– by Ainsley Lawrence

Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in the way business, technology, and education intersect with the personal. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.




2020 proved just how quickly the nature of hiring and recruitment can change. For example, remote work offerings opened up all kinds of positions across geographical boundaries, then mass unemployment was followed quickly by a labor shortage.

For successful hiring and recruitment in this rapidly shifting environment, businesses need to change the game to find and retain top talent. Currently, businesses across industries are struggling to find the workers they need to fill their roles. Fortunately, by structuring an additional focus on workplace safety you can attract the talent you’re looking for.

Understand why safety is a top factor for candidates in the modern world and how it can give you a competitive edge in this new economy.

Safety is a top factor for candidates

In the presence of a global pandemic, it likely should not come as a surprise that workers are concerned with the safety and cleanliness of their respective workplaces. In fact, surveys have shown that for small businesses, health and safety rank as one of the top concerns of potential candidates.

This is increasingly the case because workers rightly do not want to put themselves or their loved ones at risk of catching COVID-19. Employees expect a workplace that allows them to maintain their own safety. Whether this means social distancing, disinfecting commonly used surfaces, or being supported with time off for illness, there are plenty of ways that workplaces can create safer environments.

In the meantime, food safety is also a top concern for consumers. With the majority of survey respondents citing food safety as a top-three global issue, the presence of consistent safety standards for businesses matters just as much to your workers as it does to your patrons. An environment with poor worker protections and hygiene could lose not only business but workers as well. Facing modern labor shortages, these are the last things your business needs.

That said, workplace hazard communication should be a top priority for any company. From the labeling and signage to the points of contact your workers have with the public, methods must be in place for communicating risk factors across a workplace. This communication should occur at the job advertisement level, as well, with businesses showcasing what they are doing to secure a safe and clean environment in which employee health and wellness is prioritized.

After all, no one wants to work in a place that puts their health at risk — not when they have any other options. With the right approach to worker safety, you can create a competitive edge over other firms looking to hire. As a result, you’ll attract the best and brightest talent.

Greater safety offers a competitive edge

Compared to February of 2020, America is down 8.2 million jobs. However, many businesses still have an extremely hard time finding workers. This is likely due to a combination of factors keeping workers out of the job market.

First, there are the childcare concerns that drove thousands of people out of the job market during the beginnings of the pandemic. With school and daycare shutdowns, it became more logical for many parents to simply put their working life on hold to take care of their families. Though these circumstances are changing, significant reopenings and wage increases have not balanced out to make the shift ideal for everyone.

Then there’s the added element of unemployment benefits. Bank of America research indicates that these benefits — a $300 addition to monthly unemployment insurance payments — appear to be keeping some from looking for work. However, this only seems to draw away those that made under $32,000 per year before the pandemic.

Finally, there are the health and safety issues that abound in the modern workforce. For any public-facing job especially, the added risk of a pandemic to existing concerns makes for a dire picture. This is one of the primary concerns cited by many who aren’t returning to the foodservice industry in particular. Facing what are often lower-wage positions without benefits like sick pay, these workers look for additional incentives to make returning to the job worth the risk.

For employers, this makes health and safety a vital aspect of hiring and recruiting. Industries like manufacturing have been hard hit by pandemic concerns on top of the traditional safety issues that come with handling machinery and raw materials. Without the proper safety equipment, practices, and training, you run the risk of exposing workers to all kinds of occupational hazards.

But with an approach to recruiting that places worker safety at the top of its priorities, you can better attract the talent you want.

Safety can secure workers during a labor shortage

Securing workers even during a labor shortage doesn’t have to be difficult. By readjusting your labor processes to focus on worker safety, you can better assuage the concerns of a workforce that is constantly reminded of the health risks it faces on the job.

Your hiring and recruiting efforts need to change to accommodate these concerns. Detail the health and safety benefits you offer, how you go about protecting your employees, and the steps you’ve taken to reduce pandemic exposure and the risk of accidents. Stay interviews are just one method in your toolkit for finding and solving any safety issues that may occur.

Then, make use of services like those offered by American Recruiters for finding candidates and employers who fit your needs. With a priority on safety, you’ll have a competitive edge over others, even if your business can’t afford to raise wages above the competition. The right recruitment service can make that clear to prospective candidates.

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