By Lukas Vanterpool, founder and co-owner of The Sterling Choice
The chilled food sector in the U.S. is currently experiencing significant growth. A recent industry analysis placed the value of the U.S. frozen food market at $55.80 billion in 2021, and it’s predicted to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7% by 2023, as consumers look for convenient and diverse meal options that require little or no preparation to fuel their busy lives.
As a hiring manager in this competitive and rapidly growing market that currently has over 95,508 employees, it is essential to attract and recruit the best candidates that will help your company thrive and drive its long-term success.
Companies with robust talent acquisition strategies consistently outperform their competitors, leading to higher employee engagement and retention rates. As much as a good hire can be positive for your business, a bad hire can cost you thousands. According to Hirehive.com, just over 40% of businesses say that the cost of a bad hire is around $25,000, and 1 in 4 companies estimate this loss to be higher, at over $50,000. Although these figures seem high, when you think about it, the cost of a bad hire isn’t just salary, but the expenses associated with training new starters, the money and time spent recruiting the bad hire (and then again when they don’t fit), as well as the impact on an organization’s reputation and productivity.
So, how can you ensure you hire the best talent?
1. Your organization needs to have a clear purpose that can be bought into
Clearly defining your organization’s purpose is crucial for attracting top talent. Recent Gartner research revealed that employees are more engaged and committed when they personally align with an organization’s purpose. The research showed that “people seek purpose in their lives — and that includes work. The more an employer limits those things that create this sense of purpose, the less likely employees will stay.”
That’s why it’s important to articulate your company’s mission, values, and vision in a compelling manner to attract candidates who resonate with and are passionate about your purpose-driven culture.
2. Be very clear about the type of person you want to hire
When putting out feelers for a new hire, it’s crucial to go beyond traditional job descriptions and create ideal candidate personas based on values, demographics, behaviors, and other attributes that align with your team and business mission.
Spend time developing a deep understanding of the skills, experiences, and qualities that would make a candidate successful in your organization. This approach ensures that you attract individuals who not only possess the necessary qualifications but also fit seamlessly into your organizational culture and contribute to its long-term success.
3. You are NOT a family, but you need to have an open, safe culture
You might have heard businesses say, “our team is like our family.” Setting this ideal for your company culture can have more negative impacts than positive ones. David Burkus states that bringing the concept of family to a business can cause “work-life boundaries to get blurred.” He also states this family mentality can “lead to committed employees being taken advantage of” and cause “departing employees to get labelled as un-loyal.”
You’re not building a family, you’re building a business. It is crucial to focus on cultivating an open and safe culture. Emphasize the value of professional and honest communication, trust, support, and a culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement.
4. Prioritize learning, developing, and creating opportunity
While competitive compensation and rewards are important, candidates also seek clear and promoted career paths within an organization. Showcase your commitment to providing opportunities for learning, professional development, and career advancement. Outline the growth prospects available to employees and demonstrate how your organization invests in their ongoing skill development and career progression.
Here is where it is important to walk the talk. When the recruitment process starts, a lot of companies make promises about career growth, and once a candidate starts in the position, these promises might fall by the wayside. Be sure to fulfill the promises that you make to retain the top talent that you worked so hard to recruit.
5. Be better employers than your competitors
Conduct thorough competitor research to understand what other companies in the market are offering their employees. By knowing your competition, you can position your organization as an employer of choice. Highlight your unique selling points, employee benefits, workplace culture, work-life balance initiatives, and opportunities for recognition and growth. It’s crucial to craft an employer brand that stands out and appeals to top candidates seeking an exceptional employee experience.
You should aim to build a culture, mission and vision that all sell your company to potential employees. Build a culture employees want to be a part of, and you’ll attract great talent each time you hire.
6. Its 2023 – be inclusive
Inclusivity and diversity hiring strategies are essential considerations in today’s workplace. Develop an inclusive hiring process that values diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds.
Actively promote diversity and inclusion initiatives within your organization and demonstrate a commitment to building a workforce that reflects the communities you serve and embraces diversity as a catalyst for innovation and creativity, recognizing that a diverse team brings different perspectives and strengthens decision-making processes.
7. Tell your story consistently
Recruitment is not just about filling vacancies; it is a strategic marketing exercise. Proactively share your brand story to build an authentic employer brand that resonates with top talent.
You should consistently be communicating your company culture, values, success stories, and employee experiences through various channels such as your website, social media, and industry events. By highlighting your organization’s unique attributes and showcasing your commitment to employee growth and development, you can attract high-caliber candidates who align with your vision. When great candidates come across your brand’s story and it resonates with them, they will submit their CV’s even when you’re not hiring, so you can build a database of interested candidates to add to your pipeline, saving on future recruitment costs.
As the U.S. chilled food sector undergoes transformation and growth, attracting exceptional talent is crucial for businesses to overcome challenges, foster innovation, and achieve long-term success. By implementing these seven effective hiring strategies, hiring managers can position their organizations as leaders in the industry, and attract top candidates who will contribute to their ongoing evolution and drive sustained growth.
Lukas Vanterpool is founder and co-owner of The Sterling Choice, a recruitment firm specializing in the food, engineering, and FMCG industries across the UK and US. He is currently on a mission to accelerate the growth of the “chilled” food industry across the US by challenging how companies approach recruitment.