How to deal with a Talent Shortage
We’ve always had talent shortages in sectors such as IT and Trades but the current talent shortage is next level. What caused the talent shortage and what can we do to mitigate it?
Why now for a talent shortage?
Baby Boomers are retiring and a lot of knowledge and experience. We don’t have enough people to replace them even with automation and lean workflows.
The Covid pandemic has completely disrupted our workspaces. People are maybe reluctant to return to the office or they’ve realised that there are other employers out there will treat them better (The Great Resignation is a common term). Some even took the lockdowns to revaluate their careers and decided to follow their dreams and start their own business or move into education.
Lack of immigration and reluctant to relocate.
There are many other geographical, financial or world events that impact Talent Shortages – we could write endless articles about this. However you need solutions rather than further reminders on how painful hiring can be at present.
Keep the staff you have! They already know the company, job and team so when recruiters and your competitors are tapping on their shoulders entice them to stay:
- Train/upskill/cross train and provide further education to your employees. They will appreciate your investment into their careers and as Richard Branson once said when questioned “What if they leave?”, his reply was, “But what if they don’t?”
- Upgrade/autonomise their work workflow and tools to minimise repetitive tasks. By freeing up their time their role has more variety they can conduct other tasks to benefit your business.
- Use temps or contractors to take the pressure off your employees. With no long-term commitment involved your staff can work reasonable hours and you might even find a new hire. The costs are greater but you will lose more when your overworked employees leave from exhaustion.
- Consider your company culture – if it’s toxic your staff will leave. Don’t expect unreasonable hours or work processes from your employees and never tolerate poor behaviour or bullying. Keep in mind a lot of people leave because of their managers so invest training and time in your management team if possible.
- Do you have a Reward and Recognition policy in place? There are many ways to recognise your workers with little financial requirement required. Acknowledge and recognise your workers and provide small benefits such as a local voucher scheme, a day off for birthdays, free team lunches/drinks etc. Offer more than a pay check and they are more likely to remain.
Hire school leavers and graduates. You can train them in your methods and they grow with your business ensuring loyalty. More businesses should consider a type of apprentice or graduate scheme. Finding the time to train them may be a pain point, but it’s worth it.
“The savviest organizations are taking on the onus of training talent themselves, increasing their hiring of people straight out of school.”
Jean-Marc Laouchez, president of the Korn Ferry Institute.
Adjust your hiring criteria and be flexible in your essential requirements. Figure out what are your ‘must have’s’ and where you are going to find people with those skills. Do they really need sales experience when an outgoing personality will do the trick?
Consider hiring based on soft and transferable skills rather than technical skills. Technical skills are often easier to train than a great attitude or excellent customer service. Candidates from similar industries will have less of a learning curve. But just be flexible because it’s near impossible to get the perfect candidate in the current market.
Hire quickly! Good candidates are always snapped up immediately. Drag out your interview process or decision making and they’re gone and you have to start all over again.
Consider what your business offers staff such as flexiworking, social club, drinks on a Friday etc. It’s not always obvious to you because you’ve always offered these but not every organisation does. Advertise every benefit on offer, how your culture is wonderful and that your team is a solid group who like to have a laugh. A candidate considering two competing job offers may pick your business because you have a social club and they want to meet people – surprisingly it often comes down to ‘little’ things like this.
There is no easy fix for hiring during a talent shortage with everything going on in the world at present. But if you consider the staff you have, think about the type of people you would like to attract and provide them all with a great role, competitive salary and solid reward/recognition system you are already ahead in the hiring game.