Overcoming Hiring Challenges in the Cold Food and Beverage Supply Chain

One of the most common challenges for the cold food and beverage supply chain and logistics industry is how difficult it is to source quality applicants. Here's how to fix that.

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As the market and supply chain continue to recover from losses sustained during the height of the pandemic, the question remains, why is it so difficult to find, hire and retain quality talent? It’s not entirely a simple answer, but here are some solutions.

The challenge

One of the most common challenges for the cold food and beverage supply chain and logistics industry is how difficult it is to source quality applicants. To top that off, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 10.1 million job openings in August, and unemployment is sitting at 3.5%. According to the bureau, food manufacturing specifically has seen a 7.8% increase in jobs added from August to September of this year.

With that in mind, finding the right applicants, moving them through the hiring process, and retaining top performers has never been more challenging. It’s a competitive market for hirers, not job seekers – they have many jobs to consider. Making your open positions stand out from the crowd has never been more crucial.

The cost

A 2022 Talroo study found that, on average, an organization with over 1,000 employees will spend $670 to hire one essential worker. However, while that position remains vacant, your company is losing money every day. You can calculate the cost of vacancy to determine just how much an open position costs you.

While it varies by industry, the cost of vacancy can be estimated by taking the company’s revenue per employee (the company’s total revenue divided by the number of employees) divided by the number of working days in a year (220). This gives you the average revenue produced by an employee daily. Note: it can be difficult to accurately measure a vacancy’s negative impact on productivity, employee engagement and team morale, and even harder to tie monetary values to these metrics.

This cost is more important than ever because, as stated earlier, it is a job seeker’s market. If you do not find a way to fill your open positions with quality candidates, your company could hemorrhage money.

Finding and hiring top talent

With that said, how do you go about finding and hiring the top talent?

A 2022 Talroo report showed what applicants are looking for when searching for a job:

●    62% say higher pay would increase their likelihood of accepting a job.

●     20% have someone at home, such as a child, affecting their job search. Millennials are the most likely to be affected by this.

●     80% are more likely to apply for a job if salary information is present.

●     75% are interested in attending a hiring event to find a job.

●     More than half had their opinions about work significantly altered during the pandemic.

With these statistics in mind, there are a few ways you can substantially improve your job listings.

Offer better wages

One way to give your job listings more attention is to offer higher wages than other food and beverage manufacturing or logistics companies in your area. If you’ve gone through the hiring process only to see your top candidates take other opportunities, your rate may be too low. Alternatively, if candidates believe they can comfortably live on your pay, they’re more likely to give your company a chance and, if hired, stick around for longer. 

Evaluate what similar positions are paying, and see if you can accommodate a higher wage. You’re sure to snag those applicants from your competition and see your positions filled much faster.

Flexible schedules

Another feature candidates look for is a flexible schedule, allowing them to have a better work/life balance. A flexible schedule often means they don’t have to pay for daycare or struggle to coordinate drop off and pick up of children. 

Allowing for flexible scheduling shows applicants that they’re not just employees to your organization, but real people with responsibilities and lives outside of work. It also can open you to a broader candidate pool, such as students or people looking to pick up additional work.

Advertising the opening

Maybe you’re getting a decent number of candidates, but they just don’t seem to fit. They might be only looking for short-term employment, over- or underqualified, or their availability doesn’t match your needs. Are the right people seeing your job ads?

That’s where job advertising comes in. To meet your company’s hiring needs, posting to job boards used to be enough, but in today’s digital landscape, it isn’t anymore. A job advertising platform or agency will help you target the candidates you’re looking for. 

There are a few types of job advertising. Traditional job advertising places your jobs on sites where people have been historically looking for positions like yours. However, they don’t consider if the site visitors are actively looking. Instead, look for an option that finds quality applicants as they search for a new job.

Profile-driven programmatic advertising, on the other hand, delivers your job ads to qualified applicants as they’re actively searching for a job, where they’re searching. By targeting the applicant as opposed to the job board, profile-driven advertising ensures your ads are reaching the right people. Find an advertising platform who uses this technique to make sure you’re getting the best possible candidates.

Meet the applicant’s needs

Better benefits, one-time bonuses and even safer working conditions are essential in the food manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics industry. But for today’s job seekers, higher wages and flexibility are just as important – they offer long-term security and show candidates how dedicated your company is to your employee’s well-being. With the right technology, your job listings will be delivered to the right people, saving you time and money.

The importance of retention

Once you find and hire new employees, retention is vital. Otherwise, you’ll get into a cycle of hiring and trying to fill vacant positions. With the current job market, you have to ensure that your employees are fulfilled and productive members of your team, especially if you want to retain them. An excellent way to ensure that is to build an employee development program.

For example, offer opportunities to help your team advance in their careers. If an employee shows interest in moving to another department, allowing them to shadow the other department for a day or giving them the option to be more cross-functional can make them feel supported in their ambitions, giving loyalty and ensuring they’ll continue to be a great employee. 

Consider giving employees a small pay bump at the end of the year as a thank you for their hard work and incentivizing their continued dedication to your company. After all, it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain good employees than to re-enter the hiring process and retrain new workers.