How to handle skills shortages within your organisation

How to handle skills shortages within your organisation

Skills shortages are a widening issue across sectors, with businesses struggling to build teams with the right skillsets. Long-term skills shortages can have lasting damaging effects on your business, in particular on your reputation with clients, your existing team’s morale, and your business’s bottom line.

Handling skills shortages involves a multi-level strategy, looking not only at how to boost your efforts to secure new hires with the skills provided, but also how to ensure your business adapts to a skills shortage in both the short and long term.

Rethink your offer

If your ideal candidates are being snapped up by competitors, are turning down your offers, or are simply not applying, developing a more attractive offer might prove beneficial.

In financially uncertain times, salary is a crucial influence on which role a skilled candidate will accept, however, if an increased salary offer is not feasible, there are other ways of making your offer more attractive.

Flexibility has grown in importance in recent years, with many placing a higher value on work/life balance, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering remote working as part of the job, if the role allows, or flexible work hours provides a more appealing offer, and give your business an edge over other employers.

Widen the search

Remote and flexible working models offer increased opportunity in hiring, as it means your search for personnel is no longer fixed to a particular locality. If the role you’re hiring for can be feasibly performed remotely, widen your search to a national or even international level.

Before doing this, it’s important to ensure your hiring process can be completed remotely, including right to work checks, which until recently were required to include face to face meetings. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to lobbying and campaigning from various organisations, including Reed, legislation has changed to allow these checks to happen digitally, using IDVT (identification verification technology).

By ensuring your hiring process is digitally based, you can also provide a faster, fairer and safer candidate experience, thereby improving your employer brand and increasing your chances of attracting further skilled candidates.

Invest in training

If the skills your company needs are not being found in new talent pools, upskilling within your existing team is another option. While training courses and other qualifications might take longer than is ideal, it’s a positive step towards filling skills gaps within your organisation that doesn’t rely on the perfect candidate falling into your lap.

Additionally, providing training opportunities to existing staff will boost your employer brand, as the provision of training and professional development is often cited as an important factor in candidates considering an employer.

It’ll also improve morale within the business, and demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to developing the potential of its team and investing in its people.

Focus on staff retention

When dealing with a skills shortage, the last thing you need is your existing staff leaving your team. Staff retention is always important for business performance, but when your team is lacking vital skillsets it’s crucial to ensure operations can continue while the search for the right new hire is ongoing.

This means being aware of how much extra work your team is taking on due to the skills shortage, and ensuring that measures are put in place to avoid unhappiness, overwork, or even burnout. This might include hiring temporary staff to take on some of the extra work until a permanent team member is hired, or offering overtime or incentives to your team.

Being transparent with your team about the situation can help to retain staff, too. Letting them know how long they might realistically expect to be managing without the required skills within the team can aid in boosting morale, and ensuring existing staff feel valued by management can help to keep staff onboard long-term.

Additionally, staff retention needs to be a priority once you have acquired the skills needed within your team, so you’re not put into the same situation again.

Ensure that onboarding processes are quick, smooth, and thorough, including fast screening processes. This means that your new team members can be working at full capacity sooner, and demonstrates your commitment to providing a positive candidate experience.

Stay vigilant

The longer a search for candidates with the right skills goes on, the more likely it is that risks will be taken. Screening and checks on new hires are paramount: the damage that hiring the wrong person can have on your business can be devastating.

Qualification fraud, poor references, histories of malpractice or work-related criminal behaviour can all point to a poor hire, and the risk to your business can be considerable.

Employing someone who looks ideal on paper, but in reality has lied in their application or on their CV and have little knowledge or experience in the subject at hand risks impacting your business performance, employee morale, and reputation among clients.

Businesses in regulated sectors like health, pharmaceuticals, finance and education require certain qualifications for safeguarding reasons. If your employees are found to be to be in roles for which they are not properly qualified, you could be legally liable and at risk of investigation for regulatory noncompliance or malpractice.

The fact that a person would go to extreme lengths to secure a job means they’re also likely to go to other dishonest lengths, too. Employees often have access to your business’s data and other valuable information, as well as physical assets and stock. It’s important to ensure your team is trustworthy to protect your business from insider fraud and theft, too.

How can Reed Screening help?

With over 60 years of experience in recruitment, and over 10 years’ experience as screening specialists, Reed Screening is ideally placed to advise your organisation on the best way to ensure that your digital recruitment processes are beneficial to your company’s performance.

At Reed Screening, we’re dedicated to making the recruitment journey as smooth as possible for both employers and candidates, to help our clients source and retain the talent they need. Speak to our team today to find out how we can streamline and enhance your recruitment journey.