In this piece, we shared effective strategies for solving labor quality challenges as well as finding and retaining top employees.
U.S. small businesses are ready to hire – in fact, there are more job openings now than people available to fill them
But, many of these businesses are learning about something else: there’s a dearth of qualified people ready to work.
So, while companies are ready to increase their headcounts, they can’t find the right people with the necessary skill sets and experience to fill these positions.
To underscore how critical the situation is, small businesses in the United States ranked labor quality #2 as the single most important problem in March this year.
Why Exactly Are Businesses Struggling to Find Qualified Workers?
Several things are at play here, top of which is the pandemic’s impact on the economy and people’s unwillingness to return to work.
Most experts point to the enhanced unemployment benefits and the emergency rent assistance program as two possible causes of the low motivation to get back to work.
In effect, most job seekers earn more by filing for unemployment and are protected if they default on their rent.
However, it’s not entirely the job seeker’s fault though, the owners also contribute to the current shortage of quality talent.
For instance, many are still stuck in a pre-pandemic way of sourcing talents – and unable to provide detailed information about the job opening.
Most also struggle to highlight what it’s like to work in their company. It’s not enough to offer competitive pay to attract experienced workers; most employees also consider the company’s culture.
Attracting qualified talents goes beyond posting vacancies on job boards; it requires a well-thought-out recruitment strategy, which, unfortunately, most small businesses don’t have the time or resources to implement.
Then, there’s the issue of pay. While paychecks may not be enough to keep experienced professionals, paying a competitive rate goes a long way.
- People’s unwillingness to go back to work
- Ineffective recruitment process
- Inability to showcase the company’s culture
- Poor remuneration.
are some of the reasons for the quality labor shortage.
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How to Brand Your Company As a Top Employer
Now, you know some reasons for the shortage of quality talent. How do you position your company as a top destination for experienced workers?
First, understand what’s important to candidates. Like in marketing, where you perform detailed audience research to understand prospective customers before rolling out your campaigns, the same applies to recruiting top industry talents.
Aside from compensation, company culture, career path, team members, the difficulty of work, and the company’s product or services are other important criteria many consider before accepting or rejecting an offer.
So you may want to drill down to understand what’s important to the candidates that applied to your openings and reinforce the same in your messaging.
Understand Where You Are on The “Love To Work For You” Employer Scale
To attract the top talents in your industry, you need to understand how desirable your company is as a workplace.
Do outsiders see your organization as a great place to work?
What do your current employees genuinely think about working for you?
Answering these questions will give you a general sense of how easily you can attract experienced hands to your organization.
It’s also an excellent exercise to guide your PR strategy as you begin to position your company as a great employer.
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Encourage Employee Advocacy
Your people are your greatest strength. A happy staff member can become a walking “billboard” for your company.
But it takes more than asking them to refer you to their networks to get them on as ambassadors.
You’ll need to provide proper guidance so they can communicate your message as you intended.
However, this begins with getting them involved with your entire company and not just limiting them to their roles.
You want your employee ambassadors to understand your values and mission and how what you do is important.
Then encourage them to speak about their experience and what they value about working for you.
These testimonials can be in video or text formats, which will be promoted across multiple channels where prospective hires can see them.
Share Behind-the-Scenes Of What’s Like To Work In Your Company
Nothing beats a sneak peek into what goes on behind the curtains in your company.
Sharing what makes your company special and the various programs, including community initiatives, employee wellness perks, and social activities, are proven ways to get candidates’ attention.
Additionally, sharing employee moments, which may include a snapshot of a typical day for a team member, can be an excellent way to get candidates to imagine themselves working with you.
Additional reading: How Small Companies Can Attract Top Talents
How Do You Keep Your Employees From Leaving?
Hiring top talents is just one part of the equation. The other half is retaining them and figuring out how to keep these high achievers engaged and satisfied.
Granted, you can be the best employer in your industry, offer competitive salaries and generous incentives, and ultimately, still lose your top talents.
Does it mean – you shouldn’t try to keep your high-flying people?
The thing is, people, resign from their jobs for a variety of reasons (sometimes, it doesn’t even have anything to do with you)
So, all you can do is focus on those things you can control, like:
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Foster A Learning Culture
Almost all top performers are lifelong learners.
In a recent survey by LinkedIn, 2,400 professionals were asked a series of questions about what inspires them at work.
Most respondents said the nature of the work and opportunities to grow are vital factors that keep them engaged at work.
Specifically, 26% and 19% of the professionals surveyed said the nature of the work and the opportunity to learn and grow are the most important things that drive their satisfaction at the workplace.
It makes sense when you think about it – top talents want to feel challenged enough by the work they do.
They also wanted to feel supported by management to acquire the relevant skill sets needed to do their job better.
While we may not go into the nitty-gritty of how to create a learning culture in your workplace, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
- Support independent learning and development
- Encourage team members to reflect on their work and share their learning
- Personalize the learning path to focus on skill gaps
For further reading on how to create a learning culture: 4 Ways To Create A Learning Culture On Your Team
Have A Clear Path To Career Advancement
Highly skilled candidates are often ambitious.
For most, they want to reach the peak of their career in the shortest time possible – that’s why they put in the effort in the first place to master their craft.
Organizations with a clear career advancement structure are more likely to retain top performers than those with a fuzzy system.
It’s not enough to have set career paths; it’s also vital to communicate these options and the requirements to attain them.
When employees see a clear path to climbing the corporate ladder and the skills needed for the roles, they tend to pursue growth opportunities at the company.
Further reading: How Clear Career Path Can Strengthen Retention.
In a post-pandemic world, employees are no longer satisfied with a work arrangement that is one-sided and typically set by the employer – they now want a say in how they work and where they work.
54% of respondents in a global survey said they’ll quit if there’s no form of flexibility in the job.
The trend toward a more balanced work-life means employers who work alongside employees to set their work schedule is in a better position to attract and retain highly skilled candidates.
Building a fully remote or flexible team of high performers requires a paradigm shift and changes in your company processes.
Learn more about what remote work entails and how you can transition your team to a flexible work arrangement.
Concerned about productivity issues? Here are proven strategies to keep your remote workforce focused and happy.
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The way we work has changed. Employees are not ready to return to the workplace fully, and any company that insists on doing things the same way pre-pandemic may find itself struggling to attract and retain its top performers.
Choosing a hybrid work arrangement or going remote are competitive advantages organizations can leverage to succeed in today’s tight labor market.
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