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Recruiting has never been more difficult than it is today, and companies are spending more than ever to recruit people. Some are even questioning the long-term viability of their companies as they suffer through a prolonged labor shortage that appears to have no end. We have a growing and aging population, creating more demand for services but with fewer available workers. In fact, for the first time ever, there are more job openings in the U.S. than people looking for jobs. This data point alone tells the story. Employers are vying for people in a way they never had to before.

We also know that just throwing money at a problem isn’t necessarily the best solution. While increased spending on recruiting makes sense, it’s important to spend this money wisely. Companies have increased spending on recruiters, headhunters and online job search platforms. This is a necessary investment, for sure. You need to be in the game in order to have a chance to win. However, this is not enough.

We know that the best recruiters are employees who are highly satisfied and can’t wait to tell everyone they know about how great their company is. These “recruiters” will attract the right people to your company when vacancies exist. Even more importantly, vacancies will be dramatically reduced if your people are devoted, committed, all-in.

It seems to me that the same amount of resources (or more) should be poured into creating a better workplace environment with super high levels of employee engagement. Only a small fraction of companies in our industry have made this investment, and they are reaping the rewards. These companies operate in the same world everyone else does, but they have successfully eliminated the recruiting crisis. Recruiting is still a challenge but not an existential threat to their business.

Recruiting has never been more important, but retention is even more important. Are you making your investments in the right places?

Now go forth.

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Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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