How Businesses Can Prosper Despite Work Visa Restrictions

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Work visa restrictions, and visa limitations in general, affect the free flow of talent between countries. The United States has increased its scrutiny on visa applications into the country, this time pushing embassies across the globe to tighten up vetting processes for potential visitors. This comes after other restrictions have already been handed down from the U.S. government, making it harder for employers to bring talent to North America from other countries. Additional challenges arise with the use of H1-B visas. So employers need to be strategic in thinking about their workforce and alternatives to bringing in workers from outside the U.S..

Developing a True Pipeline

Talent success is heavily dependent on leveraging a talent pipeline. Instead of seeking work visa options for hiring, employers can build their own pipeline of high quality talent both inside and outside the organization. The first step is to understand the specific skills and competencies required for business success. Which skills drive the highest value for customers? Which skills contribute most to the bottom line?

By understanding that specific element, employers can then target those skills with their recruiting, development and retention efforts. For instance, if a specific set of in-demand skills can be developed in existing employees, employers can save money while simultaneously creating engagement opportunities for workers. According to Gallup, nearly nine out of 10 millennials say that development is a critical aspect of a job, so employers should look first to training their existing workforce before seeking external talent.

Building an internal bench of skilled individuals and pairing that with an external pool of high-quality talent may be the best way to ensure that no gaps remain in critical skill sets.

Focusing on Key Talent Sources

Another element in an overarching talent strategy is to be keenly aware of key talent sources. Many employers focus on recruiting sources that deliver a high quantity of candidates, but they don't focus as heavily on quality. Analyzing source of hire data can validate your talent acquisition resource allocation. By analyzing each source, you can determine which would be most beneficial for delivering the best quality candidates. For example, if an employee referral program brings you 10 candidates and three are hired, but a sponsored job board ad brings you 500 candidates and 10 were hired, which was the most valuable use of money? In this example, the conversion rate for referrals was 30 percent, while the conversion rate for the ads was just 2 percent.

This ROI calculation shows you how to determine where your best candidates are coming from and how to best spend your dollars. In this example, employee referrals were much more likely to lead to hires, but that is a finite source, so a good mix of options is best.

Using a combination of these approaches can lead to similar initial results for a family instituting a household budget for the first time. Many find that the first time they do a zero-based budget, there is a realization that there is more money on hand than previously believed. By being more intentional about the skills and resources necessary to do the job, many employers find that they are better able to meet customer demands and deliver value because they are always aware of the skills that are both on hand and in demand. While a work visa initiative may still play a part in your overall talent strategy, making use of these options can help to lessen dependence on a program that is outside your control.

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