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posted: 10/22/2018 1:00 AM

Workforce planning for the future — are you ready?

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You've seen the headlines and probably experienced the pain. Hiring is getting tougher. Job candidates can take their pick of employers, and companies need to adapt to survive.

Candidates want to move through the recruitment process faster, start off on the right foot in an organization, and receive instant feedback on how they are doing. Employers who recognize these trends understand that they need to address this current reality to retain top talent, and they are focusing on three main areas.

Technology

Having effective technology solutions to support your hiring and staffing objectives gives you a competitive advantage to elevate your recruiting game, whether that is an updated applicant tracking system (ATS), text recruiting, or video interviewing.

The goal is to make the process -- and experience -- easier and faster for the candidate. The challenge is not to get too high-tech at the expense of high-touch. Candidates want to feel like they are more than just a number. Face-to-face conversations are still the best way for candidates to understand the personalities and culture of the organization they are considering joining.

Onboarding

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's why it's critical to connect a positive candidate experience with a great new hire experience.

We all can relate at some point in our careers to starting a new job with a sink-or-swim approach.

New hires are deserving of more. They have choices when it comes to employment so you want to ensure they feel they made a good decision to join your company.

According to Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen's book Successful Onboarding, almost a third of employees employed in their current job for less than six months are already job searching to see if there is something better out there.

That is a wake-up call to any employer.

Now is the time to revamp your onboarding practices to ensure new hires have a clear understanding of the mission and culture, make connections with other employees, and are given the time and tools to fully succeed in their job.

Feedback

While performance management is a chore, it has to get done. The answer isn't to stop doing it, but rather to find out how to do it differently or better. Feedback is important and the trend is toward giving more feedback, not less. A growing number of employers are starting to rely on real-time, in-the-moment conversations to foster better communication about employee performance and development.

Managers play a key role in this process and should be empowered to participate in goal-setting, coaching, and providing continuous feedback.

Workforce planning has changed drastically in the last five years. It's imperative to remain on the cutting edge of hiring trends if you want to attract and keep qualified candidates. Having your technology in place, making new employees feel welcome and engaged, and staying on top of employee feedback are a few ways to help you win the talent war.

• Angela Fischer is director, conferences and events at MRA -- The Management Association. Follow MRA on LinkedIn: tinyurl.com/MRAonLinkedIn, Facebook: facebook.com/MRAmeansHR, or Twitter: @MRA_HR_Pros.