5 Tips to Help HR Beat the Talent Shortage in 2017

Skills gaps and leadership shortages can be hugely detrimental to a company. Unfortunately, such shortages are considered by many to be among HR's biggest problems in 2017. This means we need to ask ourselves: Are we really doing all we can to beat talent shortages and ensure great company performance?

Let's take a look at five strategies companies can utilize in order to bring the right people on board and to give them the relevant tools and training they require to thrive.

1. Use Finely Tuned Recruitment Assessment to Select the Right Candidates

All efforts to avoid talent shortages have to start with recruiting. First, determine the strengths and skills your company lacks. Then, start crafting a targeted and focused recruitment effort that specifically looks for these absent strengths and skills.

Be clear about the qualities and characteristics you are seeking in your future employees and business leaders, then detail these competencies in your job ads. This saves your time, and it also saves the time of potential candidates. You should only end up interviewing employees who are well suited to the role, as a detailed job description and advertisement will let individuals know whether or not it is worth their time to apply.

Once you have a strong pool of prospects, you will want to put them through a well-structured assessment process. Excellent recruitment assessment can save your business serious time and money while maximizing the chances of a great return on investment.

If you are looking for leadership qualities or a particular set of strengths, you can use psychometric tests and targeted interview questions to separate those with real potential from those who don't have what it takes. You can also determine performance risks, those overplayed strengths and behavioral tendencies that could potentially undermine or inhibit a candidate's performance under pressure.

2. Provide All the Training and Development Employees Need

You can't simply hire an employee and expect them to develop and grow on their own. You need to provide great onboarding and ongoing training to really cultivate talent and beat the talent shortage. Employees, particularly millennials, crave training and are attracted to careers that provide scope for learning and development.

Remember: It's much more cost-effective to train and develop existing employees than it is to make new hires from the external marketplace. Keep your employees engaged, motivated, and determined to improve. Show them there are avenues for progression within your business for those who are eager to succeed. You'll be rewarded by talented, ambitious employees, and your workforce will know that you are invested in them and their futures.

3. Learn What Inspires Employees in Order to Motivate and Retain Staff

To reduce staff turnover, you need to pay attention to your employees. Learn what drives and motivates them, what makes them engaged, and what aspects of their jobs they find unsatisfying. Don't take your existing talent for granted; they'll end up leaving for companies that are willing to invest in them.

It's an employee's market, and business leaders need to shift their mentalities. It's not all about what employees can do for us; it's also about what we can do for them. For this reason, organizations all over the world are starting to invest heavily in the employee experience.

4. Know Whom to Recommend for Leadership Roles

You need to be open-minded when it comes to leadership, particularly if you're facing a leadership shortage or are otherwise concerned about the future of your company.

Deciding whom to put forward for leadership development can be difficult. We've all fallen for common leadership misconceptions at one point or another.

Promoting the wrong employee can be costly in more ways than one. An important thing to remember is that leaders are not born, they're made. If an employee seems quiet and reserved, this doesn't mean they have no leadership potential. Similarly, the loudest and the most confident employees are not always the right picks for management roles. Consider putting in place a succession-planning process, and be sure to highlight high-potential employees through structured development centers.

5. Don't Forget the Value of Coaching and Mentoring

It can be lonely and exhausting at the top, which is why CEO burnout is such a big problem. Big promotions, while usually very welcome, come with a lot of change and added responsibility. The transition can be hard to navigate alone. In fact, this isn't just a problem for the C-suite: Employees at every level need professional support to cope with such transitions and take charge of their own personal development.

This is why many companies decide to invest in executive coaches. They can help you retain talent by acting as trustworthy, impartial, third-party confidantes to executives who genuinely need help. As with every investment, you must remember that not all coaches are created equal. You need to do a lot of research to figure out which coach is right for your particular needs.

All talent shortages can be improved to some extent by emphasizing employee engagement and satisfaction. If you treat employees as valued and integral parts of your team, they will want to remain with your company and continue improving year after year.

Nick Davis is a business psychologist and director at Davis Associates.