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Keep Ahead of the Talent Shortage, Build a Competitive Advantage

Updated September 2022, first published February 2022.

Talent shortages continue to be a problem in most industries. According to a Manpower Group survey, talent shortages in the US have more than tripled in the last ten years. 75% of employers are struggling to fill positions. Moreover, the relationship between employees and employers has changed, and organizations need to adapt and understand employees' priorities.

Driving Factors

One reason we see the movement in talent is that retirements have been accelerating. Covid-19 amplified the issue; some younger Boomers (age 58-67) retired earlier than planned, while others lost their jobs and decided not to find another. The early retirement of this group left a large unanticipated gap in the labor pool. Moreover, with the majority of Boomers moving out of the workforce, younger generations will not have the experience or training to fill many jobs the retiring group has left behind. This skill gap will create an even more crucial issue in the future.

Another reason for the increase in available jobs is how employees' approach to work has changed. Employees are now more willing to change jobs when unsatisfied with their careers. They have changed their expectations of their employers and how they view their career growth. A challenge for some leadership teams may be holding onto past data, processes, and internal cultural influences that discourage employees from trying to advance within the organization. It is now imperative to listen to what employees are saying and be willing to be flexible with policies and processes that are currently in place.

How Do You Address a Talent Shortage?

Organizations can start to address a shortage by having a well-rounded talent strategy. There should be a focus on building your in-house talent pipeline. Know where the gaps are with in-house talent and go to the external market to attract that talent that can't be built. Cultivate relationships with communities of talent outside the organization; encourage and engage employees with new roles within the organization.

Building the talent within your current staff can look different depending on the budget and size of your team. Raising salaries or improving benefits will help employees feel valued and want to stay and expand within the organization. Conducting a pay audit is a good way to ensure your pay is competitive. Some larger companies have surprised employees with unscheduled bonuses, moving to a hybrid work model, or covering some college tuition costs. These benefits are great for companies with enough financial resources but may not be an option for all. One of the best strategies for retaining talent is through increased diversity and internal career development. Develop an intentional plan with employees, offering them opportunities to learn new skills throughout their time working for the organization. Someone who is eager and possesses the right "soft" skills may have the potential to develop and grow within an organization.

Attract talent from broader pools. Cultivating relationships with other professional business organizations and local colleges and universities will increase the opportunity to create. Organizations can look more at underrepresented groups, including expanding their searches to other geographic areas by hiring employees to work remotely. Consideration can be given to rehiring former workers and building relationships with career counselors from high schools and state and community colleges. (How do you get better diversity in job candidates?)

Focus on skillset and loosen degree requirement hiring criteria. Automated recruitment systems can screen out good candidates because they do not have the exact qualifications. For example, many organizations demand a college education, which could rule out individuals with commensurate experience over people with a degree that doesn't relate to the job. Instead, organizations should take a close look at the requirements for their jobs for their jobs and ensure that they match the skills needed to succeed in their role. Removing the degree requirement when unnecessary will allow more applicants to move through the recruitment process. (Link to Karen's previous article about diversity- recruitment)

Provide the right technology and tools for your staff. Does your team have suitable tools and processes to help them do their best in their roles? Consider upgrading your technology systems to reduce your staff's manual and repetitive work. (Which HR Tech is Right For Your Organization?).

As the needs of candidates and employees often evolve, regularly reviewing your talent acquisition process and adjusting is essential. Contact Kiwi Partners’ HR services team if your organization would like assistance reviewing or developing your current talent acquisition process.


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