11 ways business leaders in large markets can address staffing challenges

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Finding new talent in a tight workers’ market is a challenge for any company. But when you’re a business leader in a large market, addressing staffing challenges during a labor shortage requires thinking outside of the box. In the current economy, filling a post takes more than an ad in the paper or posts on online job sites.

The Business Journals

Whereas it used to be up to job seekers to convince companies they were a good choice, today, a business leader has to convince job seekers that their company is a great place to work. Even then, it may be necessary to do some creative thinking to fill any gaps until you’re fully staffed. Here, 11 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share some ways business leaders in large markets can address staffing challenges.

1. Start conversations on social media.
Sharing culture consistently, especially on LinkedIn, is one way we’ve helped clients (from regional players to multinationals) capture job seekers’ attention. There is a lot of competition for talent right now; showcasing current leaders’ and employees’ perspectives is key to winning the best hires. An employee engagement initiative on social (with a specific hashtag) to let colleagues share how much they love working at your company can also help — if it’s executed sincerely and isn’t just lip service. The more you stay involved and relevant in conversations that matter to your target employees, the easier recruitment will become. – Jen Vargas, JVComms

2. Upskill or cross-train your existing employees.
Being in a large market with a labor shortage can present new challenges to business leaders, as finding and hiring new talent becomes more challenging. A common way to address staffing challenges is to upskill and/or cross-train your existing employees to bridge your organization’s gaps. Another option would be to hire people who may not match the existing skill requirements but are willing to learn. I always tell my team to hire people for attitude, not just for skills. – Sanjay Jupudi, Qentelli

3. Engage with the talent pool before you need to hire.
Just as with any “sales” pitch, engaging with your community of potential talent before you need to hire is key. What value can you offer the people who have the skills you will need in the future? Whether it’s a simple “How to prepare to get hired at MyCo” page on your website with a Q&A feature or the sponsorship of an event that the community attends, there are a thousand ways of engaging with potential employees before you have an open position. Regardless of how simple it is, having a “future employee” strategy — in the same vein as your sales strategy — will ensure that you’re way ahead of your competition. – Daniel Sweet, Sweetview Partners, Inc.

4. Evaluate the person first and the CV second.
Meet people where they are. Our climate today calls for us to be creative and actively meet the needs that today’s employees are looking for. Lead by valuing a candidate first and their CV second. This could include company-led networking opportunities where the goal is to expand beyond what’s on paper and learn who people are or what they can bring to the table. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

5. Consider broadening your talent pool through a remote work strategy.
Be broad in your definition of where work happens. Not only is that advocacy for a work-from-home strategy (if it makes sense for your in-person employees), but it’s also a call to consider what work can be done in another country. Another call to action is to spend resources automating work where possible to diminish some of your human capital needs. Lastly, develop a pipeline of junior talent, and grow it aggressively. – Kimberly Janson, Janson Associates

6. Write ads from a behavioral viewpoint.
We write our ads from a behavioral viewpoint. Rather than talk about tasks and duties, we focus on attitude, learning opportunities, culture and purpose. We can teach the necessary skills to the right person, but skills won’t make up for a good personality fit. – John Dini, MPN Inc.

7. Make hiring a promotional focal point.
Make hiring great talent a focal point in the things that you’re doing to promote yourself, whether it’s through podcasts, LinkedIn posts or something on your website. Also, make it a point to emphasize that this focus is demand-driven and a positive for your business, rather than coming from a place of scarcity. – Jenn Kenning, Align Impact

8. Ask your team to record testimonials.
Candidates crave authenticity; they don’t want a curated marketing spiel. Encourage your employees to share their stories in their own words, as this will resonate much more with candidates. For example, ask your team to record short testimonial videos to discuss their work experiences rather than creating highly edited productions. Candidates want something that depicts real life. – Kenneth Bowles, WilsonHCG

9. Connect with local media outlets.
I believe traditional marketing, particularly PR, can be highly effective at generating awareness and credibility in the marketplace. Connecting with local media outlets — particularly those read by the target audience (potential hires) — to tell your story is the ultimate validation. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

10. Engage consultants or temporary workers.
Staffing shortages pose an opportunity to engage a talented consultative or temporary worker who may not be wanting a full-time job due to a personal preference for flexibility. Tapping into this option can be a win-win for both the business and the professional. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

11. Always be hiring.
The easiest way to ensure that you have a pool of people available to you at any point is to always have opportunities available for people to apply to. This can help you sidestep a tough labor shortage, as you’ll already have engagement with key people in the market. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

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