The current skills gap presents many unique challenges for employers. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 6.5 million jobs are unfilled because employers are unable to find workers with the necessary skills. As the unemployment rate continues to drop, there is a noticeable lack of skilled workers in the labor industry.
NBS believes that building a better workforce starts with your employees. We provide pre-employment tests to help you narrow down qualified candidates and determine training needs of potential employees. We also work with certification partners that can certify the knowledge and skills of your current employees to make your company more credible and trustworthy.
Ultimately, beating the skills gap will require an overall perspective shift. There are some practical steps organizations can take to help bridge the skills gap within your organization.
Beat the Skills Gap with Smarter Recruiting
Begin by building a targeted recruitment strategy. The more qualified candidates you can bring into your organization, the smaller your skills gap will become. Here are a few things to consider incorporating into your recruitment strategy.
Network with local schools
Find your new employees at the source. By creating partnerships with local career and technical education centers you can discover upcoming talent and begin training them to fill specific needs within your organization. In addition, working with colleges, universities, and trade schools to establish internship and apprenticeship opportunities also gives you the ability to train potential employees. Attending job fairs and other community events at local high schools and career centers can introduce you to a pool of candidates ready to work.
Find local talent
Tapping into local talent is another way to combat the skills gap. Stan Jackson, Chief Business Intelligence Officer at ConnectEDU, suggests building your own “talent community.” You can do this by reaching out to the unemployed, working with local workforce agencies, and by developing training programs to repurpose workforces displaced by shrinking industries. Jackson also recommends “sharing the wealth”—sharing applicants you are not likely to hire in the near future. By referring talent to complementary businesses (and even to competitors), you will not only build brand credibility, but may be introduced to the talent you need in return.
Create an employee referral program
You can often find the best resources within your organization. A referral program gives your employees a chance to spread the word about opportunities within your organization. Not only is this a cost-effective strategy, but job seekers are more likely to apply based on a personal testimony from someone already within a company.
Effective interview process
The interview is a prospective employee’s gateway into your organization. A good interview can not only help you hire qualified candidates, but help you retain those candidates. According to research from LinkedIn, 83% of candidates said that a negative interview experience changed their opinion about a role in a company they originally liked.
Beat the Skills Gap through Upskilling
Besides smarter recruiting, you can also shrink your skills gap by investing in your current employees. Upskilling can fuel an employee’s motivation and equip them with the knowledge to succeed in an evolving industry. Upskilling can be as simple as enabling employees to attend conferences or bringing in an expert to lead a workshop. Here are some practical ways to upskill your employees.
Mentoring and shadowing
Mentoring is a great way to take advantage of the subject matter experts within your organization. The employees willing to act as mentors receive a chance to hone their leadership skills. Additionally, employees who shadow a mentor have the advantage of real-world experience that may be difficult to find in a classroom.
There are certain subjects where learning in short bursts is especially useful—particularly when training is hands-on and in-person. Take advantage of spare moments, five to ten minutes, to teach the most critical aspects of a training segment. Continuously do this over time, even reiterating information when necessary.
Offsite training and education
As manufacturing jobs and skilled-trades require more software and robotic savviness, onsite and on-the-job training becomes more challenging and time consuming. In that scenario, it may be easier to direct workers to offsite locations like trade schools or community college programs. Yes, workers may not like the idea of going back to school, but with the right incentive and motivation, doing so can be highly beneficial for employees and employers alike. Additionally, sending workers to local schools or programs can strengthen relationships between organizations, creating more opportunity for recruiting and referrals.
Alternative training tactics
As training material becomes more in-depth and time-consuming, taking advantage of “out-of-industry” training tactics can be valuable as well. For example, lunch and learns are very popular amongst administrative and clerical organizations, but not so much in the manufacturing industry. However, they can be the perfect opportunity to bring in a guest speaker or training expert. Of course, you may have to have a more conservative approach, training in small groups or only specific job roles at a time. Another “out-of-industry” tactic that could be adapted to manufacturing or other industries is video or virtual training. With today’s video and information technology, producing an app, YouTube video, or online resource center can be a small investment to provide workers with the necessary material to continue their professional growth.
NBS is here to help
At NBS, we believe that building a better workforce begins with your employees. From manufacturing to the culinary arts, providing your employees with the proper training is always a recipe for success. Whether you need help developing effective training programs, certifying your workforce, or providing more opportunity for professional growth, NBS is here to help. Our services are designed to help every employee work toward mutual success.