Challenges Faced With Hiring and Keeping a Skilled Workforce

Gina Deveney
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As the economy expands and more businesses look to grow and extend their reach, accessing and hiring the best workers and getting the most out of them becomes a greater challenge. Your human resources department needs to work in conjunction with your organization's optimization experts to ensure hiring and retention are given the same attention as any other key process for effective employee management.

The first step in ensuring your business has the right people in place is to establish that hiring is treated in the same way as other key systems, which means it must be analyzed and optimized to get the right results. Many businesses are now implementing lean processes and systems throughout their work, and these can also be useful in terms of hiring plans.

Challenges at this stage include the creation of accurate yet enticing job descriptions, advertising in the right places and filtering applications. If the post has been advertised previously, don't just use the same advert and modes of recruitment. Analyze the results of the previous hiring round to see if the job still matches the description and explore ways it might have changed over time.

An accurate and positive job description is more likely to attract suitable candidates, and the more people know about jobs before applying, the more likely they are to stay if appointed since the jobs match expectations. Similarly, choosing advertising vehicles appropriate for your target employees is important as this helps to find workers who fit the ethos and culture of your company.

In terms of filtering and selecting applicants to interview, be sure your HR department knows what the post entails in full rather than relying on keywords as keyword filtering may well lose you good candidates. Don't dismiss seemingly marginal candidates based only on their resumes unless you're certain you have a broad pool of stronger candidates to interview — it's important to hire the person, not the piece of paper, unless the job is actually all about creating text.

Once the right candidates have been found and appointed, the next challenge is developing and retaining them. Workforce retention is very much a key topic at the moment as unemployment figures begin to drop and fewer good candidates are available at any given time. In addition, losing training and development resources because a good team member leaves is frustrating for any business.

Team welcomes and suitable mentoring are good ways to get new employees to form links, but it's also important to outline and clarify company policies and procedures. Another way to ensure skilled workers want to stay with your company is to make sure training and development are implemented right from the start. This helps employees to know they're valued and useful — important factors in retaining skilled people.

Examining hiring procedures to make sure they're efficient and effective helps your HR department to find the right people. Retaining those skilled people, however, involves making sure they're properly embedded into the team and encouraged to use and develop the talents that got them hired right from the start.

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