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A fast food service worker and text reading "How to Retain Employees: Lessons From Top Franchises"

How to Retain Employees: Lessons From Top Franchises

How to Retain Employees: Lessons From Top Franchises 1016 528 Sprockets

It can cost $5,864 every time an employee leaves your company, according to a study by The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University. Plus, you must consider the “hidden” costs of turnover, like lost productivity, reduced team morale, and worse customer service. It’s time to turn the tides on turnover and learn how to retain employees. And, there’s no better way to discover employee retention strategies than by looking at some of the top franchises.

Explore a few options below or simply do what many successful franchise owners and operators have done to improve employee retention: Use Sprockets. Our AI-powered platform is proven to reduce costly turnover by revealing which applicants are the most likely to succeed and stay long-term.

Learn How to Retain Employees

McDonald’s

This fast-food giant has the solution to your hunger, and they believe they’ve found an answer for improving employee retention as well. In recent years, McDonald’s has increased wages and offered more enticing employee benefits. Crew members can enjoy hourly pay that’s slightly above minimum wage as well as paid vacation and a tuition assistance program. The franchise plans to raise overall wages to an average of $15 per hour by 2024. What makes these incentives particularly compelling is that they are offered to all workers — both part-time and full-time employees.

Chick-fil-A

If we look at Chick-fil-A’s business model, you’ll find a 60-year-old initiative to retain high-quality employees by creating and maintaining positive workplace cultures. It all starts with a focus on recruiting applicants who are the right fit for Chick-fil-A’s culture. Hiring managers look for matching traits in the three C’s: character, competency, and chemistry. Participation in Chick-fil-A’s company culture also goes beyond the front-line workers. Leaders must value open communication with all team members, and every guest should feel as if they are part of the positive environment at each location.

ComForCare

High employee turnover is not only a concern for QSR franchises. The problem extends to the home health care field as well. In fact, Home Care Pulse reported that caregiver turnover hit an all-time high of 82% in 2018. Luckily, some top franchises and business owners have implemented strategies to tackle their turnover rates. One example includes Mark Turnbull of ComForCare, who has increased training opportunities, consistently monitors retention rates, conducts exit interviews, and tries to match caregivers with patients to create the best possible relationships and work environments.

Top Franchise Brands Trust Sprockets to Improve Retention

Cellphones with fit scores to help with recruiting employeesAll of these three franchise brands (and many more) trust Sprockets’ AI-powered platform to improve employee retention by an average of 43%. Our sophisticated solution augments sourcing efforts and reveals which applicants are the ideal fit for your business — before you even interview them. It finds the common thread between your top performers and potential hires, enabling you to make better hiring decisions and reduce costly turnover.

Schedule a free demo today to improve employee retention like these franchise brands have done!

Restaurant workers and text reading "How to Create an Effective Employee Engagement Plan"

Here’s How to Create an Effective Employee Engagement Plan

Here’s How to Create an Effective Employee Engagement Plan 1016 528 Sprockets

It might seem daunting to develop a new employee engagement plan from scratch, but it’s a crucial step to achieving success with any business. The benefits, alone, should motivate you to get together with your leadership team and brainstorm some ideas. Employees who feel more connected with their team members and the workplace can be healthier, happier, and more productive!

While it’s challenging to develop a custom employee engagement plan for your business, it makes a huge difference when you start with the right workers. Sprockets helps you build teams that mesh and work well together by revealing the common thread between top employees and incoming applicants. Schedule a demo today!

What Is Employee Engagement?

Simply put, employee engagement refers to the level of dedication and commitment that someone feels in relation to their workplace. There are various strategies to increase employee engagement among team members, all of which you should consider when creating your plan. After all, every business owner wants workers who sincerely care about their work and contribute their fair share of effort toward achieving company goals.

A Guide to Developing an Employee Engagement Plan

Recruitment

First of all, ensure that you highlight the company’s mission and core values in job postings that follow best practices for recruitment. By clearly outlining the type of environment a future employee would experience, you will attract more like-minded people to apply. Plus, it weeds out those who will not be a good fit – before it’s too late.

Example: Sprockets is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that values innovation, sustainability, and individual growth. Our employees are driven by new ideas, are compassionate, and challenge traditional values to bring about positive change.

Onboarding

Outlining the onboarding process, beyond filling out paperwork and going over where to find the fire exits, is crucial to adding a new employee to an established team.

Example: New marketing employees have weekly meetings with their manager to discuss personal development opportunities and any questions, comments, or concerns with workload or environment. During the first week of employment, the marketing team will go out to lunch with the new employee. The marketing team will have quarterly outings to encourage camaraderie and transparency between departments.

