Challenges Faced in Talent Acquisition, with Art Boulay

Episode 22:

Challenges faced in talent acquisition? The global pandemic has made them even more difficult to overcome, but expert Art Boulay is here to offer advice. Hear insights about:

  • How the outbreak of the global pandemic has created new and unique challenges faced in talent acquisition that all agency owners are being forced to deal with
  • Why so many employees are now wanting to work from home, change careers or go back to school
  • Why, prior to the pandemic, it took an average of 90 days to fill a position, and how since the pandemic that time frame has shifted to 4-6 months
  • Why salary expectations have gone up, and why agencies must adapt to this fact along with work-from-home expectations
  • Why now is the right time to take a hard look at your company culture, the speed of your hiring process, and your interviewing and screening process
  • How Art helps agency owners address their blind spots and recognize weaknesses within their teams
  • Why expediency and focus are crucial for finding the right employees and offering them a position before someone else does
  • What steps you can take to improve your talent retention, and why open communication is crucial for making your team feel valued
  • Why genuine connections are crucial, especially during and after the pandemic, and why remote tools like Zoom can be speed bumps for relationship-building
  • How to conduct a great and informative exit interview that ensures you’re getting value from your exiting employee’s feedback

Challenges Faced in Talent Acquisition

The media has recently been devoting a lot of time to the challenges of this unprecedented job market. Employees have greater salary expectations, increasingly want to continue working from home post-lockdown, and are leaving their positions in greater numbers than ever before. This is a universal issue for agency owners who are often desperately competing with each other for talented candidates.

In this week’s episode of the Progressive Agency podcast, expert Art Boulay from Strategic Talent Management and I discuss these common but difficult hiring and retention challenges, and Art shares valuable wisdom on how to strengthen your relationships with your team members to ensure that they feel valued, how to be flexible in meeting their expectations, and how to speed up and improve your hiring and onboarding processes.

The Pandemic: Magnifying the Challenges Faced in Talent Acquisition

Many of the trends we’re seeing today were already beginning, even before the outbreak of Covid-19. However, as we collectively scrambled to begin working remotely during lockdown, these trends were quickened, for a number of reasons.

Many employees have been hesitant to return to working in an office, due to concerns about health safety as well as having enjoyed greater flexibility and freedom during work-from-home. Many people during the pandemic found that they appreciated not having to commute to the office and being able to be home with their families during lockdown, and they are reluctant to give those things up as we begin to return to our workplaces.

Likewise, employees’ salary expectations have climbed over the pandemic. During our conversation, Art said it’s important to recognize these expectations and to be flexible about meeting them. After all, if you’re forcing your team to work in the office and aren’t offering them a salary increase, your competitor begins to look more appealing.

Also, many employees are choosing to leave their careers right now. Perhaps they have experienced the unexpected during the pandemic, or perhaps they are reevaluating their career goals. Some are choosing to go back to school or shift gears altogether. Art says it’s important to remember that this isn’t your fault… every business is having to deal with these same challenges faced in talent acquisition and retention.

What Can Be Done

As far as retention goes, Art says flexibility will certainly help. But it’s also important to put in the time and effort to develop real relationships with the members of your team. Employees want to feel valued and appreciated, so taking the time to meet with them and periodically check in is key.

If a team member does decide to leave, an exit interview can be a useful way of finding out what has prompted the change. Perhaps something in their life circumstances has changed, or perhaps it’s something to do with the role itself. Either way, be open to the feedback. What you learn can help you adapt your company’s culture and your expectations.

As far as hiring, Art says it’s important to act swiftly. Identify areas where your hiring and onboarding processes could be accelerated or streamlined. With so many agencies competing for candidates, how quickly you can pull the trigger can often mean the difference. Be very clear and intentional about the vacant role and interview a few high-quality candidates quickly.

Challenges Faced in Talent Acquisition

How to Connect with Art Boulay:

Additional Resources:

About Art Boulay:

Art Boulay, MBA, is CEO of Strategic Talent Management, a consulting firm he co-founded based in Maine with clients all over the US. Like you, he recognizes that organizations spend lots of money solving problems caused by a lack of soft skills among their leaders, managers, employees and new hires. He is an expert in solving those people challenges.

Art brings practical ideas, humor and common sense solutions to each assignment. He specializes in organizational planning, succession & leadership, and is a certified behavioral and leadership coach. He is an expert in applying assessment tools to solve real-world challenges in coaching & development, hiring, promotion and recruitment.

Art has lived in Maine most of his life and enjoys hiking and camping in the beautiful north woods of his home state. He currently makes his home in Brunswick, Maine with his wife Lori.