Is a sustainable approach to talent management in a context of skilled labor shortage possible?
The challenges associated with the shortage of skilled labor are many and vary from one sector of activity to another. Organizations must work hard to increase their attractiveness and have an “employer brand” that differentiates itself from the competition. Increased social media presence, flexible work hours and a stimulating work environment are among the current solutions and are generally considered for “short-term” results because of their immediate appeal.
Longer term solutions are strongly suggested because of their ability to retain talent and enhance employee loyalty. Evaluate the potential of talent, not their current skill or knowledge sets; aim to hire talent sharing common organizational values, implement skill development programs, or survey the level of employee engagement through the implementation of survey strategies, for example. These proven solutions generally enable organizations to achieve a sustainable approach to talent management and to be less likely to be directly affected by the current shortage of skilled labor.
It is obvious that each organization must work within its boundaries and capabilities (i.e., financial resources, human resources, strategic directions, operational deliverables, timelines, etc.) in carrying out some of the activities outlined above. Prioritization of activities necessarily involves organizational awareness of talent management. An organization must ask itself several questions. What are its challenges? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Who are its competitors and what are they doing better than them?
For example, an organization that has a healthy employee retention rate but that cannot attract highly qualified candidates should probably work on strategies to enhance their brand image. Another example. An organization with excellent working conditions and higher wages than the market average but unable to bring its talents to another level should certainly opt for a strategy of skill development or evaluation of potential for hiring. In sum, the challenges to the shortage of skilled labor are significant and will continue to grow in a short and medium-term perspective. However, several solutions, sometimes even internally, are available to overcome them. In conclusion, it is possible to have a sustainable approach. It is enough to plan the solutions well and to implement them effectively in order to achieve the expected results.
Nicolas Roy, Vice President, EPSI