Hire education webinar: a follow-up

The numbers don’t lie.

Companies are facing historical staffing challenges. Just look at some of the most recent statistics:

  • 3M job openings in April … which beat the previous high of 8.3M set the month before.
  • These are highest since 2000.
  • Nearly 4M quits* in April—which is 2x this time in 2020.

*an indicator that employees feel confident they can find another job someplace else

And these are just a few from the latest jobs report, summarized in a June 8, 2021, CNBC article.

So how can companies go right at this challenge? How do they stand out? How can they be prepared to meet this need over the long haul?

Answering these questions was the focus of the latest webinar in akhia communications’ ‘Future of Work’ series. I was joined by Kevin Bachman, an expert in employee screening and communications and host of the podcast ‘Background Check Radio.’ His 20+ years of experience were a welcome addition to this topic—and he didn’t disappoint. I would encourage you to check out the webinar in its entirety here as we covered a lot of ground in an hour.

As a result of this webinar, we had some terrific questions that I felt were so good they warranted a follow-up blog, as others may be thinking the same thing. Do any of these questions sound familiar?

Q1: Do you really think corporate communications can play a significant role in this? We don’t have a direct tie to HR.

Not only can corporate communication have an impact … it can be immediate and significant. Where you can contribute the most—messaging, audience, behavior/call to action—is where the team needs the most support.

As for the mention of a ‘tie’ to HR—while this siloed approach may still be in place with some organizations, we are seeing a shift to a more enterprise-based approach for communications needs and functions. The most dangerous problems are those hiding in plain sight. If your organization hasn’t made this shift yet, this is a great opportunity to take a position of leadership with an immediate need.

Q2: How should I prioritize supporting HR’s efforts to hire and retain with my other initiatives?

From a business perspective, given the ongoing impact to the bottom line, this may be the highest priority there is. Beyond the need, there are several areas of the organization that will be impacted, and executives will be watching to see who steps up … and how. If there was ever a time to step forward and ask for the responsibility and accountability, it’s now. Lending a helping hand is good for your colleague. It’s good for your company. And it’s good for your career.

Q3: Who inside my comms team should run this?

As mentioned in the earlier response, some organizations are already starting to make a shift to an enterprise approach, creating a cross-functional team. Just like any other initiative, you should be accounting for this in your staffing and bandwidth, as it will not be a challenge that goes away anytime soon. (And as you’ll see in the next response, your role as a communicator may be more long-term than you think!)

Q4: How long should I plan on being involved?

As has been the case during the pandemic, managing long term, in small chunks, is an approach that works on a few levels. First, it allows you to account for your role and your team’s role beyond the initial need. Second, it shows your organization that this is an area communications can support proactively, and possibly turn an emergency into a strategy. Finally, it gives the communications team a chance to ensure branding standards are being met to build a more holistic program instead of putting the onus on HR (who as we know already has a full plate!)

Q5: What’s the most important thing I can be doing to support the HR team right now?

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Letting the team know you can help, and the different ways you can do so—this will go a long way with a team that is not just looking for help … but is desperate for help.

But beyond that, as we said earlier, taking the lead on a longer-term, more holistic strategy is an area that communications can drive. This allows the HR team to focus on where they’re needed most while also having input into developing a larger program intended to support their efforts.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways communicators can have an impact on this labor and staffing crisis so many companies are facing. Kevin and I both feel strongly that the connection made between HR and communications may be one of the most important relationships—collaborations—an organization can be thinking about right now.

We’re always happy to talk more about how you can put these ideas into action. Email Ben Brugler or Kevin Bachman to discuss more!