How Job Descriptions Support Recruiting and Retention Amid the Talent Shortage

By JDXpert - March 10, 2023

Experts predict that the current labor shortage could last for many years. Significant factors driving this trend include an ever-widening skills gap, an entire generation of boomers starting to age out of the workforce, and the lingering effects of the pandemic on the labor market.

Social responsibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns compound the challenges as employees increasingly choose employers that align with their personal values.

Considering that these issues may burden HR professionals into the foreseeable future, job descriptions take on an even more critical role. Accurate, up-to-date, compliant job descriptions help to create a sustainable talent pipeline that supports ongoing recruitment and retention efforts.

Do Your Job Openings Outnumber Applicants?

Companies in every industry are struggling with a talent shortage. Recent data shows more than 10 million job openings and just six million potential candidates, representing a significant shortfall.

Organizations must have the right people in the right positions to stay competitive and meet bottom-line expectations. When this goal isn’t met, the business will struggle to achieve its goals and may be unable to serve clients or care for its employees adequately.

Adequate compensation is also a concern, as employees must feel they are paid what they are worth, or they will move on. Companies struggle with rising wages and increasing employee demands, but the cost of retaining a valuable employee is far less than hiring a new one.

In a recent JDXpert poll, we learned that 78% of HR professionals find it more difficult to recruit today than at any time in recent history. If the landscape is to change, solutions are vital. Leveraging new approaches, technology, and a people-first approach will help HR navigate the road forward, and job descriptions are the heart and soul of these efforts.

What Makes Good Employees Leave?

Employees leave jobs for myriad reasons. Burnout ranks in the top three, which can also be associated with poor work-life boundaries. Working from home, taking on extra work because of staffing shortfalls, and lack of a clear understanding of what’s expected of them during the workday contribute to overwhelm, exhaustion, and, eventually, disengagement.

Other reasons include toxic company culture, which could be caused by inequity, bias, or poor management oversight. As more organizations hire remote workers or allow employees to work from home, proximity bias can also be an issue. Workers who do not feel included, recognized, or valued won’t feel connected to the work, their coworkers, or the company’s mission.

Compensation, as mentioned above, should align with industry benchmarks. Standards have changed significantly in recent years to account for rising minimum wage, inflation, and cost of living increases. Employees today know what they are worth. Employers need to stay competitive if they want to attract and retain the best and brightest.

A well-crafted job description will anticipate these concerns and remove ambiguity around roles, ensuring that all stakeholders—HR, employees, candidates, and leadership—have a blueprint for success.

Job Descriptions Help Companies Avoid Hiring Mistakes

Hiring mistakes are costly. SHRM estimates the cost of hiring a new employee is in the range of $4700. However, the total cost can be much more. Depending on the position, the loss could be three to four times the employee’s yearly salary when considering direct and indirect costs.

The losses compound if the employee does not work out or leaves the job. Consider these statistics:

An accurate job description could have helped companies avoid these unnecessary costs in any of the above scenarios. It would also have allowed the organization to broaden its talent pool and attract more suitable candidates.

How Job Descriptions Help HR Navigate the Talent Shortage

Job descriptions help HR pros navigate the talent shortage in several ways. Job descriptions provide a clear sense of the job, enabling companies to hire the right people, retain the right people, and prepare for business disruption.

The Benefits of Debiasing Job Descriptions

Accurate job descriptions help to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), an essential component of recruiting today. Diverse companies are more profitable, perform better, and are more relevant to today’s globally conscious public. 67% of today’s job seekers feel that diversity is essential in the workplace, and the bottom-line benefits are clear. Diverse companies are 58% more productive, 19% more innovative, and 33% more profitable than their non-diverse peers.

Removing biased language in job descriptions helps companies achieve their DEI goals while attracting a broader range of talent. Organizations that do so may attract non-traditional candidates who may not otherwise have applied based on stated requirements, such as education, degrees, or employment experience.

Considering that 62% of working adults in the US do not have a four-year degree, making that a requirement would be limiting. Cutting-edge technical talent doesn’t come from universities anymore. You’ll find them in the gig economy or coming out of boot camps with skills and savvy that go much further than advanced degrees earned through traditional means.

To compete in today’s business climate, a skills-based approach to hiring is essential. You’ll attract more people when you focus on skills and swap out education requirements for knowledge and competency.

Support the Needs of a Remote Work Culture

Most employees today prefer to work remotely. Companies that offer remote work have a 25% lower turnover than those that do not.

After the pandemic, companies began recognizing the advantages of a remote workforce. Having the ability to work from home or work asynchronous schedules supports employees who need flexibility, such as women and mothers, who would be unable to accept a traditional in-office schedule.

But burnout can be high in remote work. Without direct management oversight, employees might be unsure whether their managers recognize the work they do and may put in extra hours to compensate.

Job descriptions help to mitigate this issue, detailing the expectations of the job and assisting workers to stay focused on the right things while on the clock.

The job description can also identify work that can be done remotely vs. work that can’t. When these points are clearly articulated, misunderstandings can be avoided. In a dynamic employment landscape, such as we’ve been navigating since 2020, clarity is essential and may prevent litigation.

How JDXpert Helps

Navigating today’s talent shortage is a complex endeavor. HR professionals need to use every tool at their disposal to attract more candidates and retain and nurture the employees they have.

JDXpert makes light work of creating, updating, and maintaining job descriptions, providing advanced tools that leave nothing to chance. Job descriptions are a powerful tool for recruitment, but they are also essential for maintaining compliance, evaluating performance, and helping employees realize their potential.

To learn more about how job description and job description management support recruiting and retention amid the current talent shortage, we invite you to download our e-book:

How to Beat the Talent Shortage One Job Description at a Time.



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