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  • Writer's pictureHR Choice


Struggling with attracting and keeping talent in a tight labor market? You’re not alone.

Being competitive during a labor shortage can be especially challenging for small and medium sized businesses. Taking a proactive approach and creating your own internal talent pipeline with the perfect candidates is a life saver.

The unemployment rate is at a historic low and with little relief in sight. Employers need to get creative and take the long view when developing talent strategies. Investing in and developing the talent you have in order to meet the workforce demands of the next few years is worth the time, energy and investment.

We recommend the following 3-pronged approach:

Identify and Develop Internal Bench Strength

Get started by evaluating your current employees to determine those employees with potential for greater responsibility and who would benefit from additional training and development. Commonly, the higher level the position you have to fill, the smaller the external talent pool will be. By shifting to a “promote from within” strategy, your open positions will change to lower level requirements, making them easier to fill. With this change in focus from an external to internal search for talent, your staffing success will be significantly and positively impacted.

Map Out Career Paths That Encourage Employees to Choose Your Company ‘First’ Before Looking for Their Next Job

Once an employee is in their job for two-three years, they start looking for their next job. Rather than having them look outside of your organization, help them ‘Choose You First.’ This can be done by supporting and encouraging your employees to take control of their professional career goals by helping them explore new career options within the company. It can also be done by providing training to enhance their skills to broaden and deepen experience in a current position. Generate interest and excitement by sharing success stories of employees who have been promoted from within. Map out potential career paths and lateral opportunities. Be on the lookout for high-potential employees. Offer educational assistance, job shadowing and job share opportunities, mentoring and cross-training. Make it easy for them to develop by providing information on available resources such as adult learning and area schools with relevant degree programs.

Ensure your Managers are Involved and Prepared

Managers play an important role in both building bench strength and mapping out career paths. Involve them in all discussions related to your overall talent strategy. Ask them for what has (and hasn’t) worked for them before. Provide them with necessary training and development opportunities so that they understand both their role and level of leadership influence to support employee development and growth. And, ensure you have the right managers in place to support your overall organizational strategies and vision.

Finally, while the majority of this article has been focused on building your internal pipeline, it’s important to continue to build your external pipeline. This is especially true for those entry level roles your organization will need to fill as employees grow and fill higher level positions.

At HR Choice, we can help you reduce your reliance on outside talent, leverage the internal talent you have and focus on your best asset; your people. Call us today!

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