The “Great Resignation” has created a labor shortage that has had resounding effects on small businesses and large corporations alike. Workers retired early, quit jobs to accept a higher paying position, or changed careers entirely. The pandemic was the tipping point: employees already struggling with unfulfilling work, wage freezes, and limited benefits. Some candidates were “walled out” of contention if they didn’t meet minimum job requirements such as work experience or college degrees.
Now, employers are struggling to fill skilled positions. How can you best navigate the labor shortage? Here are five tips for reconsidering your open job skills requirements and looking within the organization for employees who can be groomed for an open position.
Is There a Labor Shortage?
Yes and no. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended February 5, 2022. This is the lowest level since March 14, 1970. The January unemployment rate edged up to a still-low 4% from 3.9%, as more people began looking for work, but not all of them are securing jobs right away. Keep in mind that there are discouraged workers out there – those folks who’ve stopped looking for work and who haven’t found suitable employment options or don’t make the list of candidates when they’ve applied for a job. Discouraged workers aren’t included in the headline unemployment numbers we see in the news. Yes, recruiters are struggling to fill open positions, but the reasons might not be identical in 2022 as they were during previous challenging recruiting periods. It’s time to rethink job descriptions, job requirements, and business objectives.
Tips to Fill Your Open Positions
Some companies have already revised their strategies to attract job candidates and modified benefits to retain employees. Things like enhancing pay and reward policies, continuing or offering remote and hybrid work options and home office stipends, providing increased mental health benefits, offering childcare/caregiver leave, and adding medical benefits such as fertility services, to name a few. And while these tactics have helped, companies are still struggling to attract talent.
Is your next great candidate right under your noses? It’s a possibility. Here are some ideas on assessing a current employee’s ability to fill a middle management or upper management position:
- Is a college degree a requirement in the job description, and is that degree necessary for a current employee who already performs well, fits within the company culture, and deserves an opportunity for advancement? If the degree is required, what steps would the employer be willing to take to assist the employee in attaining the degree?
- Is there a way to redistribute the job responsibilities to other positions and rethink what responsibilities you are looking for in the open position?
- Assess the employee’s strengths and weaknesses as well as helping them increase their hard or soft skills. Skills testing can help determine where an employee scores on those required skill levels, and Learning Management Systems can provide training modules to improve upon the necessary skills.
- Pair the employee with a mentor who can offer the guidance and expertise needed to advance with the company.
- Allow the employee to participate in apprenticeship or leadership training and/or pay for their membership in professional groups outside the workplace.
The Benefits of Fewer Hiring Barriers
Every worker deserves an opportunity to advance their career, and if they are a valued employee, why wouldn’t you fight to keep them in the company? By re-evaluating your job descriptions and the total employee experience, your best candidate pool may have already walked through your doors and is yearning for a path to career advancement.
And once you’ve filled that open position from within, you can reconsider strategies for filling the vacated position. Is this just shifting one recruiting challenge for another? Not exactly. For one, you are now searching for candidates to fill an entry-level or junior-level position. There are many untapped talent pools out there. A retiree whose skills and experience are a good fit and who is more interested in being a sole contributor versus a manager. Offering internship/apprenticeship opportunities. Posting job openings on more diverse job boards. Or hiring temporary staff or contractors to pick up the slack and who also enjoy flexible work options.
We Can Help
Shifting to skills-based hiring opens the doors to a larger talent pool who may have previously been excluded from the recruiting mix. Lifting assumptions like degree requirements versus making allowances for strong performance achievements gives overlooked workers a renewed hope in their career journey and helps companies fill jobs more quickly.
We have helped companies review and re-evaluate their hiring strategies and job descriptions. We can conduct online behavioral and skills testing to predict candidate workplace performance. The tests are developed by subject-matter experts for content validity and contain questions for basic, intermediate, and advanced skill levels. We then help you use the knowledge obtained from assessments to determine a candidate’s skill level and aptitude to perform the duties required for an open position.
Contact us today to find out more.