Goal Setting

Outlining goals for a position gives an employee a sense of purpose. Tying their goals directly to the company’s goals and values is a way to effectively display the impact of their work and why they are essential to the company.

Example: The marketing coordinator is responsible for creating content and emails to fuel the sales team with leads. With a company goal of 100 new customers in Q2, the marketing team will need to generate 1,000 leads.

Communication From Leadership

Planning quarterly staff meetings with employees from every department and level is an excellent way to show transparency and build engagement. When employees see the bigger picture outside of their daily tasks, it gives them a greater sense of purpose.

Example: You’re invited to our quarterly meeting! We will share an overview of our company goals and accomplishments for the past quarter as well as introduce plans for the upcoming quarter.

Recognition Programs

Employee recognition can significantly increase employee engagement. From giving someone a shout-out to submitting a nomination for a company-wide meeting, it always helps to recognize hard work. Employees will return the favor with even more great work and motivation.

Example: We will recognize one or more hard-working employees at each weekly meeting for their contribution. In the monthly newsletter, directors from each department will submit the name of an employee who has gone above and beyond in order to reach goals. Employees also get the opportunity to nominate their coworkers for recognition in one of three categories: innovation, team building, or going above and beyond. Winners will receive $50 gift cards.

Career Growth and Development

Whether someone has been with the company for 15 years or recently joined right out of college, all employees can benefit from personal development in the workplace. While not everyone will want to partake, those who do will appreciate it and likely become more engaged. Consider these strategies to improve employee engagement and reduce employee turnover:

  • Lunch-and-learns with a relevant speaker for specific departments
  • One-on-one coaching for new tools and technology
  • Matching new workers with an established employee as a go-to mentor
  • Setting aside time to discuss specific skills they’d like to learn

Performance Reviews

Did you know that 43% of highly engaged employees get feedback on their work once or more per week? Receiving feedback on work instills a sense of trust in employees. It shows that their work is being reviewed and appreciated. The other significant factor here is that engagement drops after an employee’s first year at an organization. By having set performance reviews, employees realize that leaders are still paying attention to their work.

Example: Schedule weekly check-ins and annual performance reviews. (An annual review should not be the first time that an employee hears a piece of feedback.)

Build the Best Team From the Start

Cellphones with fit scores to help with recruiting employeesIt’s crucial to hire applicants who will mesh well, succeed, and stay long-term, ultimately making it much easier to maintain high employee engagement. It makes an immense difference in workplace culture, too.

That’s where Sprockets comes into play. Our AI-powered solution creates a unique success profile for your business based on the mental makeup of your best employees. Then, incoming applicants are matched against this benchmark to ensure you hire the best candidates every time with pinpoint precision. (The average Sprockets user reduces costly annual employee turnover by 22%!)

Schedule a brief demo today to improve employee retention and engagement.

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Can Employers Require the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Can Employers Require the COVID-19 Vaccine? 1016 528 Sprockets

It’s been on the minds of workers, job seekers, and business owners since vaccines became available: Can employers require a COVID-19 vaccine for their employees? While about half of the adult population in the U.S. has received at least one dose, several people have not been vaccinated due to medical reasons, personal preference, religion, or lack of availability.

Still, some U.S. employers have begun developing COVID-19 vaccination policies in line with information from the FDA, CDC, EEOC, and other regulatory bodies. Let’s take a shot at explaining everything you need to know about this complex situation.

What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

EEOC Guidelines

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers can require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees entering the workplace. It does not explicitly forbid mandatory vaccination programs.

Nevertheless, employers must accommodate employees with exemption requests due to religious beliefs or medical reasons. This may include wearing a mask, social distancing, or working from home.

FAQ: Can the CDC Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations for Employees?

As an arm of the federal government, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not mandate vaccinations or keep track of personal vaccination data. States, local governments, and employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccination programs, but only if it’s permissible under state and other applicable laws.

Employee Vaccination Incentives

Employers, corporations, and states are offering incentives to increase vaccination rates that include lottery tickets, passes to amusement parks, and even cash. These incentives must be limited in scope under the EEOC guidelines. It warns that “very large incentives” could make employees feel too pressured to reveal their protected medical data. 

Incentives must also comply with the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) as well as with federal, state, and local laws. Under the GINA, employers are not allowed to provide incentives to employees for convincing unvaccinated coworkers to get the shot.

Risks of Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Be aware that employers may be held responsible for workers’ compensation claims if subsequent injuries and illnesses are found to be related to the shots. This is where the situation becomes more complicated.

