August 9th, 2022

This past year, we leaders learned how to grow and scale our businesses during some really difficult challenges. We struggled with supply issues and we dealt with long lead times and increased prices. Most of all, we learned just how difficult hiring and retaining good talent can be.

I have spoken with many business owners over this past year who have had to learn lessons about hiring, often the hard way. So I wanted to share some of the lessons that many leaders learned (or at least should have) this past year in the hopes to do better in the upcoming year.

Hiring is a marathon, not a sprint.

In the past, many business owners got away with hiring and filling positions at the last minute. A team member might put in their two weeks notice and staff usually got around to listing the position a week or more after that team member left the company. They may have given little thought to what the job listing would include and still got flooded with resumes and applicants.

This year, it became a little more difficult. The resumes slowed a bit, and the lead time to find the right candidate took a bit longer than we were used to. Many companies learned to keep an updated job description of the positions on their team so that when a spot opened up they could fill it in a more structured and intelligent way. Leaders got better at doing interviews by asking procedural questions instead of hypotheticals, to get a good feel for how a job applicant would do in the day-to-day. “Practice makes perfect” was the motto and leaders got some hands-on experience in hiring more strategically.

To do even better in 2022, consider creating relationships and keeping in touch with candidates that didn’t make the cut during the hiring process the first go-round. After all, you never know when you may have another position open and need their expertise and the timing or position may be a better fit in the future.

Retention is just as important as hiring.

The second lesson we all learned the hard way this year is that if hiring is difficult, retention is even harder. This past year has been a stressful one and employees are feeling that pressure. They may be dealing with long lead times and out-of-stock products and having to deal with upset customers who want their orders quickly. Or maybe you experienced a lot of growth this year, and employees are experiencing a lot of the growing pains that come with it.

Whatever the reason, we are all tired and stressed. And this year, it has been imperative that leaders connect with team members and do everything they can to help make jobs easier and even enjoyable. Leaders learned how to celebrate victories together and learned to praise team members for a job well done. And for that, many are better employers because of it.

To do even better in 2022, make it a point from day one to connect with your new hires. Touch base regularly to see how they are fitting in with the culture and their job responsibilities and make sure that they feel comfortable coming to you or your key team members should difficulties arise.

As we move into the new year, I’m not exactly sure what the hiring landscape will look like. But I can be sure that the lessons we leaders learned this year will serve us well when it comes time for our next hire. Taking your time to find the right candidate, focusing on proper onboarding procedures, and taking time to get to know your team and how best to support their growth and development will always have you a step ahead of your competition.