Across the UK, finding and retaining a skilled workforce is a concern for many organisations. According to a 2017 CBI/Pertemps survey, those surveyed said their major worry was the widening skills gap – with three out of four businesses saying this is a major concern for them. The BCC reports that digital and IT skills in particular are more important than ever before, and organisations says these gaps in skills are hampering productivity.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, employers do see their organisations growing each year, with 93 percent saying a diverse and inclusive workforce is important to be successful.
How can organisations recruit and retain skilled employees? You may think it’s only going to be easy if you’re a large company, as they are more likely to have the time, tools, and money required. Smaller companies may initially have to work a bit harder to develop programmes and innovative ways to set themselves apart, but once they do it will be easy to keep the momentum going and have productive and skilled employees.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are a number of things SMBs can do to accomplish this.
Leverage current technologies
We’re all working in a workplace where up to 4 generations are working together. We all have different expectations on the way we work, but with up to 70 percent of workers saying a flexible working policy makes a job more attractive, and having one really sets you apart from other companies.
This also benefits employers – no longer are you limited to selecting candidates who are within the vicinity of your business. You can now search for the best employee for the job no matter where they are, instead of those who are closest to the office.
In order to do this, you need to invest in technology that makes it easy for teams to work together, no matter where they are located. Microsoft 365 is cloud-based and has a range of applications to give employees the power to collaborate on files, communicate, and work no matter where they are. It also gives great security for your organisation – meaning you can be confident your business data remains secure.
Instant message apps, online meetings, and teamwork hubs mean it’s easier than ever to stay in contact. With communication at the touch of a button it means your organisation can easily brainstorm, solve problems, and foster important working relationships that build a strong workplace culture.
Let’s be honest here – when’s the last time you heard of a job seeker not using the internet to find a new job?
Build your online presence – LinkedIn is a great way to gather and foster your network, while having a business presence on social media allows you to highlight just how great your company and culture is.
Think about posting photos, videos, and information on who you are and what you do. Share video interviews with your employees to help others see how special your company is, and publicly acknowledge the achievements of your team. All of this can help demonstrate what new staffers can expect after they start work.
Once you have an established presence online, spread the word about your job openings, reach out to people who appear to have an interest or the right qualifications for the job, and ask your own team to help spread the word among their friends, family and acquaintances. After all, a happy employee is the best advertisement your company can have.
Employee development programmes
It’s all well and good recruiting fantastic employees, but they will move on fast if you don’t think about developing their potential and fostering a great workplace culture they’ll want to stay in.
If you have a mainly virtual team, think about hosting webinars or using other online meeting tools to help your team learn new skills.
Have an open culture where employees feel comfortable talking about the skills they want to gain from a personal development perspective, or those they need to have to help them in their job. Give them the time and/or money to attend a course or conference. This will not only benefit your organisation by helping your employees stay informed and improve their skills but will help them stay inspired and feel valued.
Creating a culture that fosters growth and that focusses on a balanced and productive life makes attracting and retaining good employees easier. By showing that you support their wellbeing and goals, you will create an environment where your staff strive to become better in business and within their personal life. For example, encouraging volunteering time, or allowing flexible working to fit around stressful times or to fit their needs better.
If you’re wanting to grow your business and attract the right people, it’s important to make sure you have the right technology, a great development culture, and an online presence.
When combined, you can not only attract those important skilled workers, but you will make your current employees feel valued and encourage them to stay even longer.