Do you have trouble finding qualified employees for positions at your business? If you answered “yes,” you aren’t alone. There is a nationwide shortage of qualified employees, and not just in highly specialized industries.
In fact, most employers find it difficult to not just recruit employees, but to retain them. It’s one instance why low unemployment isn’t completely positive – companies scramble to find people who aren’t already employed and seek work.
A big problem
Some company leaders in Omaha have labeled the current hiring environment a “workforce crisis,” the Omaha World Herald said. Local companies now turn to outsourced employees outside Nebraska to fill positions they can’t fill here. This seems to most impact the tech industry, but it affects many industries.
Harder times approach
As baby boomers approach retirement age, most companies fear the problem will only worsen as they scramble to replace retirees. An annual survey done by The Independent revealed manufacturers are particularly concerned about the impending increase in unfilled positions.
The group is run by local business leaders from a variety of industries who want to help assure economic progress throughout the state. It’s a step toward dealing with the shortage of qualified employees.
Retention vs. replacement
Most business leaders know it’s far less costly and far easier to retain qualified employees than to find new ones. So how do you hold on to the employees you have? CIO says there’s much more to keeping top employees than salary increases.
Selecting employees who are a good fit from the start gives you an edge in keeping them around. But what happens when you can’t find anyone to begin with, as can sometimes be the case in today’s employment climate?
Keep employees learning
CIO says the key to employee retention is to provide learning opportunities and clear paths for advancement. When employees know they can work toward a promotion or better role, they’re more motivated to stay. You don’t want your employees to feel they’re stuck in a rut with no way out.
Benefits are important
You may think you know what benefits keep your employees around. But if you haven’t yet asked them which they consider most valuable, you might offer benefits that don’t entice people to stay. For example, what benefits do you offer that promote a healthy work/life balance? Yes, you want your people invested in their careers, but you don’t want them to do so to the detriment of their personal lives – that’s simply not sustainable.
An open-door policy can do wonders to get feedback from employees, but anonymous polls and surveys might reveal issues they wouldn’t directly approach you about.
Ask for feedback and offer ample opportunities for anonymity. Then act on the responses you get. If employees see you take action based on their feedback, they’ll feel better valued and are less likely to leave.
The brighter side
Some experts say the employee shortage is actually a result of economic prosperity. Lower unemployment coupled with thriving industries simply means there are fewer people looking for work.
It’s quite likely the skilled people you need are right here in Nebraska – they just already have jobs they like. And while that’s difficult for your company, it points to a positive overall economic environment.