If you’re part of an organization that’s having a difficult time finding and retaining a skilled workforce, you’re not alone. It’s a worldwide problem. In fact, in Germany “60 percent of all companies see the shortage of skilled workers today as the biggest business risk,” and in the U.S., a 2017 report stated that the country had “roughly 3 million more STEM jobs available than it had skilled workers to fill them.”
Of course, companies of every size are having trouble finding and retaining good people, but larger organizations are more likely to have the productivity tools, time and money needed to take advantage of a variety of recruiting solutions that small and mid-sized businesses simply can’t afford. Which is why smaller companies need to work to set themselves apart, develop programs that give skilled workers a better experience, and use innovative ways to connect with the best, most talented people possible. And while there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, there are a number of things that small and mid-sized businesses can do to accomplish just that.
By investing in technology that allows your staff to work at the office or miles away, you can improve employee productivity by giving them access to the apps, files and information they need online. This can help give your team greater flexibility, and the power to work on files simultaneously (and in real time), get more done at the office, at home, during their commute, between off-site meetings, and more. And in terms of recruitment, cloud-based tools like these (and a telecommuting policy), allow you to hire talented professionals well outside of your general vicinity/commuting zone – which can automatically improve your odds of finding the right person for the job.
In addition to apps that allow your team to perform their day-to-day jobs, there are also instant message apps that make it easy for people miles apart to connect securely, brainstorm, and solve problems in real time – and keep lines of communication open between staffers who’ve never even met. Some of these tools even allow you to host group chats, stream meetings, and post videos that you can use to build a strong culture, even in a teleworking environment.
Although millions of people around the world telework to some degree, it’s still largely seen as a luxury, and by having the tools in place to offer it to your team can help set you apart.
Online recruitment can be a boon to companies looking for skilled workers, but you can’t expect a “cold outreach” approach to help you land the perfect new hire if your online presence is minimal. So, use social media to your advantage and create an online presence that helps highlight your brand and tell the story of your incredible organizational culture, flexible work options and your technology. Think about posting photos, videos and information on who you are and what you do, share video interviews with your employees that can help others see how special your company is, and publicly acknowledge the achievements of your team. All of this can help demonstrate what new staffers can expect after they start work.
With your image tended to, use your social media sites to spread the word about your job openings, reach out to people who appear to have an interest or the right qualifications for the job, and ask your own team to help spread the word among their friends and acquaintances. After all, sometimes a happy employee is the best advertisement your company can have.
When it comes to retaining a stellar staff, employee development programs can help. And even if you’re working in a virtual environment, you can use instant messaging, and a wide range of online tools to foster employee development. For instance, an internal mentoring program can be based around instant messaging, email, video chat or phone calls and streaming technology can be used to host webinars that can help your team learn new skills.
If you have a staffer, or a group of employees, who want to (or need to) learn a new skill, giving them time and/or the money to attend a conference or class can not only help your team stay informed and improve their skills, but it can help them stay inspired and feel valued.
Creating an organizational culture that fosters growth and gives your staff a balanced, productive life, makes hiring and retaining good employees easier. So, if you’re having difficulty with online recruitment, take a long look at your business technology tools and your culture to see how you can improve them, then take to social media and share what’s so special about your company. When combined, all of these things can help you attract more skilled workers, make your current employees feel more valued – and even encourage them to stay longer.