around 4.7%, companies have to get smarter about their hiring strategies. This is particularly true for small businesses where each employee has a significant impact.
Many growing companies already have an important resource on hand to optimize recruiting effectiveness: a human resource (HR) management system.
By using the HR system to automate and streamline the entire recruitment process—from identifying competency requirements to tracking applications, scheduling interviews, and making offers to candidates—these small businesses are far more efficient than firms that still rely on spreadsheets and manual forms.
Yet too often, they are not taking full advantage of all the capabilities the HR system offers to make recruiting more strategic.
Here are three areas where small businesses can make greater use of their HR systems to increase their recruiting and hiring success and get a leg up on larger corporations in attracting top talent.
1. Identifying the Right Candidate
In smaller businesses, where there is little room for error in hiring, managers need to understand both their business needs and their current employees’ capabilities. Say, for example, a company needs a bilingual sales rep to support its market expansion.
By using the HR system to review current employees’ skills, the business may decide to make recruiting a bilingual sales rep a top priority. Alternatively, the firm may discover the ability to move a current bilingual employee into the sales position, leaving the company to recruit for the employee’s previous role.
Similarly, the HR system can be used to review previous candidates’ skills to determine if one or more might be a fit for a new position that has opened up.
Additionally, it can be used to compare and understand where candidates fit against external industry standards to determine the strongest candidates for the position at the compensation range the company is prepared to offer.
2. Engaging with Candidates
Managers typically think of the HR system as a tool for efficiency, but it also can serve as a way to market that the business is modern, tech-savvy, and easy to work with.
This is particularly important in attracting millennials who have grown up with technology, and are used to access anytime, from anywhere.
An HR system helps to foster an interactive, seamless experience for these candidates by providing a unified, secure online platform where they can easily check the career page, search and apply for jobs, submit documents, view the current status of their application, and even receive offers.
At the same time, the HR system lets managers track candidates through the entire pipeline, from capturing information about them correctly through to the point of making a hiring decision.
This makes the overall hiring lifecycle easier and more efficient internally, helping smaller businesses to ensure that they won’t miss out on hiring top talent due to time lags or miscommunication.
3. Providing a Competitive Benefits Package
Creating a more compelling compensation package for candidates means going beyond salary and health insurance. This is especially true when targeting millennials, who consider factors such as quality of life and company culture in addition to straight compensation.
An HR system can be used to track and learn what benefits your organization offers versus what appeals most to certain candidates. For instance, a smaller business can compete with larger companies on popular perks, such as gym memberships, Friday lunches, and paying for phones.
Other “soft” benefits may be schedule flexibility or the ability to telecommute on certain days. Using an HR system makes it easier to strategically incorporate these and other benefits important the business.
As a result, managers can create a cultural fit that is competitive in the marketplace while giving candidates the confidence that they are receiving a highly attractive opportunity.
Cameron Ackbury is president of U.S. operations Deskera. A certified public accountant, he has more than 20 years of sales and management experience in the enterprise software industry and has led successful teams around the world.
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