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7 Tips to managing the skills shortage in your business

Industrial Fabricator from Haynes People

Struggling to find qualified staff? Fed up of losing staff to competitors for a couple of extra dollars? Looking for answers and all you’re hearing is skills shortage, skills shortage, skills shortage?

WE ALL KNOW there’s a skills shortage, particularly in regional areas of Australia, such as North Queensland. But what can you actually do about it?

Skills shortages are a bit like the weather – you can’t stop it raining, but you can pop open an umbrella and do your best not to get wet!

Here are several strategies that your company can employ to attract and retain skilled employees:

Prioritise and target talent

It’s estimated to cost upwards of $20,000 to recruit and onboard a new employee. With that in mind, it’s only logical to prioritise your resources and specifically target the roles your business needs most, with a laser focus to secure your talent. Decide on your critical positions and fill those first and foremost. Casting out generic adverts and hoping to catch 3 or 4 different positions in the same net might work when there are more jobs than people, but this is a time when candidates can be choosy. By focusing on critical roles for your business, you can ensure you’re not spreading your resources too thin.

Broaden the talent pool

Companies can expand their search for talent beyond traditional channels. This could include tapping into alternative talent sources, such as remote workers, international workers or freelancers. Consider partnering with educational institutions or industry organisations to develop talent pipelines or sponsoring training programs to upskill candidates. Think outside the box and understand that those who have learnt one skill can quickly pick up another with some training e.g. a solar roofing electrician could take a job on a solar farm construction project and build on their core knowledge of solar installations to become competent in an adjacent industry.

Improve compensation and benefits

This may seem obvious, however due the direct financial impacts on the business, it’s often the last thing companies want to do. But what about the financial impacts of missing out on business because you’re understaffed? If you’re not constantly reviewing and adjusting your pay rates and benefits packages to be competitive in the market you may not only find it difficult to attract new talent but may have a hard time keeping hold of your current workforce. Don’t get complacent – loyalty goes both ways and your employees are people, often with families, bills and hobbies – those extra dollars can go a long way. Research and understand the market rates for the roles you are recruiting for and those you currently have and adjust your compensation packages accordingly.

Enhance employer branding

Nobody wants to work for a soulless company. People want their work to mean something. Building a strong employer brand can help attract talent. This includes creating a compelling company culture, showcasing employee testimonials, and highlighting the company’s values, mission, and vision. Leverage social media and online platforms to showcase your company’s culture and values to attract candidates.

Provide opportunities for skill development

Investing in employee development programs helps to attract new talent as well as upskilling and reskilling your existing workforce, promoting employee loyalty. This can include providing training programs, mentorship opportunities, and career advancement pathways. By offering opportunities for skill development, you can attract candidates who are looking to enhance their skills and advance their careers.

Streamline recruitment processes

Optimise your recruitment processes to be efficient and effective. Lengthy and complicated recruitment processes can deter candidates from applying or accepting offers. Some may even get another job while they’re waiting to progress to the next stage. Simplify the application and interview process, provide prompt feedback to candidates, and ensure clear communication throughout the recruitment process to ensure a positive and effective candidate experience.

Retain and engage existing talent

Retaining and engaging existing employees during a skills shortage is a must. Show your employees you value them and what they contribute to the business. This can include offering competitive compensation and benefits, providing opportunities for career growth, recognising and rewarding performance, and creating a positive work environment. By retaining the services of an existing employee, you’re saving yourself the cost of recruiting and training a new employee – so it’s an investment that pays off every day.

There’s no silver bullet but recruiting talent during a skills shortage requires a proactive approach. By implementing these strategies, companies can increase their chances of attracting and retaining top talent amidst huge competition for workers.

Cat qualified employee