In this competitive job market, finding the right talent can be difficult. America’s talent shortage has reached unprecedented levels. Research shows that talent shortages are now the number one risk facing companies around the world [1]. With this in mind, we've interviewed Agatha Drake, President of One Haus to provide her insights and top tips to creatively respond to this challenge.

What are the top reasons for the talent shortage?

The talent shortage is being driven by a confluence of factors. Primarily, we are seeing a record number of skilled talent leaving the market to pursue other roles in different industries, or taking non-traditional roles (gig, part-time/temp work). Additionally, many workers are taking sabbaticals or retiring early. The “Great Resignation” of 2022 was spurred by the pandemic and employees feeling dissatisfied with industry practices, wage disparity among employee classes and between industries, and the pursuit of individual goals around work-life balance, work environment, and career development, etc.

Motivations have shifted and workers are reevaluating the way they fit within organizations and how organizations fit within their lifestyles. The value proposition has evolved. It is no longer only about career advancement opportunities, increased wages, and better benefits (although those are still very important factors). Workers are assessing the pros and cons of working for specific employers and within specific industries and are looking towards qualitative markers and intangibles - work environments, company mission, and culture, and learning and development - which have all become critical to attracting and retaining talent.

What changes have you seen in the way organizations approach learning and development?

As more companies grapple with the labor shortage and increasing skills gap, Learning and Development (L&D) has become more critical to talent attraction and retention. Many studies have shown that employees who are given continuing education resources feel more valued and confident in their roles and with their growth opportunities and, in turn, show more loyalty. Companies are coming to recognize that L&D is a compelling benefit to workers and a competitive differentiator. As such, companies are investing more dollars into this bucket.

At One Haus we have seen an uptick in requests to fill L&D roles with our clients. We have also seen heavy investment in technology platforms, like Opus, that offer accessible training programs that are adaptive and engaging to various levels of the workforce. The L&D programs themselves have evolved and are including more life skills/mental health training as well as addressing generational differences within the current workforce (Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z all working side-by-side) and how to engage a broad range of skills and abilities and learning styles. Gamification has also become more prevalent within L&D programs.

What is re-skilling and how is this valuable to recruitment?

There is a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand in the labor market. Some industries, like hospitality, are losing a disproportionate level of viable workers and struggling to attract talent, leaving employers scrambling to find workers in a desolate hiring landscape. Enter reskilling.

Reskilling is teaching employees an entirely new skillset allowing workers to switch lanes and move into new roles within new organizations and industries. It involves on-demand training and learning. Reskilling can be beneficial to both employer and employee in that it offers a solution for employees facing hiring challenges to fill vacancies and gives workers the opportunity to find new jobs (potentially in different industries) and build new skillsets. In a depleted talent market, an employer willing to employ reskilling of the workforce creates an opportunity to build a wider funnel of talent by opening up the search to non-skilled workers or new entrants into the workforce. Offering on-the-job training and not requiring applicants to have existing technical skills will yield a greater candidate pool and can limit the time to fill roles.

Additionally, upskilling focuses on building upon the existing skillset of employees so they sharpen skills and gain new abilities which increases employee contribution and growth path.

Through re-skilling and upskilling, employers are investing more in their workforce to solve both current and future needs. By focusing on developing the staff they already have, companies are able to capitalize on employees’ institutional knowledge and loyalty while at the same time giving career advancement opportunities to their workforce and increasing the likelihood of retention. Furthermore, training existing employees reduces recruitment and onboarding costs associated with hiring new employees.

What resources and opportunities can organizations give potential employees to ensure engagement, productivity, and brand loyalty?

Studies the happier an employee is, the more productive they are.

At the top of the list are continuing education and mental health benefits. Companies that invest in the development and well-being of employees see greater levels of productivity, loyalty and retention. Investing in L&D creates pathways for advancement for employees and promotes loyalty and increases the likelihood of retention and also contributes to employee referrals and talent attraction. Furthermore, with the rate of burnout increasing, mental health programs and benefits offer employees resources to manage stress, build better life skills, and develop personal/social well-being.

Should employers change their expectations in recruitment?

Recruitment in today’s market is very challenging. Competition for talent is at an all-time high and employers need to be flexible with their recruitment approach. Sometimes this means altering recruitment practices and/or shifting expectations. The more a business can flex and adapt, the better chances of success they will have. Below are some key points to consider.

  • Reduce the interview process timeline - candidates are being swooped up quickly. Long drawn-out interview processes have a negative impact on hiring. Limit unnecessary meetings, and panel interviews, and capitalize on technology for faster scheduling (hello Zoom!).
  • Hire for aptitude and reskill or upskill workers.
  • Consider remote or hybrid work scenarios to be competitive and engage a broader candidate pool.
  • Clearly define your mission statement. Workers are focusing on corporate culture and want to understand a company’s “why” and how it is aligned with their own value systems. Purpose-driven companies are more attractive to today’s talent pools.

How do partnerships aid the increase of talent recruitment?

Partnerships in the form of outside recruitment agencies (like One Haus), L&D platforms like Opus, or best-in-class businesses (product, service, beloved brand, etc) can help attract talent both direct and indirectly. It goes without saying how partnering with a third party recruitment agency has a direct impact on talent recruitment. But, there are partnerships that can indirectly influence talent recruitment. For example, partnering with L&D platforms that support continuing education, like Opus and its deskless, smart phone based training module, can help to influence a candidate’s interest in a company because a candidate may prefer this style of training versus old traditions methods. Due to this focus on innovative technology platforms, the candidate may feel the company is more progressive and dynamic than a competitor without this type of technology. Same goes for patterning with certain brands that have loyalty or respect within an industry. Partnering with a legitimate and revered brand helps to legitimize your own brand as people often believe in the “birds of a feather” adage where like begets like.