Two Tips to Help HR Address the Skills Gap
Some hiring professionals are worried that a skills gap is on its way in certain industries, and might dampen the country’s economic picture. Whether on the immediate horizon or not, skills gaps do happen, especially at a time when there are fewer candidates than there are job openings. What might this mean for your recruiting and retention strategy?
HR’S ROLE IN ADDRESSING A SKILLS GAP
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation finds that industries such as health care, finance, computer programming, and architecture & engineering are all in the midst of a skills gap. The result: there are more job openings in these industries than there are job seekers to fill them. In the case of health care, the demand is as much as 44% higher than the supply.
A skills gap doesn’t have to be global or national in scale to affect your business. In fact, you might be dealing with a skills gap right now, especially if your current employees lack the types of skills you need to handle new projects, or if your recruiting efforts aren’t producing the results you crave.
No matter what the case may be, HR can play a hand in addressing a workplace skills gap, whether it’s something that’s looming, or is already here.
Keep reading to uncover two tips to help you identify and address a potential skills gap in your workplace.
THE SKILLS GAP AND RECRUITING
Many HR professionals know that workers can be the driving force behind an organization’s success. However, if you lack workers or skillsets you need to take on new projects, or can’t find the right candidates to fill an opening, you could already be dealing with a skills gap. How can you address it?
- Some organizations turn toward training, mentoring, and other ways of helping current employees expand their skills. Such activities typically align with your ongoing workforce planning efforts.
- Other organizations revisit the way they recruit to fend off a skills gap. For instance, they might decide to put more emphasis on mobile recruiting efforts.
Whether you agree that there’s a skills gap, or you’re experiencing one right now, there’s good news: Filling the gap might not be that difficult. In fact, the solution might involve amplifying some of your current recruiting activities.
With that in mind, here are two tips to help you stay ahead of a potential skills gap, or fill a gap you’re currently experiencing.
1. Help potential candidates get to know you
One of the ways that some employers stay ahead of a skills gap is by maintaining as rich and diverse a talent pool as possible. Doing so can give your organization more leverage when it’s time to attract potential candidates. But what does this look like? For many organizations, it starts with social media recruiting.
Consider that on average, people have as many as five social media accounts, including professional accounts on platforms like LinkedIn. If your future employees are using social media to this extent, they might also be trying to learn something about your organization. What will they discover when they visit your social media pages?
- When people know your story, it gives them a sense of how and where they might fit in—not just as consumers, but possibly as employees.
- Your social media presence can help active and passive job seekers form an idea of what life at your organization is like. From there, they can build expectations, and decide whether or not they want to keep an eye out for job openings.
- More enthusiastic job seekers might even reach out to your organization proactively, in an effort to start a conversation, and even create an opportunity that doesn’t yet exist.
2. Remember to post jobs internally
Can posting jobs internally actually help you expand your recruiting efforts, and fill a skills gap? These days, the talent you’re seeking might already be working for you. And, if they aren’t, your existing workers might have a direct connection with an ideal candidate.
- It wasn’t that long ago when most organizations filled openings by promoting their people. Nowadays, less than 30% of jobs are filled through promotion. For some organizations, promotion has become a secret weapon. If you have an ideal candidate in mind for a potential opening, ask yourself: Which current employees match your candidate profile?
- When you recruit from within, you can also stay ahead of potential issues that come up related to the culture of your organization, or specific workgroups. If a perceived negative culture is a concern for your organization, then promoting from within can be one way to help you address it.
- Recruiting from within can also help you generate strong referrals from your employees. Some organizations go so far as to create an employee referral program, which can help ease the transition for new hires, while giving your current workforce a way to be involved in the hiring process.
Skills gap or not, hiring continues to be a major concern for organizations and leaders, especially in a candidate-driven market. When the costs of hiring and onboarding can exceed $4,000 per new employee—and when it can take nearly two months to fill open positions—it can help to stay connected with as many internal and external audiences as possible.