Expand Your Current Workforce Without Breaking It, With These Tips

In our current economy, there seem to be two types of disgruntled individuals: those who are jobless and those who aren’t. While it’s understandable for the jobless to be disgruntled, why are those fortunate enough to have work dissatisfied?

Most of those without a job have quit because they were unhappy with either their career choice, their employer, or both. As a result, the remaining employees had to work harder, longer, and without much compensation. Over time, these employees, too, began to feel overworked and greatly underappreciated.

For decades, nearly everyone with a job had to do more for less. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that productivity has risen 2.3% annually despite these rough times. On paper, this increase seems to be positive, but it means fewer employees are working longer and taking on larger workloads. Despite CFOs and upper management touting this as good news, they’re ignoring the higher costs. The negative aspect of stretching a workforce too thin to improve productivity is employee burnout. At some point, even though your employees seem to be working long hours, productivity will eventually falter.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to increase productivity without breaking the spirit of your workforce.

Tap Into Discretionary Energy to Stretch Your Workforce

Engaged employees are psychologically connected to the organizations they work for. If and when these connections are unwavering, employees are more prone to go above and beyond customers’ expectations. Not only that but they will do the same for their teammates and the organization as a whole. Along with making logical sense, industry research has substantiated the positive organizational results

A new term for going above and beyond is discretionary energy. Discretionary energy is the energy employees choose to spend in assistance to customers and/or coworkers. It’s important to remember that employees typically have a right to use discretionary energy or not. Most employers hire someone based on an established job description containing a list of fundamental tasks the employee agrees to perform. These basic tasks require the employee to only use the energy necessary to complete them.

The employee’s activities beyond what’s listed in the job description are discretionary. A person’s willingness to perform above and beyond what’s required of them reflects their willingness to engage in the work. You will set your workplace on fire by tapping into your employees’ discretionary energy. As an employer, you should tap into as much of this energy as possible.

It’s the lubricant that keeps all the parts of your finely tuned machine running smoothly. Employers can also think of discretionary energy as a potent performance enhancer. Managers who are successful leaders comprehend the power of this energy and take the necessary measures to use it. They achieve this by creating a work environment that encourages and empowers employees to contribute.

Such an environment shouldn’t coerce them into performing superlatively but rather allows them to choose. All you have to do is discover what triggers their enthusiasm. But as the old saying goes, “It’s easier said than done!”

Workplace Environments That Promote Discretionary Energy

What are some of the things top organizations do to encourage employee engagement? Work environments that energize employees and motivate them to contribute emphasizes the following elements:

  • Clear performance expectations and goals.
  • Bonuses and recognition for achievements.
  • Regular feedback.
  • Periodic performance coaching.
  • Upper management commitment to maintaining communication.
  • Upper management engagement and support.
  •  Dedication to employee motivation and satisfaction.
  • Development opportunities beyond classes.

How Can You Tell If Your Staff Is Stretched to the Limit?

If your organization survived the brunt of the pandemic, you presumably called upon your staff to take on responsibilities you otherwise wouldn’t expect of them. And despite things returning to “normal,” you’re most likely still operating with a streamlined team. Streamlined teams customarily require employees to take on stretch roles. Stretch roles are duties for which someone perhaps has most of the required experience but not all.

Organizations that delegate stretch roles to certain employees likely view them as having high potential. Employees who the company provides additional training and mentoring are anticipated to excel in their roles. However, while stretch roles have the potential of helping employees evolve, they can negatively affect business in the long term. For example, some employees may become stressed due to the extra responsibilities. As a result, this stress will affect your company’s efficiency, customer satisfaction, and bottom line.

Here are some signs to determine whether one of your employees is stretching to their limit.

Decreased Productivity

Researchers have found that, paradoxically, the longer employees work, the less productive they become. You will see employees who chain themselves to their desks, thinking the longer they work, the more they’ll get done. To gauge whether the hours your employees are clocking translate into increased output, use employee productivity tracking software to monitor their work. If the statistics show they’re less productive despite the long hours, it’s time to make some changes.

