Christmas is fast approaching, and we now enter the period of the year which for businesses is dominated by two activities – end of year accounts/budgeting for 2019 on the one hand, and organising the Christmas and end of year parties and festivities on the other hand. However, before getting out the mince pies and Santa hats, it’s definitely worth having a serious look at headcount and hiring strategies for the coming year. Creating, planning, and starting the hiring process now will not only save you a lot of hassle and turmoil come 2019, it can also propel you ahead of the competition. Here’s why…
Year End Realities
Let’s remind ourselves of what happens at the end of the year. Currently, companies all over the world are assessing performance for 2018 and budgeting for 2019 – and that includes budgets for headcount. They are looking for the skills gap in their teams and identifying where new talent needs to be brought in. At the same time, companies who miss their earnings targets at the end of the quarter and the year will either tighten their belts and hold off on headcount increases, or will look to bring on game-changers to help accelerate their start to 2019.
Let’s also look at the candidate side of the coin. The old mantra, ‘New Year, New You’ is never better reflected than the January job market. As well all know, there tends to be a higher turnover of staff post-bonus time, which for a lot of companies is typically in January and February. Either people wait for the bonus that they worked so hard for in 2018 and then move on to fresh pastures, or they miss the bonus, become disgruntled and look for new work.
These are the forces that ensure January and February are the busiest times of year in the job market and it is important to build allowances for both growth and attrition into the headcount plan for 2019.
With the above in mind, now is the best time to make a pre-emptive strike into the market. Here are the top five reasons:
Early bird benefits. Budgets for the year and hiring needs are known – forward thinking candidates have already registered with recruiters to get ahead of the game. There’s some top-class talent ready to be picked up and right now, there’s a better chance of hiring top performers or people that will stay and grow with the company, rather than having to quickly make a hiring decision to backfill someone leaving the organisation in the New Year rush
Talent approachability. Now is the time to engage with passive talent before the bonus season. You’ll have more time to sell your organisation and potential opportunities within your firm. This way, you’ll be front-of-mind when these candidates start their search and already past the first stage in the hiring process with them
Senior management presence. Generally, at this time of year, the major decision makers are still around at the office and ready to take on new hires – so there’s better access to the right people for the process to run quickly and smoothly
Attention to details. Creating a talent pipeline plan now and starting the hiring process to fill any gaps will reduce the rush to hire in the New Year and allow you to nurture the new talent early, as well as concentrate on filling diversity gaps in a low urgency environment
Brand ambassadors. Any candidates you build relationships with now will likely have a better overall experience from the low-pressure process and therefore share this positive experience with your brand with others, as well as return in the future if not hired now
Conversely, if you wait for the New Year, the sheer volume of people hitting the market in 2019, plus your own firm’s leavers, can make this period hugely competitive with offers and counter-offers, missed interviews and resource management issues. This makes strategic headcount planning problematic. If firms wait for staff to resign before they start looking, it will take far longer for them to fill the gap than those firms with a well-developed talent pipeline.
What’s the plan?
Over the next two to four weeks, companies should engage/partner with headhunters and recruiters to start externally pipelining talent and prepare for turnover, rather than react to it when it happens. Headhunters can:
Effectively help to represent your brand
Help reach out to passive candidates early
Help identify the right talent in the market earlier
Help manage the time to hire by having already engaged with talent ahead of possible attrition/turnover
Don’t get snowed under in January with your hiring needs. Contact us now to discuss your requirements, or what you think you might require, as 2019 dawns.
And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Ellwood Consulting!