Talent Acquisition 2021 Recap and Forecast for 2022

The pressure is officially back on for talent acquisition teams to engage the right employees and help businesses stay competitive.

Early on in the pandemic, millions of workers were laid off in a race to downsize. Economists predicted a grim year of people scrambling to get their old jobs back—except, that isn’t quite what happened.

Instead, Americans have started leaving their jobs (and not coming back) at historic rates. In fact, according to Lawrence Katz, the Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard, “we haven’t seen quit rates this high since 2000, when the BLS started recording the statistics.”

For businesses with an eye toward the future, it’s time to learn from the mistakes of 2021 (like why employees aren’t in a hurry to come back to work) and use that knowledge to stay ahead. When you’re vying for the same talent in a seller’s market, reaching the right candidates and making the right offers once you find them are critical to your success.

Our Guest: Michael O’Dell,

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Michael O’ Dell, President of With over 20 years of experience in the recruiting and digital talent acquisition industry, Michael became president of in January 2020 where he has been spearheading their rebranding and overseeing U.S. sales operations. He’s also the host of his own show, the Workscape podcast, where guests join him in analyzing trends and the future of the labor economy in the U.S.

When asked how the business of recruitment marketing has changed with fewer people looking for jobs, Michael suggests that there might not actually be fewer people.

“I think it’s a different set of people and a lot of the same people over and over,” Michael says. “Maybe it’s the great reshuffling. It’s a musical chairs of professionals.”

The move to remote, hybrid work from home has also been a major shakeup for those in the recruitment advertising industry – with remote jobs going from being a small part of the ecosystem to an important part of the conversation.

“For the longest time, remote jobs have been part of our ecosystem, but it’s been a very small part,” Michael says. “But come last year, it was like 4% of our jobs had a remote or work from home location. And that I think went up like 20x in a three or four-month period.”

For this actually meant changing their search algorithms to make sure that they aren’t just matching the right job to the right person in the right place:

“When you have three major inputs in a search and one of them is finite, i.e., location, you have some pretty nice guardrails. Now, we have to just be better.”

The Big ‘R’: How to retain your top talent

Paying people their worth, being a good human, and paying a living wage are a no-brainer when it comes to retention, but what more can employers do?

“Go and have a conversation with your people,” Michael says. “If you value them, if they’re good, if they’re good to you, be good to them.”

Michael points to a recent LinkedIn survey that shows people are starting to leave for different industries. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be a one-way street. He discusses how different industries are starting to look for skill sets that they may not have considered before, which is putting increased pressure on recruitment advertisers.

You’re looking at competition from different industries,” Michael explains. “So, you do have to be better. You have to be quick. If you think you can put jobs out there or source candidates and engage with them for three or four days, you’re going to lose that person.”

A mass exodus in the workforce

There are also those leaving the workforce altogether. Michael has some interesting research about the differences in why some age groups, working groups, and genders are deciding to resign. Baby boomers, he says, have benefited from the stock market over the past couple of years and seen their retirement funds grow, causing many to take a step back and retire.

“And then you have the other side,” he says. “We have some of the lowest labor participation from younger workers now than ever.”

He also notes that some young men are realizing they can work part-time at different jobs and make as much or more than they did full-time at another job, while female workers struggle to find a job that accommodates the fact that they have a proportionally larger share of elder and childcare. Interestingly, people with disabilities are benefitting from the move to remote and hybrid work from home.

“There’s a lot of organizations that have always looked past working from home, regardless of who it is,” Michael says. “And now folks with disabilities have tremendously more opportunities to work in an atmosphere that is comfortable and productive for them.”

I hope you enjoy this special podcast of #WorkTrends, sponsored by You can learn more about talent acquisition 2021 recap and forecast for 2022 by reaching out to Michael O’Dell on LinkedIn. And, in case you missed it, listen to the podcast here.

4 Reasons On-Site Fitness Centers Have Become Key Recruiting Tools in the Struggle for Talent

It’s no secret: Today’s employers are struggling to recruit top talent. Current government statistics tell us the U.S. employment rate was 4.1 percent in November. That’s down by more than half from its peak of 10.2 percent in October 2009. Meanwhile, a large portion of the workforce will be retiring in the next 15 years. By 2030, every Baby Boomer will be 65 or older, which means a full 18 percent of the U.S. population will be at retirement age (according to Pew Research Center population projections). That’s quite a bit of people exiting the workforce — and many jobs left to fill.

