When experiencing a talent shortage, it is important to focus on filling the slot with someone who is a strong cultural fit for the organization.
In recessionary times, when job security is lacking, employees tend to remain in their positions even if they're unhappy. During economic booms, however, the opposite is true. Employees will test the waters to see if they can find their dream jobs, higher pay and greater job satisfaction. And when they do, they leave.
In such periods, business owners can find themselves experiencing a talent shortage. Hence, it's important to revisit or create a recruitment strategy that ties your talent pursuit to your short-term personnel objectives and your mid- and long-term goals. Here are five suggestions to help you reverse your shortage.
1. Outsource Non-Strategic Tasks
To help you address your talent shortage, you can outsource non-strategic tasks. This can aid your organization in getting those functions or tasks that have been ignored or left undone completed and help free up the time of existing personnel so they can perform other tasks.
As an example, you could outsource all or a portion of your marketing to a marketing services firm, or to a social media or online agency. Alternatively, if you have an individual who handles your IT and social media, you could outsource the IT component of that work, which would free up time for your employee to handle both your social media and other marketing activities.
2. Revisit Your Recruitment Strategy
Whether or not you had a clear recruitment strategy and HR plan, you likely have a methodology that you use to find and hire people. You may use online sites such as ZipRecruiter® or you may post on your website. Ask yourself, 'Is this approach still working for me? Am I getting the same high quality of candidates that I had in the past?'
If the answer to either question is "No," then you need to change your approach. Read articles and ask your network how other firms are successfully hiring and retaining their personnel. Options abound, from using more industry-specific sites, to providing internships, to participating in job fairs. If you continue to have issues finding employees, you may want to hire people who are a fit for your firm in advance of an actual position opening. This continual hiring will ensure your personnel needs are met quickly.
3. Use a Referral System
If you have a strong workforce, why not leverage that workforce by creating an employee referral system? Have you considered providing recruitment bonuses to your employees for referring or finding someone for a vacant position? If your workforce is highly qualified, leverage this by incentivizing it with money for providing referrals that lead to hiring. You can motivate employees over the long term by paying out a total bonus at 90-day, six-month and one-year increments.
You can take this one step further by focusing on your stars and your best partners or vendors at all levels. Ask them and offer incentives that will appeal to them.
4. Communicate Your Workplace Culture
If you're experiencing a talent shortage, you want to attract and retain the right people. Instead of the basic HR job ad, write the ad from the perspective of the applicant and play up your organization's culture. If your culture is fun, write a fun job ad. If your culture is analytical, communicate that in your ad.
Another way to screen is to include a question in the ad that speaks to the position. All of this will attract the people who are specifically looking for what your organization has to offer.
5. Don't Sacrifice the Long-Term for the Short-Term
You may need to put bodies in seats, but it's ill-advised to sacrifice your long-term objectives of high employee satisfaction, stellar customer service and strong productivity in pursuit of this. Focusing on "filling slots with bodies" will likely lead to higher turnover rates as those people leave to find something better. Alternatively, employees can become complacent and underperform, reducing your overall worker productivity and potentially weakening morale and the team. Pursue personnel that are a strong cultural fit for the business to help you reap rewards for years to come.
How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
"Managing HR solutions for small businesses is becoming increasingly complex while, simultaneously, critical for strong employee retention," said Joe DeSilva, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Small Business Services for ADP. "For many time-strapped business owners, having an added resource to help navigate the process provides the best of both worlds – a solid recruitment strategy and approach, along with the ability for owners to shift their focus from handling HR to growing the business. A successful business begins with the employees and the right talent can make all the difference."