Industry survey after industry survey has produced the same results: today’s employers perceive a shortage of skilled workers as a major obstacle in the next decade. Three factors have contributed to the talent shortage: 1) the amount of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in the next 10 years; 2) an expanding US economy; 3) the shortage of young workers trained in certain key industries.
Before we continue, let’s make a key differentiation between a labor shortage and talent shortage. A labor shortage is, to be frank, not enough warm bodies to fill open positions. A talent shortage is a lack of skilled workers with specific training and skill sets needed in the workforce. Examples of specific skilled industries projected to have a shortage include sales, STEM, drivers, IT, and manufacturing. Faced with the dim outlook, industry experts have suggested companies use these three popular strategies to cope with the skilled talent shortage:
- Buy talent.
- Build your workforce.
Of course, these options are a simplification of how your company can leverage human capital to weather, and even thrive, during the predicted talent shortage. Employers have to use creative staffing strategies, and employ a hybrid of “buy” and “build” solutions to meet their short- and long-term staffing needs. While every company’s culture and needs are different, there are some general staffing strategies and solutions that can be utilized during the talent shortage:
- Know skilled workers’ value. The days of searching for the cheapest skilled workers are over. While companies always have to be conscious of their bottom line, paying workers less than industry value is a sure-fire way to create a revolving door of skilled employees and their talents. Research and know what skilled workers are worth in your local market, and create a benefits and compensation package that attracts, and retains, these valuable human assets.
- Create a company culture that skilled employees flock to. High employee retention rates are driven by more than just compensation; use our recent blog post to create a company culture that attracts and retains talent. Be conscious as you select your management team; great leaders are the key to an excellent team.
- Build a program to develop workers. The cost of training employees that can contribute to your business for an extended period of time is insignificant when evaluating costs associated with high employee turnover and extended position openings. Don’t look at your development program as a solution only for existing employees; employee development can start before the date of hire by knowing what general qualities you want in a new employee, with the understanding that you can train and develop skills over a period of time. If needed, extend your new-employee probationary period to accommodate training and development schedules. Sometimes the best skilled employees are grown, not hired.
- Engage in succession planning. Succession planning is more than sitting down and graphing who is next in line for a management-level skilled position. With a bit of foresight, succession planning can be done years in advance by strategically planning how to pass on expertise and practical knowledge from one generation of workers to the next. Integrate cross-training as a regular standard operating procedure where applicable; adaptation to an ever-changing business climate and your customers’ needs are crucial.
- Utilize creative staffing options. The one-size-fits-all permanent hire only model does not work for every company. Consult staffing experts to explore and utilize creative staffing options to your advantage. For example, if you need skilled workers but not always on a daily basis, a skilled temporary employee for a short period of time can be a more cost-efficient staffing solution. Creative staffing solutions can also mean fewer dollars spent on training and man hours spent on human resources paperwork.
- Consult with the experts to continually increase recruitment and employee retention rates. With a continually evolving business atmosphere, don’t feel your company has to keep up with the latest staffing trends and best-use practices. Consult with an established staffing firm, like Nissen Staffing Continuum, with the experience needed to recruit and retain qualified skilled workers that your company needs.