It’s been well established that something unusual is happening in the labor market. Still, nobody has figured out precisely what is going on or when things will settle.
I’ve heard from industry colleagues struggling to find new jobs that fit their needs and wants. At the same time, fellow business owners and leaders are having difficulty filling vacancies for digital, fundraising, and communications roles.
As someone who has hired for several such roles so far in 2022, I can say with some certainty that if you’re hiring, it’s going to take longer than you thought.
Here are some of the things my team and I have learned over the last two years of hiring and from supporting our clients through recent growth challenges:
It’s all about culture.
Many of us have spent the last two and a half years dealing with some degree of personal upheaval – from illness to grief to childcare challenges. All of this is top of mind to job searchers. We all want to work in places that align with our values and recognize our personal priorities and needs as legitimate. If your workplace culture is one that values employees as whole people, this is the time to brag about it. If it’s not, this is the time to fix it.
Make your salary range transparent in the job description.
This is essential in 2022 (and required if you have any staff in Colorado), but we’re still seeing campaigns and organizations list their salaries as “commensurate with experience.” Studies have shown that this perpetuates harm to women and non-white candidates. Plus, with so many jobs available, quality applicants don’t want to waste their time applying to the ones that might not cover their cost of living. As a busy hiring manager, salary transparency saves me from having to interview someone who might not accept the job if offered.
Keep your house in order.
Even when your team is short-staffed, you still have email and mobile programs to maintain, fundraising goals to hit, and a captive social media audience to keep engaged. And when you do hire, it can take weeks or months for new staff members to get up to speed. If you leave key programs unattended while you recruit, hire, and train the right people, you’re leaving money and opportunity on the table. We’ve seen this happen so often that we now offer a specific line of service to support clients who are going through a significant staff transition, can’t afford to lose momentum, and need to reduce overwhelm.
Care for your current team.
If your slow hiring process has you stressed out as a leader, assume that your team is also feeling swamped. While your focus is outward, you might be leaving key employees doing three jobs to make up for the vacancies. Reviewing applicants, scheduling time for interviews, and eventually training new employees all take significant staff time and energy as well.
Keep a dialogue open and find ways to support your team. This might come in the form of hearing their concerns and talking them through prioritization challenges, but it might come in the form of actually creating more time for them to do the work they need to focus on through delegation or outsourcing. You can’t afford to lose great employees when you’re already stretched thin.
Times of staff transition can be make or break. Every time we hire, it’s a chance to reevaluate our organizational strengths, workplace culture, and how we want to appear to the outside world. The good news is that any positive changes you make to attract and retain talent now will have a lasting and exponential impact.
Alesa Mackool is the founder and president of ACM Strategies, a team of organizers and strategists that specializes in helping progressive leaders and organizations build movements and win uphill battles. To read more of her tips about hiring, workplace culture, and campaign strategy, connect with her on LinkedIn.