Prepare for the talent apocalypse

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Reducing the talent shortage in the short and long term:

  1. Retention strategy
    Have a written, long term strategy that shows how you plan to hang on to top staff. Increasing retention also reduces the cost of training because you’re keeping the individual for longer, which makes the per-year cost lower and improves ROI.
  2. Show them the opportunities
    This can be one of the weaker areas for small businesses because it’s harder for people to advance and move around different roles but by having open discussions around what career paths are available you can encourage staff to take a long term viewpoint of their time with the company.
  3. Pay competitively
    While pay may not be the only important thing, for many workers it is their first concern with a new role. Make sure you are at least meeting market expectations and if possible offer competitive benefit and perk packages as well.
  4. Leadership
    The omniscient “they” say people leave managers, not companies and while there are exceptions this is generally true. “If you’ve got poor leaders and you’re seeing turnover in those teams you’ve got to have some development for those leaders, or you need to move them along because they could be really hurting your retention,” Luft said.
  5. Teachable fit
    Look within your organization for people who don’t have the skills today, but who have the aptitude and desire for a specific role, then assess  what your organization can do to develop those individuals so they can take those roles on.
  6. Work with local educators
    Let high school and tertiary guidance counsellors know that there are talent shortages in specific areas, and that certain industries are likely to have a good long term outlook. In some cases you could even talk to local colleges about offering specific courses and diplomas that fit your needs.
  7. Credentialing
    Luft also suggested that industries across Canada needed to work together to streamline credentials, so they are accepted inter-provincially. It is difficult to encourage a worker to move across the country if they know they will have to re-train to work in their chosen field.

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  • Larry Dahl on 2013-06-20 8:00:09 AM

    "The recent Manpower Talent Shortage Survey showed 35% of employers in Canada are struggling to find the right people and skills for vacancies.... More than half (54%) said the shortage would have a medium or high impact on their ability to meet client needs.... 'There needs to be government incentives for the employer to want to train staff...'."

    You're kidding, of course! Loss of business due to the skills shortage isn't enough incentive for management to want to train staff?

  • J.R.T. on 2013-06-20 8:05:27 AM

    The problem is that in these industries you train staff and they leave, taking your training investment with them. A bonded government program, e.g. where you invest a year in training and guarantee three years work or get reimbursed for the training cost, would reduce the risk for me. As a small business owner I've stopped hiring at junior/apprentice level. I'd rather pay the wages and get someone who already knows what they're doing.

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