Employers who implement mandatory vaccination policies must consider that adverse reactions, requiring employees to seek medical intervention or rendering them unable to work, may be recorded on the OSHA logs if the illness or injury is related to the vaccine.

According to Brent Clark, a lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw, “If I’m going to go to the step of mandating the vaccine, then I’m going to own the reasonably foreseeable consequences that individuals may suffer or may result from that vaccination.”

Advice for Business Owners

Carefully assess the risk-to-reward ratio of implementing a mandatory vaccination program. Depending on your business, satisfying the compliance requirements may be more trouble than it’s worth. If you implement a requirement, make sure you inform staff about the process and explain how employees can submit requests for reasonable accommodations/exemptions for religious and medical reasons.

Finally, stay informed with the most up-to-date information. Regulatory agency guidance can change by the day!

Are You an Employer Struggling With Staffing Levels?

Someone on a laptop screening high quality candidatesIf so, Sprockets can help you source, screen, and select the ideal applicants. Our AI-powered solution reveals who shares characteristics with your top-performing employees, empowering you to make better hiring decisions and improve employee retention. The platform features free job posting ($400 value), tax-credit evaluation, and even virtual recruiters who send immediate alerts when they find an excellent candidate.

Schedule a brief demo now to see how Sprockets helps you maintain optimal staffing levels!

A man putting a sign on a door and text reading "Which States Will Return to Work Soonest After COVID-19?"

Which States Will Return to Work Soonest After COVID-19?

Which States Will Return to Work Soonest After COVID-19? 1016 528 Sprockets

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in thousands of employees leaving the workforce via layoffs, furloughs, or resignations due to health concerns. Now, we are faced with a labor crisis that has people wondering, “Which states will return to work soonest after COVID-19?”

It’s a valid concern as more states begin to open back up to travel and tourism, encouraging a return to the “norm.” However, how can businesses keep up with consumer demand when it’s such a struggle to stabilize and maintain optimal staffing levels? Let’s examine which states are likely to see employment rise and explain what employers can do to get back to their norm.

Evaluating Which States Will Return to Work Soonest After COVID-19

Industries and Occupations Hit Hardest by the Pandemic

First, it’s important to take note of which industries COVID-19 impacted the most. After all, certain states rely more heavily on specific industries than others.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. reached a shocking 14.7% in April 2020, with an estimated 20.5 million jobs lost. Here are the eight occupational fields that saw the most significant drops in employment:

  1. Leisure and Hospitality
  2. Mining/Oil/Gas
  3. Travel and Transportation
  4. Construction
  5. Entertainment
  6. Laundry
  7. Self-Employment
  8. Manufacturing

States With the Highest Unemployment Rates

Now, fast forward to mid-2021 with a fresh look at unemployment rates by state, and we can gain even more insight into the effects of COVID-19. These are the 10 states with the highest rates of unemployment as of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  1. Hawaii: 8.5%
  2. California: 8.3%
  3. New York: 8.2%
  4. New Mexico: 8.2%
  5. Connecticut: 8.1%
  6. Nevada: 8.0 %
  7. New Jersey: 7.5%
  8. District of Columbia: 7.5%
  9. Pennsylvania: 7.4%
  10. Louisiana: 7.3%

States Bouncing Back the Quickest

So, while unemployment rates have improved since being at a country-wide average of 14.7% in April 2020, there is still a long way to go before we return to the pre-pandemic average of 3.5%. However, with the rise in vaccination rates, reduction of unemployment benefits, and introduction of return-to-work incentives, some states have begun to bounce back.

WalletHub recently released findings on which states are making the biggest gains by comparing unemployment metrics from various dates relevant to the pandemic. Here are the top 10:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Utah
  3. Nebraska
  4. Vermont
  5. Idaho
  6. Kansas
  7. Montana
  8. Alabama
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Iowa

Hire and Retain the Best Workers

Two people shaking hands during an interviewThe country is on its way back to pre-pandemic norms in terms of employment rates, and Sprockets is doing what we do best to help get businesses back on track. Our AI-powered platform empowers owners and operators to find the ideal new hires. Plus, it augments sourcing with free job posting ($400+ value) and virtual recruiters that send immediate alerts when they discover candidates who would be excellent fits for their teams.

It’s not magic — it’s logic. Schedule a demo today to see how Sprockets reveals shared characteristics among top-performing employees and incoming applicants to improve retention!