To increase employee productivity, incorporate solutions such as encouraging mid-afternoon walks and taking a few minutes away from their computer each hour. You can also add a few things to your company’s culture that help increase employee productivity. They include hiring people who mesh with your company’s culture rather than for what’s written in their resumes, rewarding those who practice team communication, supporting an agile work schedule and remote work, improving employee onboarding, stopping micromanaging, and facilitating employee empowerment.

When stretching employees beyond their initial job description, inform them of the reasons why and the benefits. For example, the increased responsibilities will help them sharpen their skills along with learning new ones. They will also learn more about how the company operates, eventually helping to identify interdependencies and inefficiencies to your company’s benefit. In other words, stretch roles shouldn’t be viewed as completely negative. It boils down to when and how you delegate stretch roles.

Review employees’ job descriptions to see if they’re ready for promotions or if their roles need to be reallocated to better fit your company’s needs. Whatever the case, always incentivize your employees to meet challenges head-on.

Behavior and Personality Changes

During a period when employee satisfaction is the lowest in more than two decades, it’s easy to spot signs of employee burnout. Behavior and personality changes manifest in various ways when employees are overstretched. Some red flags management should keep an eye out for include upbeat and outgoing employees appearing withdrawn, anxious, angry, or overly critical. Employees known for their accuracy start making careless missteps or doing shoddy work.

One of the most common red flags is employees known for their dedication start calling in sick. You might also notice them using their medical and mental health insurance more often. Additionally, conflicts may arise between employees, ultimately resulting in higher-than-normal turnover rates. A single symptom leads to numerous disrupted processes that hurt a company’s bottom line. Fortunately, it’s not complicated or costly to revive employee morale.

Simple gestures like saying “Thank you,” implementing recognition programs, and adopting flex-time work wonders. Not only does it show your appreciation for taking on the additional workload, but that you value them.

Operational Bottlenecks

Finding spots in your business where processes have slowed or completely stalled indicates employees are stretched too thin. This can come in the form of an employee being so swamped they fall behind in completing other important tasks. It can prevent supervisors and managers from making crucial decisions. These issues cause operational bottlenecks to form, eventually impacting the entire organization.

Take a computer company as an example. The chief software installer is a couple of weeks behind schedule, leading to delays in billing. The delays create bottlenecks to form in areas of the business depending on those funds. To break the bottleneck free, the owner could choose to outsource a third-party software installer. Such a simple solution solves the problem starting at the point of constriction and gets the entire computer company running smoothly again.

Customer Service Complaints

It goes without saying that bottlenecks lead to operational downturns. During those downturns, an organization must get creative and pull customer service reps from their posts to help the sales team. If it’s a tech company, it could mean asking IT staff to manage social media channels. It’s one thing for a company to stretch its workforce, but it’s another thing to spread it so thin that customers begin to complain. You will know it’s time to take stock of stretch roles when your company’s metrics reveal lower-than-expected customer service ratings. Another possible sign is going from good reviews to mixed reviews in a short span of time.

Customer feedback is typically an early indicator that operational bottlenecks are forming. You must assess whether your employees have the experience and resilience to satisfy your company’s growing demands or if they’re stretched to the breaking point.

Relieve Employee Burnout by Outsourcing Customer Care

As many of our readers know by now, outsourcing talent is one of the most beneficial ways for companies to reduce workplace burnout. In particular, outsourced customer care offers a great solution for organizations stretched too thin. Over time, Millennial Services has published several articles on the numerous benefits of outsourcing. However, as more organizations experience higher turnover due to stretching their staff too thin, we felt it necessary to briefly discuss it in this section.

While every type of workplace has some form of stress or another, how they deal with that stress differentiates them. Whether your organization is struggling to keep up with customer demand or its staff is overworked, outsourcing a customer contact center helps. This is because keeping customers satisfied is the most crucial aspect of any business’ success. Satisfied customers mean your staff can focus on the operational elements of your business. Below are a few benefits of outsourcing customer care to consider.

