The New HR Reality: Becoming Master Marketers

August 9, 2018

The New HR Reality: Becoming Master Marketers

Right now, we are living in a skills revolution—that’s to say that new skills are emerging as fast as others become obsolete. At the same time, 46 percent of U.S. employers report difficulty filling jobs when unemployment is low.

New jobs are being added and employers report double-digit hiring outlooks across the country, including all four regions and all 13 sectors of the economy in Q3 2018.

The increasing mismatch between talent supply and job demand, coupled with technology changing the way work gets done, has brought consumerism into the world of work. Employees today are like consumers of work, the same way they are consumers in the marketplace—those with in-demand skills are choosing when, where, and how they work.

Considering that shift, employers need to adapt and market themselves in a new way to attract the talent of today and tomorrow.


1. If you can’t find skills, build them.

With growing skills shortages, we need to be smarter than ever about upskilling. The reality is some markets won’t have the people to meet hiring demand unless we become better at training. The more targeted you can be about which skills you need today and tomorrow, the better.

Case Study: Veterans share many relevant, adjacent skills that can easily be adapted, developed and applied to high-tech manufacturing jobs. Veterans also have strong learnability—the desire and ability to upskill.
In partnership with Rockwell Automation, we launched a fast-track 12-week training program, the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing—that combined classroom learning with hands-on lab experience and career coaching with a heavy focus on soft skills. The first class graduated in November 2017; all graduates secured job offers from top employers; and many doubled or even tripled their salaries. We’ve committed to upskilling 1,000 veterans per year.

The same concept is applicable to all industries from transport and trade to manufacturing and sales. Fast-track, experiential training can create the talent you need today and build a pipeline for tomorrow.


2. Cultivate communities of talent.

What people want from work is changing. Individuals are working longer, learning more, and seeking a better balance between work and home. More and more skilled workers are open to NextGen Work—part-time, contingent, contract, freelance, or temporary. Skills and new ways of working will provide career security, opportunity for growth, and prosperity for individuals and businesses alike.

With these changing dynamics and labor-market conditions, we have the opportunity to cultivate communities of workers inside and outside of our companies. When the need is to complement existing skills, it's time to borrow talent including contractors or temporary workers, so you can fill gaps for short-term projects or quickly find external expertise.

Case Study: One of our clients in South Dakota was struggling to fill a number of 40-hour-per-week manufacturing roles. They couldn’t find people who wanted full-time work, yet we kept meeting college students who were interested in part-time, 20-hour-per-week roles. After conducting market intelligence research, we proposed to the company that they divide the 40-hour role in half. We were able to fill the open positions and meet demand. 

As hiring managers, now is the time to flex and tap talent in whatever form it’s available.


3. Buy talent with creative benefits.

Candidates are consumers, and HR must work hard to attract workers with a strong employee value proposition, clear purpose, and attractive culture. We’re seeing companies across all industries from software developers to manufacturers take new approaches to attract and retain talent through a wide range of incentives such as waffle Wednesdays, uniform cleaning, unlimited PTO, and the revival of pensions.

Case Study: A commercial printing firm in Indiana drastically increased their retention by offering employees free lunch, popcorn, and soda every day. Since they started free lunch, they have not had to use any outside resources to staff their business.

Less turnover in the general production staff has freed up HR to spend more time focusing on recruiting higher-level talent for roles still difficult to fill and that require more experience.

In the digital age, employment will rely heavily on continual skills development, as even the most traditional roles are augmented with new technology. We need to be builders of talent, rather than consumers of work, to create a workforce with the skills companies and individuals need to thrive today and tomorrow.

The Authors: 

Becky Frankiewicz is President of ManpowerGroup North America. Before joining ManpowerGroup, she led one of PepsiCo’s largest subsidiaries, Quaker Foods North America where she was responsible for the $2.6B business. She was also named by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in the industry, anticipating and adapting to fast changing consumer demands. Prior to Quaker Foods, Frankiewicz held a variety of senior leadership roles at PepsiCo across the portfolio of brands, and before PepsiCo, she worked in strategic consulting with Deloitte and Andersen Consulting.