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The 10 Highest Unemployment Rates by State

The 10 Highest Unemployment Rates by State 1016 528 Sprockets

Studying the unemployment rate by state midway through 2021 reveals which parts of the country are poised for economic recovery in a post-pandemic era. This can prove beneficial to both job seekers and business owners, especially while we’re in the midst of a labor crisis. The following list consists of states with the highest unemployment rates in America, according to April 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State-by-State Unemployment Rate

1. Hawaii 8.5%

Even though Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate of any U.S. state in April 2021 at 8.5%, it was a considerable decline from the previous September when the figure spiked to 15%. Chief Economist Eugene Tan of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism predicts the state will return to normal unemployment levels by November 2021. The state economy relies heavily on its tourism industry, which is expected to recover during the summer.

2. California 8.3%

The Golden State’s reopening for business on June 15 is expected to mark the beginning of a speedy recovery. Over 2.7 million jobs were lost in the state between March and April 2020. By the following April, 1.58 million Californians were still unemployed. Although the state has 11.8% of America’s workforce, it accounts for over 14% of jobless claims in the nation.

3. New York (8.2%)

New York state lost over 2 million jobs during the pandemic, but jobs are steadily returning in 2021. However, unemployment remains exceptionally high in New York City at over 11%. The worst period of joblessness, though, for the nation’s most populated city, was in 2020 at 15.5%. Tourism and hospitality were the industries most impacted by shutdowns.

4. New Mexico (8.2%)

One key reason why COVID-19 shutdowns have drastically affected New Mexico is that the state doesn’t have a high percentage of large corporations that employ thousands of workers. However, since the state has a relatively small and sparse population, only 78,000 residents were unemployed in April 2021. Some officials believe the state’s unemployment benefits are so comfortable that many people don’t want to return to work.

5. Connecticut (8.1%)

As far as job declines in the first half of 2021, Connecticut has suffered the worst, losing 9.7 percent of its workforce from February through April. That equates to a loss of about 188,000 jobs in a state that has had a minimal drop in its unemployment rate since the pandemic began. Overall, Connecticut’s workforce slid from 1.9 million to 1.6 million people over the past year.

6. Nevada (8.0%)

Since Nevada is a large state with a small population, its high unemployment rate is somewhat of a mirage driven by thousands of lost jobs in Las Vegas, the state’s only major metropolitan area. The gambling destination had an unemployment rate of nearly 12% in November 2020, while the state’s overall jobless rate stood at 6.8% by the end of the year. At that point, 1.35 million of the state’s 1.48 million workers had jobs. Potential areas for growth areas that will help the states’ recovery process are mining, logging, business services, manufacturing, and construction.

7. New Jersey (7.5%)

Similar to other states with popular tourist attractions, New Jersey has been hit hard by travel shutdowns, particularly in the hospitality industry. Traditionally, it’s been a commuter state as well, with many residents crossing the state line to work in New York City. New Jersey’s beaches and casinos usually attract heavy tourism in the summer, which will be a key indicator this year for the state’s turnaround. Prior to the pandemic, the Garden State had an unemployment rate of 3.2%, while the national figure was 3.7%.

8. Pennsylvania (7.4%)

One of Pennsylvania’s main problems with unemployment is that many small businesses, including restaurants, can’t find workers to fill jobs. Employers believe the extra $300 per week federal pandemic benefits have slowed down unemployed people’s ambitions to return to work, resulting in a massive labor shortage. Consequently, business leaders will likely put pressure on lawmakers to end the moratorium in which individuals must prove they are looking for work to receive unemployment compensation.

9. Louisiana (7.3%)

Louisiana is trying to lower its high jobless rate by encouraging people to get back to work and discontinuing federal handouts. While 25 Republican governors in the country had made plans to cut federal unemployment benefits by June 2021, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana became the first Democratic governor to join them. States may continue receiving funds from the federal program until September 6, 2021, to pay unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week.

10. Illinois (7.1%)

As one of the worst-stricken states for job losses throughout the pandemic, Illinois’ unemployment rate soared as high as 16.4% in April 2020. By December, the rate had fallen to 7.6% and has continued to decrease. Nearly one million people in the state were unemployed in April 2020, but a year later, the number dropped to around 438,000.

Stabilize Staffing Levels With Sprockets

The Sprockets platformWhen we analyze the state-by-state unemployment rate, we get a clearer picture of how the pandemic shutdowns have affected jobs and certain industries. Nevertheless, signs of economic recovery are evident across the nation, and Sprockets can help businesses achieve healthy staffing levels once again.

