How Is Your Company Preparing For A Talent Shortage?

Published on August 8, 2021

Change isn’t just coming, it’s here – both in workplace environments and worker priorities. Is your company ready to handle significant turnover, new staffing needs and a talent shortage?

Consider that:

  • 41% of employees surveyed across 30+ global markets are thinking about leaving their employer in 2021 (Microsoft Work Trend Index)
  • 62% of CEOs recently surveyed indicated that hiring challenges are preventing them from operating at full capacity (Vistage CEO Confidence Index)
  • The quits rate of US workers hit a 20-year high of 2.8% (approx. 4 million people) in April and has held at near highs of 2.5% (3.6 million people) in May and 2.7% (3.9 million people) in June (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

While time will tell how much the post-pandemic “Great Resignation” will affect your business, even a 5 – 10% loss of experienced employees (coupled with changing business needs) can cause major disruptions to your operations and revenue.

Now is the time to prepare for increased recruitment and onboarding needs. Recruiting for significant vacancies in an environment that increasingly prizes flexible work arrangements is uncharted territory, even for experienced Talent Acquisition teams. Don’t wait to react to hiring challenges or you’ll be at a disadvantage with proactive competitors drawing from the same talent pool

Here are some steps to ensure you’re well positioned to handle a talent shortage and attract/retain employees who best align with your business objectives.

1. (Re)define Roles and Job Descriptions

As business evolves and you plan the future of work at your company, consider how strategic decisions will impact staffing needs. Assess roles and determine what experience, skills and environment will best support them into the future.

For example, while driven in part by the pandemic, the majority of B2B buyers want to retain omnichannel sales models instead of reverting to traditional approaches. This calls for a tech savvy sales team with a strong virtual presence, as well as highly skilled engineers to design and support customer platforms.

As you assess your business needs:

  • Look at the must-have qualifications in job descriptions. If the requirements for success have changed, job descriptions should be updated to reflect changed needs. It’s also a great opportunity to identify alternative qualifications, where applicable. For example, requiring an advanced degree for certain positions may cause you to miss out on candidates who have a wealth of relevant experience.
  • Be flexible when possible. Is it necessary to have 100% of staff in-office? Do fixed working hour requirements deter otherwise qualified candidates from applying? Determine what the real needs of each role are and remove barriers that prevent strong applicants from choosing your company. Importantly, flexibility can also serve diversity, equity and inclusion objectives by creating an environment that appeals to qualified candidates for whom traditional work arrangements may be prohibitive.

2. Check Own Your Pulse

What do your people want? Assess current engagement and job satisfaction to better anticipate and reduce employee attrition. Determine how you can better support current staff and meet their workplace needs. Investing in retaining your best talent is often more time and cost-effective than replacing them.

Keep in mind:

  • The golden rule for employee feedback. Don't ask unless you are ready to make changes that reflect the information you receive. You don’t have to address every wish or complaint as directed by employees, but you should respond to all feedback with empathy and communicate what actions you're taking to improve engagement and satisfaction.
  • Competitors are making changes too. Find out what they are. Creative companies may adopt practices that at one time sounded unreasonable, but now deserve a second look. Research what’s going on elsewhere to understand what factors applicants are considering during their job search -- and what might entice current staff to leave -- so you can plan appropriately.

3. Differentiate Your Employer Brand

People won’t know how great your company is if you don’t tell them. Establish yourself as an employer of choice by clearly marketing the benefits, whether that’s offering meaningful and fulfilling work, flexible work options, competitive salaries, pathways for advancement or other strengths

To get the word out:

  • Share why people want to be a part of your company and reflect corporate culture on your website, LinkedIn company page and other social media where you have presence. Convey your mission and values through what you post, share and promote.
  • Tap into employee advocacy to champion your company through personal content engagement by employees. According to LinkedIn, employee networks average 10X wider base than company followers alone and their posts see an average of 2X higher click through rate compared to company pages sharing the same content. Employee posts effectively communicate and endorse information about your company, which builds trust in the company with more audiences.

4. Revisit The Hiring Process

Provide candidates with a realistic job preview throughout the hiring process. This information allows potential applicants to better assess their fit for the position/culture, saving time and resources for all involved.

Also key to the process:

  • Be upfront and informative with potential employees from the start. In job postings, include details about both the benefits and full responsibilities to help candidates assess whether your company is a good fit for them.
  • Structure interviews to include honest discourse about expectations and needs (of both the business and candidates) beyond work duties and deliverables.
  • Be timely! While the pace of hiring is often variable, be as responsive as possible in communications and decision-making to make good impressions and avoid losing talent to competitors who respond faster.

5. Strengthen Onboarding Programs

Regardless of where an employee is physically located, hiring is just the first step in establishing a successful working relationship. An effective onboarding process will help new employees feel like they’re part of the team and its purpose, which increases engagement, performance and job satisfaction.

Remember to:

  • Set expectations early and outline resources to turn to for support. Facilitate interactions between key employees and new employees to help foster a sense of inclusion.
  • Build scalable onboarding programs that can accommodate multiple hires and account for potentially remote and in-person delivery models, lead time for learning curves and ongoing mentoring relationships.
  • Develop strategies that promote retention. Engaged employees are more satisfied in their jobs and less likely to leave their employer. Structure employee engagement programs to bridge in-person and remote staff, provide supportive mentoring and foster a sense of belonging to the company and its mission.

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