Bottom line: There just aren’t going to be enough good people to fill all the open roles in the next 10 to 15 years.

And that’s a big-time problem for today’s modern businesses.

Unique Benefits

How are organizations tackling this challenge? Many are offering unique employee benefits to attract and retain the best employees.

For example, Starbucks offers full tuition reimbursement for its employees through Arizona State University. IKEA offers four months of parental time off to full- and part-time employees with at least one year experience at the company. And Scripps Health offers pet insurance for employees’ cats and dogs.

And, increasingly, companies are offering on-site fitness centers as a key employee perk. According to a 2017 survey of HealthFitness clients, 92 percent of company HR leaders said their on-site fitness centers helped their organization stay competitive.

One HR leader said, “Amenities such as our fitness center help us attract and retain top talent for our organization.” Another leader said, “Our on-site fitness center is an attractive employee perk.”

Why Employees Love On-Site Fitness Centers

Why are these on-site fitness centers such a great employee benefits? And why are they turning out to be especially valuable as recruiting tools? Four big reasons come to mind.

A more personal touch is what employees really want.

According to research conducted by HealthFitness in partnership with The Connell Group between 2015 and 2016, 75 percent of employees say a personal touch is important in their health, wellbeing and fitness program. That means employees are seeking access to live experts who are credible, engaging, easy to access and provide one-on-one support for their specific needs. Corporate fitness centers meet this need directly by not only offering a space to exercise but a place where employees can work with coaches and fitness consultants to develop individualized plans to meet their unique health needs.

Convenience matters.

That same research found that 40 to 45 percent of employees who are offered an on-site fitness facility access choose to participate largely due to the convenience, inviting environment and low- or no-cost membership. After all, it’s much easier to get a workout in if you only have to travel two floors down on the elevator versus 10 miles in rush-hour traffic. Convenience is everything for today’s over-booked employee.

Movement matters, too — especially when helping reduce workplace injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million on-the-job injuries occurred in 2016. Last year there were 1,153,490 days-away-from-work cases due to injuries reported with an average of eight days away from work to recuperate. And, last but certainly not least, workplace injuries cost employers nearly $60 billion a year. Those are some staggering numbers. And employers are beginning to realize that movement matters and that muscular imbalances can lead to pain, injury and decreased movement functionality.

Definitions of fitness are evolving.

Ten years ago, if you asked employers to define fitness when it came to their employees’ health, they probably would have spoken mostly about physical health. But, in 2018, employers are increasingly looking at employee health from a whole-person view, recognizing its physical, social, emotional, financial and environmental dimensions. And on-site fitness centers have evolved with that changing definition of fitness to address more of these dimensions. For example, employees can now get a workout (on the treadmill), refocus (via a yoga class) and refresh (with a tai chi class)—all at the modern on-site fitness center.

As the struggle for talent continues, I think we’ll see more companies introducing corporate fitness centers as a key way to recruit top employees.

Seven Things CEOs Need to Know About Millennials

Whether you’re a CEO or a hiring manager, the future of your company’s success largely depends on building a good rapport with your millennial workforce. And even if you think you’re doing a good job attracting and retaining young talent, a recent PWC report found that it might not be as good as you think. In fact, millennials and the older corporate leadership they work for don’t always see eye to eye.

Let’s take a look at seven key findings as revealed in “Millennials at Work, Reshaping the Workplace,” and what CEOs need to know in order to speak the language of your younger employees. 

  1. Benefits: It’s not all about the “Benjamins.” When Millennial employees were asked what they value most from an employer, you may be surprised to learn that money wasn’t most important. In fact, cash bonuses came in third with training and development and flexible work hours taking first and second place respectively. What’s more revealing is that almost three quarters (73 percent) of millennials favor the notion of being able to customize their benefits packages to better suit their individual needs.

