With the global competition for talent expected to continue well into the second half of 2022, HR leaders are being asked to do more with less. Candidate shortages and a widening skill gap are driving up wages, which in turn, is driving up costs for employers. It is no surprise, then, that talent shortages are being cited as a challenge to business growth. Whether you are a HR team leader, a HR business partner, a director of talent or even a CEO finding the best people to support the long-term sustainability of your businesses is likely to be high on your agenda.
So, what is the best way to go about solving this problem? Whilst it can be tempting to look at short-term solutions to plug the talent skill gap, a more sustainable approach could be the answer.
Go Beyond Traditional Leadership Programmes
Employee-led mentoring can both empower employees and free up precious time and resources for HR leaders. Companies could look to allow employees more choice control over their journey by making the most of existing informal networks (diversity-based groups, alumni, returners to work) and equipping them with a framework and guidance on mentoring good practice. Encouraging mentoring within the different business functions, with variety of formats and approaches can further allow for programmes to be tailored to suit the needs of the individual.
A great way to develop future leaders whilst improving workplace equality is by setting up a junior team member from an underrepresented group to mentor senior staff. This ‘reverse mentoring’ approach leans into fostering a “two-way street” relationship, encouraging both mentor and mentee to teach, learn, and grow as individuals while developing a stronger, more egalitarian relationship. With reverse mentoring, HR leaders can identify and support their future leaders, and in turn to encourage a more inclusive culture that is representative of the future workforce.
Partnering with schools and colleges to provide early outreach programmes such as apprenticeship schemes, junior shadow boards, idea exchanges not only go a long way to providing companies with a sustainable talent pipeline, but they can also be a rich source of innovative thought. By tapping into these talent pools early, organisations can build lasting relationships with future leaders and innovators. These employees are not only more likely to be engaged, they are more likely to stick around longer.
Invest in Internal Development
With around 50% of employees leaving an employer within the first two years, nurturing existing talent is essential in the quest to future-proofing the workforce.
Talent leaks can be plugged, and future talent needs anticipated by strategically investing in existing employees. It is not enough to simply offer learning and development opportunities. To be effective HR leaders must be able review the skill level of the current workforce and weigh up the potential impact of future growth, technology, and/or socio-economic changes. Equipped with this data, companies can look to transition disengaged employees (or those in positions likely to be automated) into more relevant, in-demand roles.
HR leaders can also look to leverage technology by investing in employee career pathing tools to encourage learning and development.A good tool should not only allow employees to better understand where they fit within their organisation, but also allow them to see how they may advance their careers.
Technology can also be used to facilitate employee-led or "micro" learning. A cost-effective way of creating learning content is to empower your internal experts to build a knowledge bank and reap the compound benefits of skill sharing mixed with micro learning. Micro learning gives them ownership in their development, while delivering bite-sized training that is quick and easy to digest.
Get tactical with your recruitment marketing
HR leaders will need to consider how they can use their existing channel relationships to identify and attract new candidates and develop new ways to connect with future employees. This could include a broader focus on employee referrals or working with third-party partners such as Career Moves to identify and screen candidates. Our consultants are trusted with details of market trends through our network of industry professionals which we disclose on a consultative basis to identify recruitment opportunities for candidates and clients.
As the competition for top talent increases, so too will the need for employers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive landscape. The rapid adoption of social media, streaming video and real-time digital communications has introduced new ways for companies to connect with potential candidates. Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram a can be used to promote mentorship or intern programs and to help educate Gen Zs on potential career pathways.
HR leaders should also be aware of their competitors’ strategies for attracting and retaining talent. If a rival organisation has started offering interesting, value-adding benefits, it is likely that employees will start looking for employment elsewhere.
As global trends continue to disrupt the world of work, HR leaders are essential in supporting organisations in their bid to adapt and transform. This means that HR business partners may need to take on a more active role than ever before when it comes to sourcing talent, educating hiring managers and driving productivity at all levels of an organisation. Whatever the path, a sustainable talent strategy should both align with the current requirements of the business and look to anticipate those of the future.