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How to avoid talent shortages

In a job market that’s increasingly experiencing a shortage of suitably qualified candidates and with record-high vacancy levels, it is more important than ever to ensure your talent acquisition and retention plans address talent shortages.

With 72% of employers saying they have recently been affected by talent shortages, what can you do to keep your best people from leaving, and what lessons can you apply to your recruitment strategy?

"When confronted with skills shortages, employers need to consider a number of angles to help address immediate hiring and recruitment challenges, while also preparing longer term strategies to ensure the business has a strong talent pipeline," said Martin Fox, Managing Director at Robert Walters. 

Based on our recent survey of 226 hiring managers combined with insights from our recruitment experts, here are some simple measures you can take to encourage your staff to stay with you and attract top talent to your business.

Focus on upskilling 

A good way of counter-acting talent shortages is to focus on getting more out of your existing employees. Providing staff with opportunities for further training or the chance to take on new responsibilities, is a valuable retention strategy and can prevent the emergence of skills shortages if staff do leave. Most employees relish development opportunities so this can have the added effect of increasing loyalty amongst your staff.

Communication is key

It may sound simple, but something you can never do enough is to actually communicate with your staff. Ensure employees have regular catch-ups with management so that you are up to speed with any issues or concerns they may have about their role. You could also ask staff to take part in employee surveys. This can be a great way for people to air their grievances privately and for you as an employer to get a feel for the general mood in the office. Discovering issues that may be causing frustration amongst your team could be an important preventative measure towards retaining those who are on the cusp of making a move. 

Counter with more than just cash

What steps can you take to prevent a staff member from leaving who has been offered a position elsewhere? 65% of employers tell us that they have given counter offers of cash in order to retain staff. While it can be tempting to throw money at the situation, our research shows that 40% of professionals who were offered a cash only counter offer, go on to restart their job search within a year. Remember, staff who are thinking of leaving your organization may be doing so for reasons other than remuneration. Offering additional benefits like flexi-time, clear career progression or more autonomy in their role can ensure that people stay with the company for longer.

All work and no play…

We’ve all heard of the types of perks staff receive at Silicon Valley’s large tech companies and while these perks may seem overly generous they are fast becoming the norm as companies compete for the best talent. If you’re not already doing so, consider introducing initiatives such as free breakfasts or subsidized gym memberships. In the long run, the return in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment will far outweigh the financial costs.

Hire when you need to

If you are losing staff it can be tempting to push more responsibility onto your existing people. Remember though, that there is a difference between upskilling, and pushing extra work on to your employees in order to bridge skills gaps. Again, communication is key and it’s important to identify which members of staff are happy to take on more responsibility. Forcing an increased workload onto those who don’t want it can lead to further talent shortages, which could leave you struggling to fill client demands. If you need to fill a position, start looking as soon as possible - it can often take longer than anticipated to find the right fit for a role.

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