Why Is It So Hard to Find Good Employees?

                                                                If you desire you can listen this episode on Spotify.

According to a new survey from Protiviti and NC State University, one of the primary concerns identified by global business leaders is attracting and retaining the right talent in 2023. Three of the top four risks highlighted by survey respondents for 2023 are related to talent.

“Executives should weigh the current economic conditions to adjust their talent and risk management strategies. Employees are just as important as customers and should be treated as such in all decision-making in the coming months,” says Jim DeLoach, a Protiviti managing director and co-author of the report.

In this podcast, we talk about what factors make it difficult to attract quality employees in the current environment and how to attract the best employees in the trades.

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What Factors Make It Difficult to Attract Quality Employees?

1. Competition

Because companies all over are experiencing challenges in attracting and retaining employees, you should anticipate a high level of competition. It's an employee’s market, and you have to offer something really attractive to start finding top talent that will stick around.

In the skilled trades, the rapid acceleration of transforming technologies is presenting new challenges in hiring employees. We've talked about it on another podcast, the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). To keep pace with these transforming technologies, you need to upskill existing employees. 

One way to stand out amongst the competition is to highlight your company’s reputation. Before applying for a job, lots of people use Glassdoor and similar sites to assess what people that work for you, or have worked for you, say about you. Whether you’re national or local, your reputation matters.

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2. Compatibility

It’s not just a numbers game; you have to be very specific about what you need before attracting the right candidates. That person you're hiring today, are they going to be what you need 10 months out? 

With more specialized work emerging due to the 4IR, generalized skill sets are less and less necessary. You need to begin finding new talent and upskilling/reskilling existing talent to keep up with technological advancements. The consequences of not having the right person with the right skills at the right time can be very impactful.

For example, when a highly critical part of one of our client’s new production lines went down, it required a very discreet, specific set of skills to get it running again. The whole plant came to a standstill. And the idea is that the wrong talent, if you don't have them there at the right time, can cause a lot more damage to your current team. Rather than augmenting and providing relief to your current staff, you actually increase the burden by adding unqualified or lower-skilled workers to the team. 

So, make sure you're really focused on not only competing but having highly compatible opportunities for attracting new employees.

3. Availability

We've worn out the pandemic term “the new normal.” But we heard “the new nimble” coined recently, and we’re adopting it. This idea of shifting isn’t really a pandemic thing; it’s a reality thing. Today, and the next 10 years, is going to be about being nimble and flexible and changing and adapting.

What can employers better do to attract and retain talent? Be willing to extend an unconventional offer.

Gen Zs are the talent you're trying to attract, and they're looking for more freedom and flexibility to pursue their passions—almost this gig mindset. They know what they want, and they need to understand the vision behind it all to see if they’re willing to get on board. One Gen Z expert, Stephen Roberton who was a guest on this podcast (link is already inserted below), stated that Gen Zers ``are used to being the CEO of their life.” They have grown up in a world where on-demand, flexible, and immediate access is the norm. 

At Skillwork, we use a travel staffing model for the skilled trades, which offers desirable flexibility and appeals to that gig mindset the younger generations crave, but with a level of security. This model provides both security as well as “ownership” and self-determination. 

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4. Honesty

If you're a skilled craftsman, you need to be very honest and accurate with what your skills and capabilities are. Don't oversell or embellish your skills because that becomes very difficult to overcome once you get to the facility. Instead, sell your aptitude, sell your desire, sell your work ethic, sell your motivation to become part of a team—but don’t lie about your qualifications.

Likewise, for those out there looking for ideas to attract new employees, you have to be honest. Give people the truth upfront. The worst thing you could do is sell nirvana, and then they walk in, and it's a dumpster fire. It's more important to say, “We have challenges here, and we're looking for people like you to help us get it squared away.” Honest people will respect that.

You’ll exacerbate your staffing issues if you drive up turnover because you sold an oceanfront property in Arizona that doesn’t exist. 

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5. Location

In the real estate world, there's always the term, “Location, location, location.” In the attempt at finding talent, we're seeing that pattern a bit, too, in that some locations around the country are clearly more attractive. 

Recently, we had a candidate who lived down in the middle of central Florida and had never really been outside of Florida. And we talked to him as a new candidate about going as far north as you can go while still being in the United States. 

Now, you can think about the difference between Florida summer and that location in February. It’s unrealistic for a facility to think it could attract a guy like that to come up and take a permanent position. But would he be willing to go up there on a short-term assignment to see if it's a good fit? Solve their problem in the near term? 

Yes. That's nimble thinking, and that’s what our travel staffing model addresses.

The point is you had the talent for a season while you needed it, an opportunity that would've never happened otherwise. We have to start thinking more creatively, and location is key. 

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What Are Companies Doing to Attract Talent in the Trades?

So, what factors make it difficult to attract quality employees?

  1. Competition
  2. Compatibility
  3. Availability
  4. Honesty
  5. Location

The solution to this talent shortage, specifically in the skilled trades, is to appeal to Millennials and Gen Zs. We're very bullish and excited about what these younger generations are bringing into the modern workforce. To learn more about recruiting Gen Z, listen to our podcast, What to Know About Gen Z Before Recruiting Skilled Trades Workers, where we interview Steve Robertson, author of Aliens Among Us.

As a skilled labor travel staffing agency, Skillwork recruits tradesmen all over the country, and then we bring that talent to employers like you. We're not a temp agency, and we do an extensive amount of vetting, so we're getting you not just a person, but the right talent.

If you want to know how to attract the right employees, it’s not by running an ad in the local newspaper. Contact a Skillwork recruiter to learn more about how we can help you overcome challenges in attracting and retaining employees in the trades.

We hope you enjoyed this episode on what factors make it difficult to attract quality employees.

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