Around the world, workers are handing in notices and heading for the exit door in record numbers in what’s become known as the ‘Great Resignation’. Job vacancies are soaring, leaving businesses sorely lacking skills in key areas.
Predictably, talent concerns are rapidly rising to the top of the C-Suite agenda, with clear expectations that a tight labor market will be a significant business disruptor in 2022.
In Deloitte’s 2022 CEO Priorities Survey, the majority listed attracting and recruiting talent (57%), designing a post-pandemic workplace (53%), and retaining talent (51%) as the top challenges to their organization’s talent and workforce goals.
Businesses are naturally inclined to constantly source new talent and can often be very selective with candidates.
However, as the economy reopens following the end of COVID-19 restrictions, demand for talent is fast outstripping supply. It’s now a candidate-driven market and, with hiring being fiercely competitive, businesses need to start exploring alternative means of tackling skills shortages.
Looking to attract external candidates is still a valid and essential recruitment strategy. But it’s no longer viable to have a strategy based solely on hiring completely new talent into the business.
Instead, companies should consider the following three strategies – or the ‘three Rs’ – to help plug skills gaps this year and into the future.
Job redesign seeks to find a more optimal combination of tasks in a job role to enhance productivity and efficiency. However, companies often fall into the trap of ‘competency creep’ by designing work and job roles with such a broad range of required competencies that it becomes a mammoth task to find or develop talent that suits these roles.
Many candidates loathe overly prescriptive job descriptions, such as having five years’ experience in XYZ with a specific degree or requiring a vast number of technical and soft skills. So much so, that these job ads may put them off applying altogether. To avoid this, explore where roles can become more flexible and inclusive.
When assessing internal and external candidates, consider the importance of transferable skills, personal qualities, and potential to grow.
To build strong talent pipelines, work with your recruitment teams and agencies on redesigning how you recruit. They should target the total skills market by looking at in-house talent with adjacent skills, candidates with self-taught skills and – given the growing popularity of remote work – people in different geographic locations.
However, the redesign strategy also extends to the work environment. With work-life balance becoming a gamechanger, make sure your pay and benefits packages are up to scratch.
You may also need to make fundamental changes to your company culture, office space, or employer brand. Actively listen to employees and gather feedback on what matters to them most in their roles and working experiences.
The most common use of redeployment refers to the internal movement of existing employees – redeploying them in new positions. The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that by 2025, up to half of all roles could be automated to some extent.
Therefore, as part of their workforce management strategy, businesses can move employees from increasingly automated areas to roles not likely to be affected anytime soon.
These may include roles responsible for the successful deployment of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) or robotics, or ones that still fundamentally require a ‘human touch’.
Combine people analytics with key business metrics to get a full view of your workforce and identify the possible opportunities for redeploying existing employees.
Do not restrict the redeployment process to automated areas only, as some departments may also be over or under-resourced.
Another tactic is to redeploy contract or temporary workers after their current contract expires, especially candidates already familiar with your business and with a good reputation. This approach is particularly beneficial in high-churn industries like retail and hospitality.
Businesses may also apply redeployment to permanent employees who have left the company in good standing, and that could be open to a return.
Whereas the ‘Great Resignation’ has dominated headlines recently, the pendulum may well swing back in the form of the ‘Great Boomerang’ (or ‘Great Return’) that will see former employees returning to their previous employers. Such candidates may still exist in your employee database.
No amount of redesign or redeployment will be entirely successful without reskilling or upskilling existing employees. This is fundamental to helping you develop the required skills within the business without necessarily spending time or money hiring pre-qualified people.
Investing in employee learning and development (L&D) tools can contribute to better business outcomes for any organization.
Employees are increasingly looking for employers willing to support them in career development, forging a unique career path and providing them with continuous learning opportunities.
A recent study verified this, where 60% of CEOs agree that a strong upskilling program positively impacts their company’s culture.
Even more pressingly, the WEF points out that 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years, with 40% of workers requiring reskilling in six months or less. Over the same period, the share of core skills that will change for workers set to remain in their roles is 40%.
Companies survive times like these solely with a workforce that’s flexible, agile, and ready to learn. Therefore, to help future-proof your business, reassess your L&D budget and see if there is room to expand it in the coming year.
Now is the time to look inward at your organization and assess the talent you do have.
Analyze their current skill sets and identify transferable skills, then redesign work and job roles accordingly to assist with redeployment.
Finally, upskill your workforce with personalized and collaborative learning opportunities, easily accessible cross-training, and mobile learning.
After all, the skill sets needed for job competencies you haven’t hired for yet most likely live in your organization already.