Business Strategy: Recruiting & Staffing Skilled Workers in Today’s Market
The growth in the human resources field continues to outpace growth in many other careers. That’s driven in part by two factors: a tight employment market where hiring and retaining workers is more important than ever and the bigger role human resource managers play in developing business strategy.
Both are areas that students develop expertise in when they graduate from a Master of Science in Human Resource Management program. For those who aspire to leadership in human resources, earning the degree can provide the skills and knowledge needed to attain their goal.
HR Management Needs
The need is certainly there. The federal government projects 9% growth in the human resources management field by 2026. Also, the mean average salary nationwide reached $123,510 in May 2017, the latest number available.
Pay varies by geographic region. Salaries run higher in major metropolitan areas such as Boston, where the mean annual salary is $145,020.
A Tight Labor Market
After a decade of high unemployment, the United States is currently experiencing low unemployment rates across the country. The unemployment rate is at the lowest level in 17 years.
That’s led to a tight labor market where recruiting and staffing employees is more competitive than ever.
Signs are everywhere and in every industry. For example, retailers face an uphill battle in hiring workers for the holiday season. Labor costs are impacting projects in the construction business. Hundreds of jobs remain vacant even for government positions in some areas.
This trend is expected to continue, impacting the job of HR manager for those entering the field in the coming years.
Business Strategy for HR Managers
Given the tight labor market, HR managers are developing new strategies to recruit and retain talented employees.
In a 2018 presentation to HR leaders, Jed Kolko, chief economist for online job site Indeed, said one of the primary issues facing companies is coming to terms with the fact that job candidates now have more bargaining power, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
From his vantage point of watching the labor market daily and seeing the behavior of job applicants, Kolko listed some strategies HR professionals should consider.
- Broaden search parameters when seeking job applicants
- Hire talented people whether they have the perfect skills or not for a specific job, then invest in training them
- Invest in automation technology to increase organizational productivity with fewer workers
Other strategies suggested by payroll company ADP in its Sparks blog include the following.
Retrain current employees. Before launching searches to find new employees to fill vacancies, assess the skills of the current staff and determine who among them can be retrained to fill needed jobs.
Build a talent bench. Much like a baseball team wants as much talent as possible on the bench, companies need to systematically build up a pool of talented workers. This requires assessing current staff talent levels against what you will need in the future, then putting in place a plan to reach that level through new hires and retraining of current staff
Improve reputation. HR managers and staff need to assess their company as it looks through the eyes of job applicants and current employees. Is the company an attractive option within the industry? What perks and bonuses does the organization offer to entice and retain employees?
HR Business Partner
Much of the above strategies require a more active role in decision-making for HR managers. Some have taken to referring to this role as an “HR business partner.” Some organizations are even creating a specific HR business partner position, although it’s often handled by current managers.
In general, the idea is to elevate HR as a key driver for business strategy. Working in collaboration with organizational leaders, HR managers can create a business strategy that incorporates human capital.
McKinsey & Company called HR Business Partner a critical movement within the business community in a 2018 report. The report suggested that executives look to HR for advice on talent recruitment and retention, as well as establishing what jobs are most critical for success (including the creation of new positions).
By getting more chances to have input at the beginning of the business strategy, HR managers can better understand the needs of a company and how to fill them.
With the current labor market situation and the evolving role of HR managers, it’s a field expected to see continued growth in the coming years. For those earning a master’s degree in human resources, it’s the chance to prepare for the most rewarding roles in this challenging profession.