Reduced Operational Costs

One of the top sources of stress is having to reduce operational costs. The costs associated with onboarding additional staff hampers growth and stagnates employee acquisition. This takes a toll on any organization of any size over time. By outsourcing customer care, all the essentials needed to operate a customer care department are there from day one.

Improved Focus

Outsourcing time-consuming functions such as customer care allow more of your team to focus on day-to-day priorities. As a result, tasks don’t become backlogged, which eases your employees’ stress.

Better Time Management

Operating a successful organization is as time-consuming as it is demanding. As your organization grows and expands, so do your employees’ responsibilities. Eventually, as your staff must take on more responsibilities, you will either have to hire more or delegate more. By outsourcing your customer care, you won’t have to do either. Most importantly, if and when you don’t need additional help, simply suspend the service. You can restart it when needed. No need to worry about hiring, laying off, or overworking employees. It’s a win-win. Contact Millennial Services to help relieve all these pressure points.

Top 5 Talent Acquisition Priorities in 2022

Over the past decade, the employer-employee relationship has changed considerably. While recruiting power has historically belonged to employers, that power now belongs to candidates. Some of the reasons for this shift include the rapid pace of disruption, a tightening labor market, and advances in technology. Compounding matters, the pandemic forced many people to alter how they lived and definitely how they worked.

Organizations weren’t immune to the societal effects of the pandemic, forcing many to swiftly transition to fully remote work. Of course, this meant switching to 100% virtual recruiting and subsequently shifting to policies and procedures supporting hybrid workforces. Even amid challenging times, talent acquisition teams continue to analyze how advances in technology will aid them in achieving their objectives.

Wherever an organization is in its journey, talent acquisition teams need to focus on five key priorities in 2022 and beyond. By hiring the right talent from the beginning, your organization can be better prepared for hard times. Below is a brief overview of these priorities, as well as our advice on how to build upon them in the upcoming years.

1. It’s Time to Put Talent First by Improving the Candidate Experience

Today’s recruitment is primarily an experience-driven process. That experience’s character is a job seeker’s impression of a potential employer’s basic recruitment process. The candidate experience is no longer optional and is now essential to whether employers can recruit talent effectively. Companies that dynamically measure, manage, and tweak the candidate experience attract more, better-qualified candidates. In addition to that, it speeds up the hiring process and lowers the turnover rate.

The first step to improving the candidate experience is to evaluate your organization’s hiring process. The goal of this evaluation is to gain an understanding of how influential your organization is at recruiting. Aspects of your evaluation should include getting feedback from current employees, new hires, and people currently going through the recruiting process. Use these insights to modify your company’s recruiting process, measuring the results.

Achieve this by planning and scheduling virtual events a week or two ahead of time; communicating transparently with potential candidates before, during, and after events; and adding both recorded and live presentations. Furthermore, a good candidate experience includes a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). What is DEI according to eXtension DEI?

  • Diversity is the presence of populations that have been and/or remain underrepresented and marginalized in the broader society. It includes the “presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective.”
  • Equity promotes fairness, justice, and impartiality within processes, procedures, and allocation of resources by systems and/or organizations.
  • Inclusion ensures that diverse employees truly feel welcome. Your organization achieves inclusion when it’s inviting, no matter a person’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective. It is the degree to which candidates can engage in development opportunities and decision-making processes.

DEI is definitely the right approach because today’s candidates are fully aware and paying close attention. According to the Washington Post, “76 percent of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers.” The article also pointed out that “[n]early half of Black and Hispanic employees and job seekers said they had quit a job after witnessing or experiencing discrimination at work.” Another 37% of job seekers and employees stated they wouldn’t apply to companies that have unfavorable ratings among people of color.