How to respond: Get creative and shift the focus from cash bonuses to other non-monetary benefits that appeal to the millennial lifestyle. Additionally, some employers are offering perks like tuition reimbursement, wellness programs and company-sponsored outings to better serve their millennial workforce. 

  1. They want to be challenged. This generation wants to know that their job offers personal learning and development opportunities above everything else. They also want to feel confident that when accepting a new position, there will be opportunities for advancement within the organization. In fact, 52 percent said it would make a prospective employer more attractive.

How to respond: Millennials want to feel important and know that they are making meaningful contributions. Invite people from different departments to join new project teams and committees to offer a variety of experiences and learning opportunities.  

  1. A pat on the back goes a long way. One of the strongest traits of many millennials is the desire of frequent feedback from their superiors, especially praise for a job well done. As the survey indicated, 51 percent said feedback should be given very frequently or continually. 

How to respond: A yearly employee review is not enough. Managers should allocate time to meet with their staff members regularly and consistently to review short-term goals, progress toward achieving those goals and to offer constructive feedback and praise as appropriate. 

  1. They aren’t impressed with your diversity. Generally speaking, millennials think you can do better when it comes to promoting equal opportunity in the workplace. More than half (55 percent) of respondents agreed that even though organizations discuss diversity, not everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. 

How to respond: Consider if there really is a gap between your diversity efforts and workplace dynamics. Then, make concerted effort to hire more diverse candidates by enlarging your pool of potential applicants. In addition, make it clear in your corporate language and culture that inclusivity and respect for others is paramount. 

  1. They think you’re stuck in your ways. Millennials are continually calling out company leaders for their “old-school,” and outdated management styles. More than 40 percent of millennials surveyed felt their use of technology was not always understood or appreciated. 

How to respond: Does your IT policy need an upgrade? Today’s younger workers live in a digital world; and therefore, like to do some of their work activities and communicate on those devices and platforms as well. To create a more tech-friendly workplace, encourage your millennial employees to participate in company social media efforts or introduce easy-to-use collaboration apps like Slack to staffers. 

  1. They’re sensitive about what older workers think of them. Millennials sometimes get a bum rap and at work, 38 percent think it might have something to do with the inability of older senior management to relate to them. Whether it’s rigid hierarchies and outdated management styles (cited by 65 percent of survey respondents,) or not understanding the way millennials use technology (46 percent,) they feel misunderstood by older colleagues.

How to respond: Managing a multi-generational workforce is not easy, but it can be done with better communication and keeping an open mind to different work styles. Strong leadership and a transparent performance management system can help ensure everyone is treated fairly and with respect. 

  1. They’re loyal, but only to a point. Many millennials (38 percent) admit that they are keeping an eye out for new opportunities even when they are not actively seeking a new position. In other words, if they feel their talents are being wasted or that their needs are not being met, they won’t hesitate to move on to other opportunities.

How to respond: Regular check-ins with employees, keeping them engaged with new projects, and even small tokens or words of appreciation and career development opportunities can help encourage millennials to stay the course.

Millennials are hard workers who strive to please their bosses and make a meaningful impact on their organizations. By playing to those strengths and understanding how to communicate and motivate younger workers, company leaders can help create a workplace that’s attractive to the new generation and beyond.

Photo Credit: sara_moseley Flickr via Compfight cc

What You Need To Know About Social Hiring

Thinking about applying for a new job? Make sure that you keep your social media profiles updated and crisp, because recruiters these days are queuing up on websites like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter to get the best of the lot. If on the contrary you’re hiring, then make sure that you go through a chunk of digital profiles and do extensive social hiring research on prospective applicants.

Recruitment Today – What’s Trending?

Among the wide variety of recruitment portals, corporate career sites and direct sourcing have seen a lull when compared to social networking sites, mobile sites, and industry referrals. Based on Jobvite’s annual Social Recruiting Survey, 69 % recruiters expect a surge in competition in 2015, which is why they have made plans to invest in referrals (63%), mobile strategies (51%), along with massive emphasis on social recruiting (73%).

These stats encourage recruiters to turn to social media to interact with candidates, engage in useful discussions, and check their brand loyalty. The icing on the cake is that you get to test them even before you meet them. If you’re turning to social media for full time requirement, remember to work twice as hard, because only 18 % of recruiters consider themselves to be experts at it.