Sprockets augments sourcing via free job postings ($400 value) and reveals which applicants are the ideal fit for your team. The AI-powered platform empowers you to hire the perfect candidates every time, ultimately improving employee retention and allowing operators to focus on important daily tasks rather than dealing with an endless cycle of turnover.

Schedule a free demo today to jumpstart your business’s recovery in the post-pandemic era.

A man on a laptop with text reading "25 States Reducing Unemployment Benefits"

Which States Have Decided to Reduce Unemployment Benefits?

Which States Have Decided to Reduce Unemployment Benefits? 1016 528 Sprockets

The COVID-19 pandemic has created one of the worst economic downturns since the financial crisis of 2008, leading both federal and state governments to quickly bring relief to millions of Americans who suddenly lost their jobs. State leaders agreed on the need to increase the number of unemployment benefits being provided to their citizens during this time.

Now, states have begun to open up once again, prompting governors to propose dates when federal unemployment benefits should be reduced. The following includes a list of the states that are seeking — or have already approved — a plan to reduce unemployment benefits.

States Reducing Unemployment Benefits

It’s important to note that the official expiration date for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is September 6, 2021. Although federal funds would still be available to states, many leaders have chosen to end the programs before September 6 in an effort to encourage people to get back to work. This means that benefits such as the extra $300 per week supplement will be removed.

June 12 | Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri

June 12 is the earliest date set to terminate benefits. These reduced unemployment benefits will affect Americans in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri. Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner, has stated that Alaska’s economy is open, and employers are ready and willing to bring people back to work. The same sentiment is shared among the other three states who have chosen June 12 to bring an end to COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

June 19 | Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming

Just a week later, the states of Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming will end the COVID-19 unemployment benefits. Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama defends the move by saying that many business owners have come to her stating that they are having a difficult time finding people to hire. 

Opponents of this move point to small business owners and other self-employed Americans who would normally be denied unemployment during COVID-19 but are keeping themselves afloat due to the additional federal funds and removal of certain restrictions.

June 26 | Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas

Spearheaded by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas will effectively opt out of 2021 unemployment funds from the U.S. Department of Labor on June 26. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott stated that those on unemployment benefits are equal to the jobs available in Texas.

June 27 – July 10 | Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Arizona

Some of the last states to reduce unemployment benefits include Montana on June 27, South Carolina on June 30, Tennessee and Maryland on July 3, and Arizona on July 10. Although these are some of the latest dates on the list, they are still a far cry from the September 6 deadline set by President Biden and Congress.

Business Owners Are Turning to Sprockets’ Staffing Solution

A man looking at job applicants on a tabletIt’s challenging to attract applicants, especially the ideal ones for open positions with the current labor crisis. Luckily, Sprockets offers an AI-powered solution with all of the tools necessary to quickly stabilize and maintain healthy staffing levels. 

The Sprockets platform features free posting to popular job boards ($400 value), personality assessments, virtual recruiters, and a sophisticated applicant matching system that reveals which applicants will perform like your best employees. It’s proven to be effective, improving 90-day retention by 43%, and it’s loved by business owners across several top brands. Curtis Wilhelmi of McDonald’s states, “It’s a no-brainer!”

Someone holding money and text reading "Which States Are Offering Back-to-Work Incentives?"

Which States Are Offering Back-to-Work Incentives?

Which States Are Offering Back-to-Work Incentives? 1016 528 Sprockets

As a labor crisis looms in the US with a perceived shortage of workers, several states have opted to reduce unemployment benefits and offer back-to-work incentives instead. This movement is intended to lower the country’s unemployment rate and help struggling businesses maintain healthy staffing levels, although some economists disagree on its potential effectiveness. Find out which states have implemented — or plan to implement — these return-to-work incentives.

States Offering Back-to-Work Bonuses

1. Arizona

On May 13, Arizona proclaimed that it would no longer be partaking in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) initiative. Instead, they plan on using federal funds to provide their residents with a return-to-work incentive. If residents return to full-time work, they can receive a bonus of $2,000. If you cannot return full-time but instead could work part-time, then you could still expect a bonus, but it would only be $1,000.

The only conditions that are required to receive this incentive are that you must already be receiving unemployment aid, you cannot be paid more than $25 per hour at the new position, and individuals must complete at least 10 weeks of work with the new employer.

2. Colorado

Colorado has seen a decrease in new filers for their state unemployment benefits, but they are offering a return-to-work bonus to continue this trend. This will come as a $1,600 incentive for those who received at least $25 in weekly federal aid between March 28 and May 16. The money will be offered to people who work full-time by May 29 and remain employed with the same employer for at least eight weeks. If you were unable to return to work during that time but were still receiving benefits, residents could still receive up to $1,200. This is called the Colorado Jumpstart Incentive, and it is predicted to total at $500,000 by the end of its use.

