human resources labour shortage

Labour shortages are here to stay

Well, for at least the next 10 years anyway, according to BDC’s new Labour Study, published September 2018. About 39% of 1208 private businesses surveyed across Canada reported difficulties recruiting employees, and 65% of these reported that the difficulties were adversely impacting their performance.

With boomers already retiring more quickly than new workers (youth and immigrants) enter the labour force, and with our economy expected to grow by about 2% this year, employee recruitment and retention are becoming ever more challenging. BC is one of the harder-hit regions of Canada, with 45% of private companies reporting recruitment difficulties. The sectors affected most are manufacturing, construction, and retail.

Aggressive competition for talent

What can be done? The short answer is business owners need to compete more aggressively for the shrinking pool of candidates, find efficiencies internally, and invest in human resource practices.

Competing more aggressively involves widely advertising your needs, possibly using a hiring service, and broadening your perspective on finding the ideal candidates.  Look beyond the traditional focus on skills and hire for attitude and fit with your company’s vision and core values. People who align with your company culture and brand are much more likely to be intrinsically motivated to join, remain, and excel. Job skills are often much easier to improve than attitude.

Non-traditional sources for talent

Consider non-traditional sources of labour, such as immigrants, retirees, and part-timers. Be prepared to pay more for entry-level workers, especially those with great attitude. Work to improve your company’s image as a great employer, rewarding employees for referring their friends to you. If nobody does this, then find out why and address the deficiencies. Make your company the best place to work.

Finding internal efficiencies is all about improving labour productivity, through streamlining processes, reducing paperwork, improving training, and automating where it makes sense. Consider outsourcing routine work that consumes valuable employee time and attention. Develop Key Performance Indicators and use these to improve focus and productivity.

Investing in human resources practices will help attract motivated candidates, as well as improve retention. BDC identifies six components of a strong HR program: an employee manual, formal recruitment and selection processes, formal compensation processes, a training and development program, self-managed teams with clear mandates, and open information sharing. Every business needs all these to support growth.

Our e-book The Recruiting Cycle – how to have the one thing that matters more than anything else: a talented team is available for free download. It provides a more in-depth discussion of these important topics.

Contact us when you are ready to improve your company’s success in employee recruitment and retention.

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