Job Hunting? Try Networking Sites!

Social media wins major points in hiring due to its accessibility. Whether you’re holidaying in Hawaii, or are based in the remote villages of India, you can participate and rise up to global challenges. If you’re a job seeker looking to prep yourself during your job search, you can showcase your personal branding to recruiters by using networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Give prospective employers a glimpse into your creative side by sprucing up your resume with attention-grabbing videos crazy images. When these go viral, you win brownie points as you’ll definitely be noticed by recruiters. If you’re looking to convert a hobby into your profession, then Pinterest is a great platform to build your online reputation. Blog sites are also helpful, as they carry a weightage of 7 % when it comes to being hired.

Mobile Is In 

Take a quick look around you and you’re sure to find a majority of your peers glued to their phones. According to the findings of Jobvite’s study, close to 43% job seekers are looking for employment on mobile-optimized sites, but 59 % recruiters have invested nothing in this niche segment. If you use a mobile hiring, the quality of your candidates is raised by a whopping 13%, while the quantity shoots up by 19%. You also stand a 10 % higher chance of getting referrals on mobile sites.

Who’s Leading? 

The spotlight of social media hiring is focussed on three top sites. It is no surprise that the majority of recruiters have hired candidates through LinkedIn (79 %). Facebook and Twitter are next in the line, with statistics pointing to 26% and 14 % respectively. So whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired, make sure you have a sizeable online presence that adds credibility to your brand.

Attracting and Growing Talent: Skillpreneurs

Skillpreneurs – Your Company’s Secret Weapons

I’d like to make a proposition: let’s stop focusing on the Millennials and look at the bigger picture of people who have the potential and talent to make waves in business.

I’m talking about highly skilled, self-driven people of all ages – Skillpreneurs – who are simply not motivated by traditional employer value propositions. They’re people that have specific, unique skills and talent and will go to the highest bidder. It’s just not about the employer that pays the best, however, its also where they can build their reputation, make an impact, enhance their resume or just get excited about a new challenge. If you hook these supernovas for your company you’ll be able to harness their energy and slingshot your business ahead.

PWC published a paper, The Future of Work – A Journey to 2022 in which it talks about the “Orange World Concept”.

The Orange World desire for autonomy is strongest in China, especially among young people, indicating a generational shift towards greater freedom, entrepreneurship and specialist skills in this rapidly evolving economy. Over half of participants in China believe that traditional employment won’t be around in the future. Instead, people will have their own ‘brands’ and sell their skills to those who need them.

I believe that the same is true for other parts in Asia where people don’t believe in the Western concept of “cradle-to-grave” is that important to people when it comes to work. In these cultures, personal entrepreneurship is welcomed and encouraged.

What Is A Skillpreneur? 

Skillpreneurs are definitely not your low maintenance employees. Consider the following traits that they all have:

  • Value flexibility and autonomy
  • Prefer short-term, quick rewards – not necessarily money
  • Thrive with change
  • Get bored from daily, repetitive tasks
  • Need challenges to keep their thinking juices flowing

You can’t micromanage them which means you can’t keep telling them what to do. If you’re not one for thinking out of the box, you might want to reconsider having a Skillpreneur in your team. They can be quite challenging but when motivated correctly, provide great results for themselves and the team.

Why Are They So Valuable?

The value of a Skillpreneur may be boxed by the size of your company and the amount of red-tape that they need to go through to do something new. If you’re a small, relatively flat organizational hierarchy, your company is more likely to have more space for a Skillpreneur to make an impact. The larger the distance between the bottom and top of your org chart, the less value you’ll be able to extract from them.

So why does it matter anyway? All people are a piece of a large puzzle when it comes to any organization right? Kind of. But what if a single puzzle piece could branch off and create a puzzle of their own that connects to the original source? What if, rather than just solving your business solution, you have these hidden people who can solve other problems that could expand your business? Now that’s power. Power for a person, power for the company.

How Do You Find, Retain And Engage Them?