3. Connecticut

Having created the Back to Work CT program, Connecticut will provide a $1,000 one-time payment to its 10,000 long-term unemployed residents. It has been designed to encourage those who have been out of work for a lengthy period of time to find work and return to the way things were before the pandemic started.

To be eligible, workers must have filed for unemployment with the state prior to May 30, must find and keep a full-time job for eight consecutive weeks, and not receive unemployment benefits while they are employed. As long as they follow these guidelines, there could be a lucrative payout coming to many residents.

4. Montana

This state was one of the first to stop participating in the FPUC program. Leaders chose to offer a return-to-work bonus of $1,200 to those who rejoin the workforce. The state has pledged $15 million to this program, but it is on a first-come, first-served basis. This initiative is meant to help up to 12,500 workers within Montana, even though their recorded unemployment rate is less than that. The main reason for this is because there has also been an influx of people moving into the state and seeking to start over after the devastating impact of the global pandemic. They wish to make sure that those who are coming in will also have a chance at this great incentive, but it is only available until the end of October.

5. New Hampshire

Trying to faze out their participation in the unemployment benefits offered by the federal government by mid-June, New Hampshire leaders are offering back-to-work benefits in the form of a bonus. With $10 million pledged to this, they will offer a one-time payout of $1,000 for those who are able to maintain full-time employment for eight consecutive weeks. For part-time employees, they will be offered a smaller amount for doing the same. Part-time employees will see $500 added to their accounts to help them as well.

To be eligible, workers must make less than $25 per hour and meet the attendance requirements. This should help to get employees back into positions as the state starts to reopen and even encourage people to move in and take advantage of this program.

6. Oklahoma

Similar to other states, Oklahoma has announced its intent to withdraw from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program by the end of June and instead replace its bonus with one of its own. The first 20,000 residents to return to work would receive a $1,200 one-time bonus payment. This money will be paid by the American Rescue Plan program instead of by the state government. Only those who have received unemployment benefits between May 2 and May 15 and who complete six consecutive weeks with a single employer will find themselves receiving the incentive, which will go out in mid-July.

Additional States Considering Return-to-Work Incentives

These six states listed above might soon be followed by others with leaders who’d like to reduce weekly unemployment benefits and offer back-to-work bonuses. The list includes West Virginia as well as North Carolina.

What These Bonuses Mean for Employers

Someone on a laptop screening high quality candidatesIf you’re a business owner in one of these states, you might begin to see an increase in the number of potential hires searching for employment. However, how do you attract these job seekers, particularly the ideal applicants for your team?

The answer is simple: Sprockets. Our AI-powered platform takes what makes your top-performing employees great and finds shared characteristics with incoming applicants. Sprockets even offers free posting to popular job boards as well as “Virtual Recruiters” who alert you when they find stellar candidates, allowing you and your managers to focus more on daily operations rather than the hiring process.

Schedule a demo today to see how Sprockets can augment sourcing efforts, identify the ideal applicants, and improve your employee retention!

A man on his laptop with text reading "How to Create Your Ideal Applicant Persona"

How to Create Your Ideal Applicant Persona

How to Create Your Ideal Applicant Persona 1016 528 Sprockets

For most employers, recruitment is becoming a complex game of chance that takes a lot of time and money. Sometimes you are lucky to get the right talent, but in other cases, you end up with someone far below your expectations. A recent survey by ManpowerGroup reveals that the talent shortage has risen to a historic high in the USA. Close to 69 percent of employers polled say they have difficulties filling jobs. If left unaddressed, the talent gap could translate to approximately $8.5 trillion in unrealized yearly revenues.

So, how can recruitment agencies and organizations overcome this problem? Well, the solution lies in using the applicant persona as a recruitment tool. Creating the ideal applicant persona helps organizations identify the traits of the right applicant and design their sourcing and recruitment strategy accordingly.

Where Do Applicant Personas Come From, and Why Are They Helpful?

An applicant persona is a representation of your ideal job candidate. When recruiting, an applicant persona helps adjust your talent acquisition strategies toward the talent you want to attract to your organization. Specifically, an applicant persona allows you to:

  • Develop the most relevant job descriptions that attract more applications from the ideal candidates
  • Craft the best recruiting strategies for your target applicants
  • Adjust your sourcing strategies and focus on the perfect talent
  • Figure out where your target employees spend their time

How Are Applicant Personas Used?

