Skills solution starts in-house

Recruitment agency Latitude Recruitment is encouraging employers to think outside the box to overcome struggles with skills shortages.

Latitude Recruitment director Karen Bryant acknowledged the market was candidate-short, however she said there were other potential solutions to overcome this challenge.

Ms Bryant encouraged employers to think in more innovative ways, such as changing up routines, training existing employees further or bringing an employee in from another area.

“I think a lot of businesses really need to look at the innovation that came out of COVID and, when you have to do things differently, how clever people can get,” she said.

Ms Bryant emphasised the importance of employers communicating with staff, such as advising employees what the business needed and why extra help was required.

“Because often times if they do not know what’s happening and if they just think ‘oh I’m working extra shifts every week’, they’re not really brought along for the ride,” she said.

“They do not really get an understanding of okay this is why I’m doing this and this is why it’s important.”

Ms Bryant said this would increase employee engagement and make them feel like they were part of the team, therefore encouraging them to stay in the workplace.

She said employers could consider ways to upskill current staff and said it was important to “dazzle and delight” employees, along with asking them about their interests and career goals.

“I think there are shortages yes, but a lot of the time employers do not invest in their staff and then they do not realise until someone wants to leave,” she said.

“There will be the working holiday visa holders that come back and take up certain roles, but if you’re planning for the future then you should work on what assets you do have with your team at the moment.”

Ms Bryant also emphasised the importance of developing a great training and onboarding process for new employees.

“If they get a really good training and onboarding period, they’re probably going to be up to speed, you’re not going to be too far behind where you were, but often people really forget that,” she said.

“If you have got your procedures to onboard set up, it will make it so much easier for when you do get that person on board even if it takes that little bit longer.

“The more effort you put in up front, the less back-end management you’re going to have to do in terms of correcting behaviours and correcting issues.”

She said being an “employer of choice” was a major advantage when recruiting new staff, which meant being a great employer so people would want to work for them by choice.

“If you are running a good operation, if you are thinking differently when needed and treating your people well, hopefully you will find it easier to attract people,” she said.

Ms Bryant said although some jobs were very challenging to recruit for, such as trades, diesel mechanics, fitters and welders, these people essentially had their pick of anywhere they wanted to work.

“So they get to choose, who’s the best to work for, who has the best reputation, who’s offering the best benefits,” she said.

Ms Bryant said it was also more important than ever to offer flexibility, such as working from home days, along with bells and whistles to attract staff.

“Studies have shown now that nobody, or a very, very small percentage of people, want to go back to a full-time office role, they do not necessarily do not want to return but they want to get to choose, they want the flexibility,” she said.

“If you have the flexibility of working from home, then if you do not offer it you’re definitely going to lose out on candidates.”

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