Businesses of all sizes are touting “now hiring” as they ramp up operations following shut-downs or slow-downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.However, finding the right people – or getting applicants at all in some cases – is still proving difficult in many instances as post pandemic hiring intensifies. It’s a constant frustration for hiring managers across the region.“It’s definitely not isolated,” says Stacey Goolsby, Staffing Manager for Syndeo, an outsourced human resources provider. “It’s all industries.”These post pandemic hiring challenges have forced businesses to get creative with their recruiting efforts and deviate from hiring norms in certain instances.For some, those changes include suspending pre-employment drug screenings or modifying background screening protocols to streamline the hiring process and get more applicants in the door quicker. Others are altering the skills or experience requirements for jobs and emphasizing on-the-job training and fitting for company culture instead.Connor Cross, Syndeo’s Director of Human Resources, says businesses also are pushing vendors to complete pre-employment screenings with faster turn-around times, even in the same day, for people being offered jobs in hopes of not losing them to other opportunities.Additionally, salary assessments are being conducted and adjustments made accordingly more frequently as a means for employers to ensure their wages are in line with market rates.Hiring or sign-on bonuses are being utilized more often as well to assist with post pandemic hiring. Those bonuses can be paid as a lump sum up front or over time as the employee meets certain benchmarks, such as getting past a 90-day introductory period.Employers also are relying more heavily on internship programs to create a pipeline of workers.Employee-referral programs Cross encourages employers to implement an employee-referral program to incentivize existing staff members to play a larger role in helping business recruit employees to fill out their workforce.“Based on our own experience, we have found referrals are one of our most successful recruiting sources,” Cross says. “They are typically a great fit for us culturally which, often is more impactful than the necessary technical skills or work experience.”Referral programs are typically structured to pay a portion of a bonus to the person who refers a candidate who is later hired and the remainder if and when the hire completes his or her 90-day introductory period.Syndeo implemented an employee-referral program in early 2021, and it has worked for our own post pandemic hiring. Eight people who were hired during a two-month period came from a mix of referrals from internal employees, clients and business partners.“That speaks to how well that works,” Cross says.Outside resourcesHiring managers also should be familiar with available outside resources that are geared toward helping businesses connect with job seekers.One example in the Wichita area is the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.Cross says entities like that allow employers to tap into lists of job seekers, take part in job fairs and gain access to free job advertising in some cases. The Workforce Alliance also assists employers by having candidates who already have completed some of the necessary skills training (a Microsoft Excel certification, for example) for certain positions.All of that adds value for a business without increasing its recruiting budget.“I think their services are underrated and underutilized at times,” Cross says.Meanwhile, Goolsby says employers are benefitting from a wider spread return of in-person job fairs in recent weeks. She says in-person job fairs are more practical than those conducted virtually because it allows more connections to be made and can lessen the time it takes to get job seekers committed for open positions.Bulk text messaging is being used more frequently as a way for employers to spread the word about job openings and upcoming job fairs.Utilizing personal networks, such as LinkedIn connections, is another common way for hiring managers to broaden their pool of job candidates and ultimately lessen the personnel needs employers have by getting people hired.“It is how ever you can get the word out,” Goolsby says.About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll. Winner of the 2020 and 2021 Best of HR Services Award through ClearlyRated for providing superior client service. See our ClearlyRated profile here.