A well-crafted applicant persona should put you in the shoes of your ideal applicant. It helps you know exactly what your perfect applicant is looking for, where to find them, and how to engage them effectively. A perfect candidate persona is used to:

  • Create and place job descriptions
  • Develop employer branding
  • Source passive applicants
  • Optimize time-to-hire

How to Create an Applicant Persona

Interview the Stakeholders

Before developing an applicant persona, it is critical to involve all the stakeholders. Bringing everyone on board ensures your hiring team reads from the same script before you move forward. Start by interviewing the stakeholders, including interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers, to get an idea of the ideal traits they are looking for in an applicant. Essential details to focus on include:

  • The Job Title: Typically, different hiring agencies use different job titles for the same role. Ensure the job title is SEO friendly and can rank well on search engines, job boards, and LinkedIn.
  • Target Skills: Ask your hiring team about the specific skills they look for in every target hire.
  • Applicant’s Educational Qualifications and Certifications: Find out the particular courses, degrees, or universities your hiring team targets.

Interview Team Members Who May Deal with the Applicant

Interviewing each team member could be an excellent strategy to determine the indicators of an ideal applicant persona. Interview two to three members to determine the traits that the perfect applicant should have to succeed in the given role. During this stage, ask as many questions as possible until you exhaust all areas of concern. Ideal questions to ask include:

  • What are the factors that motivate your employees on the job?
  • What attracts top talent to your company, and how do you retain them?
  • What are your career and personal goals?
  • What do you want to achieve in life?
  • What skills help you succeed in your job?
  • What is the perfect company culture, according to you?

Interview Applicants

Once you are done interviewing the stakeholders and team members, your next step is to create a hypothesis on the applicant persona. For the hypothesis to be beneficial, it has to be tested. It would be best if you cross-checked the hypothesis with your pool of applicants. Ask all the questions in step two to all the applicants. Other questions to ask include:

  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • What do you expect to be different here from your previous job?
  • Where do you spend your personal time online?

Use Data and Resources to Find Insights

You should also leverage pre-existing data to create an ideal applicant persona. Dig deeper into your applicant data and locate valuable insights. Determine the sources that attract the best applicants. You should also identify the more responsive applicants and see what sets them apart from the rest.

Leveraging Research to Storify the Applicant Persona

Once you obtain adequate information, use your research to storify the applicant persona. Study the collected data to determine the apparent trends and similarities, and create the ideal applicant persona. If you have few vacancies, you can create a single applicant persona. However, if you have a high number of vacancies, create multiple personas.

Let Sprockets Help You Find the Right Talent

A woman on a laptop creating an applicant personaIn the wake of recent digital transformations, change is becoming a necessity for most companies. If you don’t keep up with new technologies disrupting traditional recruiting methods, you will be left behind. Leverage our applicant persona template to create an ideal applicant persona and successfully source top-notch talent.

Our platform uses surveys and AI to accomplish many of the goals discussed in this piece. Contact us today to learn more about the Sprockets solution and how it can help you embrace the future of the recruitment process.

Two restaurant workers and text reading "Earn More Work Opportunity Tax Credits With Less Effort"

Earn More Work Opportunity Tax Credits With Less Effort

Earn More Work Opportunity Tax Credits With Less Effort 1016 528 Sprockets

Sprockets can help you earn up to $9,600 in tax credits per eligible new hire! Our platform not only reveals which applicants will perform like your top employees, but it also reveals those who qualify for Work Opportunity Tax Credits. You’ll improve your bottom line, provide jobs to individuals who might otherwise face bias, and increase employee retention! You even have access to a dedicated tax expert who can help maximize your credits and handle the paperwork.

Discover Which Applicants Are Eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credits

The Sprockets platform makes it easy to view each applicant’s eligibility and the value of the tax credits received for hiring them. You could receive between $2,400 to $9,600 for each eligible person you hire, depending on their WOTC Target Group, such as SNAP Recipients, TANF Recipients, Supplemental Security Income Recipients, and Unemployed Veterans.

See Who Will Perform Like Your Best Employees

Our AI-powered software also displays which applicants will be excellent additions to your team. The process begins by creating a unique success profile based on the characteristics of your current top-performing employees and scores each incoming applicant against that benchmark. You’ll see “fit scores” next to WOTC eligibility in the dashboard, allowing you to hire the ideal applicants who will both succeed and provide tax credits.

