The skills gap is putting significant pressure on companies currently looking for top talent, especially technical talent. Out of 1,200 companies surveyed in a recent Capgemini and LinkedIn study, 54% have been impacted in some way by the skills shortage. Given the skills gap in some areas and the fact that it’s a job seeker’s market right now, some companies have resorted to being less selective as a result.
But hiring good people isn’t a numbers game. Trying to fill holes with people who don’t have the skills to do what you need them to do will ultimately be more costly than continuing your search. Instead of going on a hiring spree, consider some of the following strategies for putting the right people in the right places.
- Make sure current employees are in the best roles for them.
Oftentimes, leaders hire someone for a particular role when in reality that individual is better suited for another position in the company. Your employees will be most productive when they’re doing work they enjoy, so give them the freedom to find that within your organization. Just because you hired someone for a certain position doesn’t mean they should stay in that job if they can add more value doing something else.
Use resources like The Brain Type Institute’s personality tests to assess the unique attributes of your employees in order to match them with the roles they’re best fitted for. Look at the members of your staff holistically, considering their skills, personality traits, and professional goals, and then give them the flexibility to explore other roles. You can encourage your team members to keep an open mind about their place in the company by looking internally for candidates to fill an opening before expanding your search externally. You’ll know when employees are in the right spot because they’ll be happier and more productive — and you’ll gain more value by putting them in a position that best utilizes their skills and strengths.
- Train employees for the jobs you’ll need done in the future.
One way to fill a skills gap at your company is to develop your current staff into the talent you need. Make sure you invest heavily in training programs and upskilling workshops, and give your employees time to take advantage of those resources. For instance, Mercy, a healthcare group with more than 50,000 people on staff across several states, asks each technology services staff member to complete a minimum of 40 hours of training every year — an effort that resulted in an ROI of 526% and the organization’s being recognized as a 2016 Nucleus Research Technology ROI Award Winner.
Those kinds of results enable organizations to thrive even when the tech talent shortage is at its peak. Technology is key to remaining current and competitive, and it’s evolving at unprecedented rates. That means the skills that you hire for today could very well be obsolete in a matter of years. So seek out people with “adjacent skills” to the ones you anticipate the company will need, and give each individual the resources to expand on his or her current expertise. This consistent professional development will ensure you continue to have access to the talent your company needs to thrive.
- Outsource work to specialists.
Thanks to technological advances, talented people can do amazing work from almost anywhere. According to a 2018 report from Upwork, more than 56 million Americans worked as freelancers at some point during the year. Rather than hire a full-timer who doesn’t meet your requirements, find freelancers or partner with another firm to access the skills your company needs. Not only does outsourcing labor allow you to save on costs associated with full-time employees, it also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of people who are experts in their fields.
This approach to filling the skills gap is especially effective for growing tech companies. “Outsourcing or co-sourcing software development talent removes this barrier to success,” says Andrey Kudievskiy, founder and CEO of Distillery, a full-service software design and development company. It allows young tech firms to “engage expert developers for only as long as they’re needed [and] hand-pick the expertise and intellectual capital” they require to achieve their goals.
Unemployment remains at historical lows, and the war for talent isn’t ending anytime soon. Rather than succumbing to shortages by hiring people who may not be a good fit, consider the resources available to you both inside and outside of your organization. No matter what work you need done, there are probably capable people available to do it. Don’t stop looking until you either find them or train them to do it.
Written by Rhett Power.
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