Why A Low Unemployment Rate Retail Hiring More Challenging

Last week I addressed some of the unique hiring challenges facing today’s retailers, but I failed to mention one vital factor: unemployment. More specifically, how the low unemployment rate impacts retailers’ ability to attract and hire the right talent.

In May of this year, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%—that’s the lowest it’s been since 2000. All the other issues I discussed are now further complicated by the lack of people actively seeking new roles. This makes it harder to find the employees you need at both the store and corporate level.

Improving the candidate experience

Because of this, how you handle the hiring process matters more than ever before. One wrong step at the start of the relationship could mean missing out on the perfect hire. If you’re slow to respond to a candidate—or worse, simply forget to do so—they’ll likely lose interest in the position. What’s worse is skipping a step in the process entirely, giving them a bad experience and conveying that your company doesn’t handle the hiring process smoothly. On the other hand, if you can improve the candidate’s experience, you increase the odds that they’ll choose to work with you.

Another frustrating experiences for hiring managers is to identify the ideal candidate, only to hit an internal roadblock when it’s time to make an offer. You guide the candidate smoothly through the interview process to the point where you’re ready to make the hire—only to find that you don’t have approval from leadership. Once again, I have to sing the praises of using an applicant tracking system. Not only will it help you provide candidates with a consistent and enjoyable experience, but it can keep you organized so you can help streamline approval of new hires.

The applicant tracking solution available through TRUNO TimeForge, for example, allows users to rate and rank candidates to facilitate discussions among decision makers. This means you’ll never miss out on a candidate due to internal red tape.

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Why efficient onboarding matters

Once you’ve found the right employees, you have to bring them through the onboarding process. Here again, providing the new employee with a positive onboarding experience matters. Starting off this way is vital, given that employee retention is always a concern in retail.

The combination of low unemployment and high turnover shines an even brighter spotlight on the importance of retail employee onboarding. In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management reported that employees were 58 percent more likely to stay with a company for at least three years when they had completed a structured onboarding process.

If you’re already using TimeForge Applicant Tracking, the good news is that your new hire’s information is already in the system. You can quickly and easily complete every step of the onboarding process, including: 

  • Providing customizable onboarding plans for each department
  • Collection and verification of paperless documentation
  • Guiding new hires through completion of forms using an employee portal
  • Gathering data from new hires via the survey tool for internal process evaluation
  • Using built-in confirmation processes to prevent new hires from being scheduled or clocking in without first completing the appropriate forms

Together, TimeForge Applicant Tracking and Onboarding can help you provide a positive experience for candidates and employees every step of the way. It also improves your own experience with the hiring process—what hiring manager wouldn’t want that?

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