In this edition of our series on the frontline workforce, we will take a closer look at how you can successfully recruit the people who make the difference in order to meet the high market demands of today. Given the challenges in the labor landscape, companies need to rethink how they engage with their frontline workers across the entire employee life cycle.
With the best practices we’ll be laying out here, you can successfully navigate the current environment.
Thinking of Tomorrow – Today
First, we have to take an honest look at the tough labor landscape and gain an overview of the market’s pain points. These include challenges to hire frontline workers, which have intensified due to high e-commerce growth, an overall labor shortage, and hiring conditions that have become more competitive.
The demand in e-commerce is growing exponentially, particularly influenced by the Covid pandemic and a strong shift in consumer behavior. More consumers are buying increasingly online and each one is buying higher quantities of products. In fact, retail e-commerce sales worldwide grew 27.6 percent in 2020, and 14.3 percent is expected in 2021.
On top of this comes a constrained supply of labor in the markets due to a slow return to work, resulting from government regulations and Covid-related fears. In some markets, like in the USA and Germany, there is also a generational effect, with baby boomers retiring and younger generations growing up with more education and entering the workforce. These younger people also have different expectations from their employers.
The increased competition to hire has led to higher salaries, perks, and incentive programs – not only generating competition among candidates, but also among companies from all industries. For example, logistics is having to compete with apparel, fast food, construction companies and more for frontline workers. According to Bloomberg, in the two years from May 2019 to May 2021, pay went up twice as fast for frontline workers than for office workers.
Best Practices for a Successful Recruiting Process
Let’s begin by taking a look at the two key players in the recruiting process in closer detail:
- First, the Candidates, who are looking for a job that matches their expectations. Now more than ever, those expectations include a satisfying job with growth opportunities, good remuneration and perks such as flexible working schedules.
- Second, the Companies, who are looking to fill the available positions with qualified candidates as fast as possible. Companies need to meet the needs and wants listed above among an increasingly limited pool of available candidates and within a market that offers more positions than candidates.
So how can you bring these two players together to win the battle for frontline workforce talent? By seeing things from the candidate’s point of view and centering on their experience, you can determine key objectives and bring the right people for your company into the right positions.
To assist companies and their human resources departments in winning over the right people for their business, we’ve come up with some key best practices for each step of the frontline workforce recruiting process:
- Candidate Needs Identification
Enhance your forecasting accuracy and planning horizon regarding demand and resources by leveraging data analytics and considering future trends. This also enables the human resources team to have the time they need to recruit and fill positions.
- Candidate Attraction
Cast a broader net by shifting from traditional job boards to advertising on digital marketing, for instance by using geofencing or social media like Facebook Ads and similar. Alongside this, an attractive and effectively promoted referral program can help you to leverage your existing employees to win new employees. Simplifying the application requirements and integrating your applicant tracking system (ATS) with other digital platforms is also helpful.
- Candidate Screening and Selection
Expedite and simplify the process by developing standardized interview questionnaires, using more multiple-choice questions, and leveraging online or remote assessments. Decisions should be made solely on the candidate’s qualifications, so use predefined scoring systems and hiring thresholds to avoid any biases.
- Candidate Engagement
Give your candidates many good reasons to join your company, and show your interest in them as a person. Set continuous touchpoints across the whole process and take advantage of follow-ups such as corporate merchandising, image videos and more, which can support you in this. Automation of basic paperwork for selected candidates can also improve the candidate’s experience.
Frontline Workforce Recruiting – Wrap Up
All in all, a data-driven, faster and simpler process can enhance the candidate’s experience from start to finish, while simultaneously driving efficiencies in the utilization of resources, such as the time and money spent for the HR team. What’s more, a faster application-to-offer lead time can prevent the candidate from accepting other offers that they may receive faster.
There is no silver bullet, but a combination of several actions can help you to attract more candidates and keep them in your company for longer – ultimately saving you time and resources.
Looking ahead, the shortage of frontline workers is expected to continue, and even increase further in the years to come. This is why it is absolutely essential for organizations to adapt their recruiting practices today – and, in the end, to succeed in the new labor environment.
In the next edition of our series on the frontline workforce, we will discuss the next step within the employee life cycle: onboarding. Stay tuned for insights on effective onboarding that focuses on the right content and delivers it in an engaging and collaborative way – to retain employees and achieve higher productivity.
Share any challenges or solutions you may have with your frontline workforce. Contact us at any time and if your topic is of greater interest, we may just set up a special interview with you and present it in this blog.
Are there any other topics that interest you? Let us know! Share your ideas and opinions with us, and tell us what topics you would like for us to cover in upcoming articles.
Get in Touch
Jana Koch – Partner and Future of Work Lead, DHL Consulting
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Matthias Vollmert – Partner and Future of Operations Lead, DHL Consulting
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Cesar Fernandez Giove – Associate Partner, DHL Consulting Americas
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