2. Shorten and Simplify Your Organization’s Application Process

Experts advise recruiters to keep the application process simple. It’s pivotal to getting more application submissions. But how does a simplified application process improve your recruiting situation? In a nutshell, a short and simple application form is easy to fill out. This allows applicants to easily gather an overview of vital information, preventing candidates from stopping the application process because it’s too lengthy.

Other issues include applications not working well with smartphones or other annoying elements. Many candidates have the following complaints about the average application:

  • Due to faulty design, candidates fail to see a field in the application and prematurely hit the “Submit” button. As a result, the application doesn’t get submitted or the entire application reloads and loses all the data, Now the candidate must fill out the entire application again.
  • Applications include unnecessary and redundant questions, such as asking which country the candidate lives in despite providing a local address.
  • More candidates are applying for jobs through their smartphones or tablets. However, organizations either provide applications that don’t work well on those devices or aren’t available. As a result, many candidates will move on to the next job offer.
  • Redundant application forms require candidates to provide data that was already included in a resume or CV.
  • Applications include questions that most candidates consider too personal and/or discriminatory. For example, applications include questions about age, gender, living situation, marital status, or disabilities.

3. Create a Talent Pipeline Framework

According to the Hays Recruitment Global Skills Index report released in early 2022, recruiters are finding it harder to secure good talent today than it was in 2021. The report states that almost 73% of recruiters struggle to discover suitable candidates. Employers (45%) have a hard time finding candidates possessing the necessary skills. Why are these statistics so important? It makes creating a talent pipeline framework all the more consequential.

A talent pipeline framework is an active database storing a list of tested, vetted, and pre-qualified candidates that are a phone call away. Such a database helps recruiters and employers fill vacancies at a moment’s notice when the need arises. A thorough talent pipeline framework should include both external and internal candidates. The key feature of any talent pipeline framework, nonetheless, is pre-qualification. In other words, talent pipelines exclusively feature candidates already acquainted with your organization. This makes it easier for those candidates to step into vacancies rapidly with little training required.

Another important aspect of a candidate taken from a talent pipeline means they shouldn’t need to repeat the recruitment process. You can literally bring them on board right away. However, retaining candidates in such a state of readiness necessitates active talent pipeline framework management. Essentially, recruiters must stay in continual communication with candidates so they can be moved up the pipeline toward filling a vacancy.

4. Improve Your Employer Branding

In a pre-pandemic era, developing an employer brand seemed more like a “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-have.” However, organizations operating in a nearly post-pandemic era quickly discovered that employer branding is as important as product branding. Similar to how consumers seek out brands that align with their personal values, candidates look for the same thing in an employer.

According to Hinge Research Institute’s newly released Employer Branding Study, 57% of candidates across all career levels regard an employer’s culture as important as pay. More organizations are marketing their employer brands using storytelling to sway potential candidates to join their team. The new generation of job seekers cares less about competitive salaries and benefits packages. Things have gotten so serious that they will use your reputation to pass judgment, often without any interaction.

A report published by Glassdoor Research in 2021 revealed that 75% of job seekers go for jobs where employers manage their employer brand. As a result, companies with a solid employer brand experience better talent acquisition results. For this reason, it’s critical that your organization develops an employer brand to improve recruiting. Developing an employer brand consists of employing recruitment marketing techniques, targeting the right candidates, and engaging with them early on in the process.

Substantiating the importance of employer branding, 75% of recruiters reported that “cultural fit” outweighed both work history and work experience. Glassdoor conducted this particular study during the height of the pandemic as organizations globally struggled with health, political, and economic upheaval.

5. Invest in a Powerful Recruitment Marketing Strategy

Organizations seem willing to try any trending recruitment strategy to attract qualified candidates. This holds especially true as the demand for talent continues to outpace availability. Organizations with star talent have a decisive edge over their competitors, making effective recruiting marketing strategies necessary for success. Smart organizations take steps to formalize their recruitment approach by taking a serious look at recruitment marketing. While technology isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, creating a digital marketing platform significantly enhances endeavors to draw, engage, and hire top-shelf candidates.