A stabilized economy, coupled with sound corporate footing, will push employers to increase hiring to help boost short-term growth.

However, one strategic private company adviser says companies can also boost their bottom line – and retain their qualified workforce – by taking advantage of that improved economic climate and working to offer a more competitive total benefits package to current workers.

Nearly two thirds of private company leaders plan to hire new workers in the next 12 months, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ quarterly Trendsetter Barometer report.

“[Private companies] were in survival mode coming out of the recession, with much inward focus on getting a cost structure in order,” explains Ken Esch, a private company services partner at PwC. “Once they got that piece under control, they changed their revenue focus towards the growth agenda.”

This new push for more staff may require many HR and benefits managers to dust off the cobwebs on the recruitment process. But Esch says it may also be time to consider ways to incentivize existing employees, who are also acutely aware of better opportunities emerging in the labor market.

“Companies are expected to hire, so [the HR department] needs to gear up for an expected search for candidates and bring in qualified people in the door,” Esch explains. “Other people are hiring, so you better keep an eye on your workforce to make sure they are happy and that they continue to work for you.”

Also See: Benefits education yields recruitment and retention benefits

In the long term, a quarter of the CEOs surveyed say that their companies’ lack of qualified workers creates a strategic impediment to growth – yet a third say they plan to take no course of action and will simply maintain their current workforce levels. Esch says that companies can still succeed with the staff they have by ensuring competitive pay and benefits, as well as increased development for retention. 

“[Companies need to make sure employees] are not walking out the door, and they are looking at the types of compensation, benefits, time off and other strategies to keep the people that they have,” Esch advises. He adds that companies need to reach out to trade schools and community colleges to help create training and outreach efforts in order to help provide basic, necessary skills to their potential workforce.

Also See: Technology drives out traditional processes, hurts morale

Industry decision-makers who are hot to improve their corporate balance sheets more quickly are also interested in hiring sales and marketing and technology professionals, who can produce a more immediate financial impact.

“They are really looking for a return in the investment they are making in people,” Esch explains. “One way they are doing that is going out and hiring those sales and marketing professional to grow that top line in the short term.”

Also See: Are your new-grad hires prepared?

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