Let Our Experts Take Care of the Details

As an added bonus, you have access to a dedicated WOTC tax expert to help you every step of the way. The expert will evaluate your new-hire process, send the WOTC questionnaire to applicants, set up the paperwork, give you completed IRS forms for easy filing, and answer any questions you may have. With all the time you save, you’ll be able to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business rather than dealing with the tedious tax process.

Start Maximizing Your WOTC Incentive Today

A screen showing applicants who are eligible for Work Opportunity Tax CreditsIf you’re not already taking advantage of this program, now’s the time! Sprockets offers seamless integration with WOTC and our AI-powered Applicant Matching System. Schedule a demo today to see how our platform reveals WOTC eligibility, predicts success with pinpoint precision, and improves overall employee retention. We can’t wait to help you hire the ideal applicants and earn Work Opportunity Tax Credits!

People in an interview with text reading "4 Myths About Attracting and Retaining High-Quality Talent"

4 Myths About Attracting and Retaining High-Quality Talent

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Are you struggling to find and retain quality candidates for your franchise? It could be because you are still hanging onto some outdated hiring myths and not utilizing digital hiring solutions.

In the same way that outdated technology affects your productivity and efficiency, stagnant recruitment practices affect the quality of applicants you attract. These outdated practices also increase your staff turnover rate. Here are four myths you need to forget in order to attract and retain quality talent.

1. The Best Talent Must Have Years of Experience

Many recruiters insist on hiring experienced candidates over those with high potential but limited industry experience. Skilled workers may be hard to retain since your competitors may also be interested in hiring them. Here are some reasons why you should consider hiring quality workers with minimal industry experience:

Inexperienced Workers Are Moldable

Inexperienced workers can be molded and trained more easily since they have not yet developed their own work habits. In a highly unpredictable business environment, new talent may respond to change more positively and adapt quickly. They may also be more willing to seek new solutions, embrace new opportunities, and multi-task.

They Have More Potential for Growth

You can identify staffing gaps in your business and train new hires to fit in that role. You may be surprised how loyal unexplored talent can be if they see the potential for growth in their job.

They Are Passionate

Unlike experienced workers who might feel there is nothing new to learn, new talent typically has an appetite for knowledge. Newer hires that integrate well with the team and believe in the product and service will also want to stay longer to gain more insights into the position.

2. A Resume Says Everything About a Candidate

There are soft skills that you cannot read on a resume. For instance, a resume will not demonstrate an applicants’ interpersonal or communication skills or his or her level of respect and confidence.

During the pre-screening process, you can learn a lot about a candidate and his or her personality by asking the right questions such as what do you least like about your job and why, how do you like to be managed, and what type of work do you enjoy doing the most. Most of the time, such information about a candidate’s character can’t be uncovered by only viewing a CV/resume. Therefore, it’s important that hiring managers avoid basing their judgment solely on a candidate’s CV/resume.

3. Hiring Managers Know How to Hire

You could be missing the right talent because your hiring managers are relying on their gut feelings and their experiences can make them biased.

Train hiring managers to apply the best practices in hiring to achieve objective results. It is important to equip your hiring managers with practical interviewing skills which can help attract higher-quality candidates.

4. You Should Only Recruit When You Have an Opening

If you only post job advertisements for open positions, you could be missing out on great applicants. One of the digital recruitment trends is to stockpile great talents even if you have no open jobs at the moment.

Once you find a quality candidate interested in working for you, hire them and create the position. These talents are in high demand, and you may not find a hire when you need one.

Effective Digital Recruitment

Digital recruitment can make hiring easy, inexpensive, and fast. Here are some digital recruitment strategies you can use to make hiring more effective, affordable, and efficient:

Use Pre-Employment Assessments

A candidate’s CV and cover letter say a lot about the applicant but not everything. To assess the candidate further, send them a pre-employment assessment test. Sprockets’ pre-employment test identifies applicants with similar personality traits as your top performers to ensure only smart hiring decisions are made.

Consider High Potential Candidates Have Some Shortcomings

A high-quality candidate may be a person living with disabilities or may come late for the interview. Give such candidates a chance, and they may surprise you as quality hires.

Prepare to Train-on-the-Job

Rather than spend time waiting for the perfect candidate, hire the one with related skills and train them on the job. This will help speed up the digital recruitment process.

Use Technology to Assess Candidate Suitability

Someone on a laptop screening high quality candidatesSprockets’ sophisticated software helps you build a harmonious workplace where quality talent longs to work. Our AI-powered platform augments your sourcing and screening efforts to ensure you always hire applicants who are the precise fit for your needs. You’ll save time, increase retention, and improve company culture.

Contact us now and let us help you identify quality hires with the ideal characteristics so that you can hire more effectively.