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How To Lead Through The Global Talent Shortage

Leaders everywhere are overseeing a major shift in the job market right now. According to U.S. Labor statistics, as of December 2020, the global talent shortage amounted to 40 million skilled workers worldwide. If this trend continues, by 2030, companies worldwide risk losing $8.4 trillion in revenue because of the lack of skilled talent. Thus, “the Great Resignation” has the power to blindside companies; this trend is putting the most intense pressure on hiring managers, who now must reevaluate and adjust their hiring practices for speed and efficiency while improving engagement and curating an experience. 

Ying Zheng, co-founder and president of AiFi, concludes, “We’re seeing a major shift in today’s job market, as companies that are bringing in new technologies also realize that their employees are looking for more meaningful work and career growth opportunities.” She continues, “In the retail landscape, autonomous technology and hybrid integrations offer workers more opportunities to advance their technical knowledge while working with autonomous/frictionless platforms.” Traditional cashiers – for example – have a more comprehensive range of career choices, including e-commerce analyst, back-end logistics manager, that oversees deliveries, POS systems, APP management, and store layouts. “This type of reskilling is opening the door for new job opportunities in the industry,” remarks Zheng. 

So what can leaders do?

According to is Krister Ungerböck, the WSJ bestselling author of 22 Talk SHIFTs: Tools to Transform Leadership in Business, in Partnership, and in Life, leaders can lead several engagements to help improve matters. In brief, they need to focus on amplifying the positive feelings and minimizing employees’ bad feelings toward their jobs. A good manager will, for example, bolster their team members’ sense of autonomy — giving them ownership and authority over their work. As a leader, determine which decisions require your approval and which ones you might hand off to trusted team members. Reduce the number of status updates needed, if possible, and ask top performers what you might start or stop doing to increase their autonomy. 

“Keep criticism to a minimum,” concludes Ungerböck. Instead of focusing the bulk of your feedback on employees’ mistakes and shortcomings, he suggests looking first for ways to encourage. This is because if a project fails, you can still acknowledge a person’s efforts or specific things they did well. “Make sure you offer at least as many positive comments to employees as critical ones — ideally, more,” he says. “Better still, find ways to sidestep the need to point out flaws by asking team members how they think they could improve a project or their approach to a given task.” 

Ungerböck leaders can inspire employees. This can occur in two key ways. First, leaders can set inspiring goals for themselves and then begin taking steps to achieve those goals. Seeing a leader working toward something challenging helps employees see the potential within themselves. Second, people also feel inspired when their leader allows them to see how they fit within and contribute to the big-picture, positive effect their company has on the world. When you show people how their efforts are changing lives, you don’t just give them a reason to keep showing up to work; you stop them from looking elsewhere for a sense of purpose.

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To maximize (or leverage) this moment, hiring managers should consider the following three things, according to Tigran Sloyan, co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal, a technical assessment platform used in the hiring process by companies such as Facebook, Reddit, and Zoom. 

1. Leave rigid requirements at the door 

Last year, we saw some of the largest tech giants, including Google and Apple, move away from requiring candidates to have college degrees. This monumental shift in hiring is not only huge for candidates but the companies themselves. It opens more opportunities for highly skilled and talented candidates who don’t have a traditional background but could add tremendous value to a team. 

2. Accept our remote world 

More and more organizations are finding a mixture between having physical offices and remote employees who either work from home or rent their own office spaces. The benefits of distributed teams are clear. Remote work opens up your candidate pool beyond the physical city your headquarters is located in and can often reduce the costs of candidates. Remote work also creates a better work-life balance for employees and has a positive environmental impact because, usually, it takes commuting out of the equation.

3. Use assessments to find the right candidates the first time around  

The great resignation has created a lot of noise for both hiring managers and candidates. There are a lot of opportunities, but even more stacks of resumes to sort through. It’s time to kill the resume as we know it. It’s only ever been a proxy for showcasing skills, abilities, and experience, but all too often, it’s just a list of things a candidate thinks a hiring manager wants to hear. And, most of the time, it is recruiting software that makes the first. 

We need to flip that process on its head and start with an assessment that gives you a real insight into the talent pool you’re looking to evaluate. Start with an evaluation that replicates the candidate’s working environment and ensure the score provides the granularity needed to assess that talent accurately; when you do that, you can cut through all that noise and hire quickly and at scale. 

Closing thoughts 

In a study Hibob recently conducted, conclusions found that if you want to know what your employees need to stay motivated and happy, the best thing to do is ask and listen. Surveys are a great way to gauge your employees’ current mindset and attitudes and inform future decisions. Data is the best foundation an HR leader can stand on when getting buy-in from C-levels and managers—nobody can debate data. How often you survey your people and the questions you ask will depend on the needs of the moment. Wait for people to settle into hybrid work and adjust to the “new normal” before asking them what changes they’d like to see. From there, make sure you’re actually enacting real, actionable change based on the survey insights.

Many companies can survey their people. However, it’s the companies that do something with the responses that will hold onto talent. Dr Lebene Soga of Henley Business School agrees and argues that “When employees fill out company surveys, what they are actually doing is offering feedforward, not feedback. Whereas feedback reveals how the organization has performed in the past, feedforward focuses on what the organization could be in the future. In other words, respondents are implicitly telling managers what to do to create an environment that organizational members would like to live in.”

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