Like I said, they’re not low maintenance. They’re people who need challenges and opportunities to keep growing. They also take pride in the company they work at. Here are a few things you have to keep in mind if you’re going to get the most out of your Skillpreneurs:

  1. They value their company’s reputation so stay on top of your employer branding initiatives.
  2. They’re not going to be looking for opportunities on traditional job boards so tap into the networks that they hang out in.
  3. You need to attract them with just the right bait so strengthen your employer value proposition and be clear about what you offer them.
  4. They value the “Why” of a business so have a company vision that they can’t ignore. 
  5. Make sure your HR policies and processes aren’t going to suffocate them and provide the flexibility that they require.

It’s a fast changing world with incredible opportunities from which to gain advantage. I bet you’ve got some Skillpreneurs in your company that are just waiting for some freedom. Find them, use them, let them use your company resources and let the sky be the limit.

Finding Top Talent Through The Contingent Workforce

When you hear the words contingent, contracted, temporary or seasonal, what do you think of? Traditionally, the contingent workforce has been associated with the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder. They’re the people who can’t find real jobs. Well, the contingent workforce is growing in numbers, and taking over every rung of that ladder from the bottom to the top.

The contingent workforce has a new face. They are now the sought-after candidates with experience and flexibility; instead of the plan B hires they were not so long ago. Let’s take a look at this new and rapidly expanding workforce segment…

Life Is Suite For Contractors

You might be as surprised as I was to find out what a Randstad study revealed. We’re no longer dealing with temp secretaries or paper pushers; the new contingent worker has his or her sights set much higher. Randstad’s research indicates that about 1/3 of temporary workers are currently holding supervisory or managerial positions. The research also revealed that 40% of companies reported finding their top talent through the contingent labor force.

Now that employers are starting to embrace flexibility and find smarter ways to hire and manage the contingent workforce, the sky is the limit for this segment. There is no longer a stigma attached to granting responsibility to contingent workers. Employers have traditionally been reluctant to hand over any measure of power to someone who may or may not be there in the future, but they are now finding that the contingent worker’s patchwork career of skills and experiences make them perfect candidates for even high-level, power-wielding positions.

Contingent workers are no longer the tactical, last-resort hires, but rather strategic additions to teams. That may be why 60% of enterprises plan to increase freelance hiring in 2014, as revealed by Tower Lane Consulting.

Employment Is For The Birds

The same survey revealed that 53 million Americans, or 34% of the population, qualify as freelancers. This swift rise in freelancers is the result of many factors:

“The rise of Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit, Elance and other online labor marketplaces, combined with employers’ desire to lower payroll and insurance costs, has driven up the number of people cobbling together a living from freelancing.” – Susan Adams, Career Specialist

Beyond the environmental factors contributing to the rise of the contingent workforce, these workers have their own intrinsic motivators for changing the way we work. They love the balance, independence, diversity and flexibility of their career path. Here’s the breakdown from the Randstad Workforce 360 Study:

●      78% of contingent workers describe their experience as positive.

●      These workers also express higher career satisfaction in several areas compared to their full-time counterparts.

●      31% of contingent workers enjoy perks like flexibility of schedule.

●      28% of contingent workers cite better compensation as a contributing factor to their job satisfaction.

●      21% of contingent workers value their career ownership.

Since the recession, employers have struggled to find a way to attract great talent while maintaining a balance between agility and budget. The contingent workforce went from being the backup plan to the ideal solution to the problem every employer was and is facing.

Human capital will always present the largest cost to organizations, making the contingent workforce all the more attractive. Employers can find the talent they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it, with little to no training. The reality now is that temporary workers are no longer a temporary workforce strategy; ironically enough, the contingent workforce is here to stay.

The lean and agile workforce that every CEO needs and wants will largely be comprised of these contingent workers. Today the contingent workforce is growing by 8.3% yearly, and that growth rate is only expected to increase. The real issue now falls on those employers who don’t have the capacity to attract and manage this workforce segment. Without the right tools, talent management of the contingent workforce can be disjointed and ineffective; rendering the positive benefits of hiring contingent workers a draw in vital resources.

Are you ready for rise of the new contingent worker?

About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and Co-Founder of, web-based recruitment software that helps growing companies manage their incoming job applications.

photo credit: Rishad Daroo via photopin cc