Tackling the Talent Challenge

Businesses have survived the recession and are now looking toward the future. In the face of global megatrends, including technological development, demographic change and urbanization, businesses are changing and so is the workplace. We are in an era where the focus is firmly on expansion, growth and innovation.

In this changing landscape, business leaders are encountering profound challenges when it comes to sourcing and retaining talent. But what can businesses do to tackle the talent challenge and ensure they remain a competitive and attractive workplace in the eyes of the very best workers?

Embrace Flexibility

The availability of skills has been cited as a serious concern by 63% of CEOs, an increase of 5% from 2013. With overwhelming levels of skills shortages still affecting many industries, the competition for top talent has never been higher. Businesses willing to embrace flexibility in the way they source and manage employees are the best equipped to match demand with supply.

In the current market, recruiting locally is no longer enough to keep companies operating at the top of their game. Thanks to leaps in technology, our workforce is now more mobile than ever before. This means that employers can widen their talent search by sourcing talent from further afield by introducing remote working and flexi-hours for their employees.

Founder of online digital marketing company Exposure Ninja, Tim Kitchen, commented: “When it came to sourcing talent, all I knew was that I wanted the best. My business is multi-faceted and naturally all the best talent isn’t just sitting in one place. I set up an innovate online workplace which has enabled me to source talent from across the world.”

Re-Skill and Up-Skill

While it’s the employers who need to put their best foot forward to attract and retain the best employees, we also need to see employees being willing to adapt their skillsets to remain competitive in the job market. Given that 1 in 3 job roles are set to become automated by 2020, now is clearly the time to begin this process.

Jobs that are in greatest danger due to technological advances include “repetitive processing, clerical duties and support services” across multiple sectors. If you have good employees in this area, now is the time to consider their potential and plan out how you might reskill them so that they remain relevant in your company. Be especially aware of employees with transferable skills that, with the right training, can be valuable elsewhere in the workplace.

One of the main areas that could benefit from re-skilling is HR. Forty-two percent of business leaders believe their HR teams are underperforming. In the face of the changing landscape of business, companies need their HR teams ready to capitalize on transformational trends. Re-skilling is an essential component of ensuring success.

The Millennial Generation

By 2020, Millennials will make up 46% of the workforce. All smart business owners know they need to be attracting younger, tech-savvy employees to be successful in the future. Though many companies are still tentative when it comes to hiring Millennials, you can’t ignore the benefits.

Speaking to PwC, Brian Molefe, Group Chief Executive of Transnet, commented, “We have embarked on a comprehensive programme to train young people in different vocations using modern technology.” Transnet are one of the businesses participating in South Africa’s National Skills Development Strategy, an aim of which is to encourage better use of workplace skills programs.

While this is an excellent way to build the skills of Millennials, not all governments are investing in these programs. Another way independent businesses can connect with the Millennial generation is to liaise with university career advisors, attend career fairs and give lectures at universities. Not only is this a good strategy for raising awareness about vital skills gaps, it’s also a surefire way to promote your company as an organization that is interested in hiring Millennials.

Take Action

While 93% of CEOs recognize there is a need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent, in reality 61% of CEOs still haven’t taken action. Only the strongest leaders who are willing to take action will be able to successfully tackle the talent challenge.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

photo credit: Matthew Wilkinson via photopin cc

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