Over the course of human history, there have been a number of events that have completely changed the way in which people work and make a living. The invention of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution are probably the two most obvious examples, which have also led to changing the direction in which the history of civilization has gone.
We actually have the opportunity to see and experience this firsthand, as the digital and internet revolution have already started changing civilization, including the ways in which people work.
An unexpected and even paradoxical development are the talent shortages that have already started plaguing certain industries and that will affect even more of them in the future.
Different disciplines associated with data sciences are among those most affected by the talent shortage born of a variety of causes. The unprecedented explosion in the application of data sciences has created a world where there are simply not enough people with skillsets required by a rapidly expanding industry. It will take a while before the educational and training efforts catch up to the talent demand and, at the moment, companies looking to fill data-associated positions are struggling mightily to do so.
On the other side of the technological spectrum, businesses that are looking for tradespeople are also finding it extremely difficult to find the right talent. Carpenters, electricians, welders and a myriad of similar professions are in high demand, especially in developed countries. It may not seem that this has to do anything with the digital revolution, but it does. In short, everyone wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and no one wants to learn a trade anymore.
Perhaps the most alarming talent shortage is the one that is slowly but steadily becoming more obvious in healthcare, especially in nursing. In the U.S. alone, experts predict that by 2024, there will be a shortage of about a million nurses. A million.
As the digital revolution enters its adolescence (we are still in the infant years), talent shortages will become only more prominent and HR professionals have to be prepared.
But how to do it, exactly?
Take Advantage of HR Software
In order to be competitive, HR departments simply have to employ HR software solutions, for a number of reasons. For one, a modern piece of HR software will streamline the menial tasks all HR professionals waste far too much time on. This will free up their time, so they can come up with innovative talent attraction and retention strategies.
Moreover, an excellent piece of HR software will make the employee experience a more comfortable and pleasant one, directly contributing to talent retention, which is just as important as sourcing talent in a shortage.
Finally, the use of HR software enables a more holistic approach to HR, which is more easily aligned with an organization’s goals, turning an HR department into a demonstrable contributor to the company’s overall wellbeing.
Emphasize the Employer Brand
At first glance, the concept of the employer brand may sound like nothing more than a buzzword, marketing-speak, if you will. However, in the modern business world, the employer brand is a must, especially for companies that are having troubles filling vacancies. And it is the responsibility of HR professionals to build this employer brand, albeit in collaboration with other departments.
To build an attractive employer brand, HR professionals need to understand what the talent in their industry wants in an employer and how they can best inform job seekers that they are just that kind of an employer. Of course, meeting these wants and needs will require cooperation from the rest of the company, which will require some diplomacy.
An employer brand is pointless if it is not put in front of the desired talent and this is where HR professionals really have to be innovative. Social media, an employee-oriented blog and online PR management are just some of the tactics that can be used to send the message across.
Of course, this is just scratching the surface of building an employer brand and the important thing to remember is that it is necessary in the world of talent shortages.
Upgrade Established Practices
Most HR professionals have developed their own set of practices that yield the best results for them and their companies. And while they may have been good enough in the past, the future will not be as pleasant, and it might be the time to rethink some of them.
By introducing new software solutions and rethinking the most important HR practices, hiring managers and HR people in general can come up with enhancements to their processes, increasing the chances of attracting the right talent, nurturing it and making sure it stays with the company.
Just as an example, the onboarding process, which is often rushed, can usually be much improved by making it more comprehensive and personal. The interview process can also be modernized, utilizing technologies that allow for remote interviews and more available information for the candidates.
Many HR departments around the world have also become much more adept at using data collected over the years, applying analytics software to unearth trends and patterns that can aid them in finding, attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry, shortage or no shortage.
It should also be pointed out that HR professionals have to be careful not to overlook standard considerations when attempting to update their practices.
For example, going back to the healthcare talent crisis, an HR professional who works for a Californian home care provider still needs to make sure to do a background check for all employees to ensure the company will be able to get bonded (following the state’s decision to add home care dishonesty bonds to the list of California surety bonds). In other words, not all corner-cutting is good corner-cutting.
Talent shortages will become an integral part of life for many HR professionals and it is crucial that they are aware of it. Staying on top of things will become a bigger challenge than ever before and it will demand more from them.
Still, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
AUTHOR: James D. Burbank is the editor-in-chief of BizzMarkBlog. He is particularly interested in future business trends and the effects of the digital revolution on the world of business.