Let’s continue to talk about the talent supply chain.
First and most important: If you are in need of temporary employment services, please see our NASPO ValuePoint cooperative contract here.
Hiring is still a very hot topic, so we thought we would provide another installment to follow the August NASPO Pulse Blog. The pandemic effects continue to confront old normalcy as the challenges consistently shift and morph. Job turnover and vacancies have persisted leaving businesses scrambling to hire employees to stay in operation. In the last post, we cited that there were 4.1 million job quits in April 2021. That rate has continued. In August there was nearly 4.3 million job quits. Now, instead of PPE, the workforce is in short supply and in high demand.
Since the blog in August, we’ve talked with CPOs about their experiences with hiring issues in general, and also, the unique challenges their states are facing. On the bright side, we’ve heard about the innovations and positive experiences that need highlighting as well.
Let’s Start with the Challenges
State hiring processes, such as civil service commissions, unions, and statutes, can hinder the time it takes to hire someone. If you scope out a talented candidate, chances are they are being courted by many others. By the time you check all the bureaucratic boxes to get them hired, that person has accepted another position. These inefficient processes become even more of a roadblock when the hiring needs to be dynamic and agile to compete with new private sector hiring innovation.
Hiring restrictions have obstructed states from adapting to the competition. The private sector has expanded their candidate pool by embracing remote work. No longer do prospective hires need to be in a drivable distance to the company’s office. They can be anywhere. They can attract the best talent without geographic boundaries. Most states, on the other hand, must comply with statutes that include border restrictions. They cannot seek talent that resides outside their state. The disadvantages are a double-edged sword, states cannot search broader pools for talent, and current employees can be pursued by the private sector offering them full time remote without having to relocate. Though many have made remote work possible through a hybrid model, some employees have quit because it’s not full remote–the two days that they have to report to the office is deal breaker. If they find another opportunity that is full 5 days remote, then they jump at it.
The private sector is much more agile when it comes to wage mobility and has quickly reacted to the job market demands for higher compensation. The public sector is lagging behind when it comes to competing and the speed at which they respond to higher wage levels. We will see how the public sector will use the American Rescue Plan funds to expand budgets and keep pace with the private sector wage scale.
Now to the Positives
Remote work is allowed by most states. As mentioned, even with some of the challenges that hybrid models bring, procurement offices’ conversion to remote work is a huge step forward. The planning and execution it took to establish a remote model still in compliance with state procurement laws should not be overlooked. CPOs continue to work tirelessly to adapt their procedures and grant more flexibility.
Other efforts that procurement offices are doing include branding and rebranding to capture a new generation graduating into the workforce. An important factor of what they are looking for in a career is to find an employer that is concerned about social issues and positively affecting those around them. Branding the profession as a place where you can make a difference is key. There is also a push to highlight public employee benefits. Efforts to retain those talented employees are also being focused on. New flexibility and work/life balance options can keep good talent from wanting to leave.
Procurement offices have put in place staff augmentation and short-term service contracts and have analyzed amendments to current contracts to deal with the pandemic effects of understaffing. More information on the NASPO ValuePoint cooperative contracts for temporary staffing can be found here.
The resilience of the CPOs during this has been nothing short of incredible. We thank our procurement leaders for their tireless efforts!