Your Talent is Going to Walk Out…How to Save your Workforce

One thing we’ve heard over the past year or two is that it’s difficult to find the talent necessary to deliver the production rates needed by businesses to meet customer demands. Many positions are being filled by people that don’t have the skills necessary to fulfill the job.

Managers and HR Directors are throwing “bodies” at problems rather than hiring the required talent to get the job done adequately – simply because the best employees are already working somewhere else!

This year marks the lowest the national unemployment rate has been since 2007! *Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that the unemployment rate is approaching the same percentage as pre-September 11. Are you ready?

To add to this issue, we are seeing Baby Boomers approaching retirement. Boomers make up just under a third of the nation’s workforce. *Pew Research Center. They fill many of a company’s most skilled and senior jobs. Traditionally, most people retire in their early to mid-60s. If that holds true, between now and 2020, we will be seeing many more people leaving the workforce.

Will there be enough replacements coming along to pick up the slack?

As Generation X and Millennials take over the workforce, companies will be required to make some changes. Otherwise, they’ll experience a severe drain on talent. So, what are the options?

  1. Create a culture where people want to stay. Create a challenging environment where people know what is expected, they know how they contribute and make a difference, and are rewarded for performing. Implement flex-time programs, and take a serious look at the possibility of telecommuting. If you don’t, your best talent will find somewhere else to work.
  2. Hire before the need. Search for the talent and skills you will need and begin hiring now. This requires a little strategic thinking: knowing what kind of talent and culture will be needed to take your company forward. And what changes will need to be made in the coming years to accommodate for newer generations’ work habits and preferences. Many executives think that hiring talent before you need it actually moves the company forward at a much faster rate. And they’re right!
  3. Create a mentor program. One thing that Gen Xers and Millennials are looking for is development. When people retire or change jobs, their relationships with customers leave, and so does the experience and intellectual capital. Begin a process to transfer that information to other talented professionals within your organization. This process needs to be purposeful. Not formal and stuffy.
  4. Train individuals to be prepared for promotion. Yes, it’s time to start succession planning. Create a list of beliefs, experience, skills, and knowledge a person will need to become available for advancement. From this list, mentor them to create the opportunities to learn.

Although these are just a few suggestions, they can make a huge impact on the future talent pool of your company. You have a choice here. Wait until you’re struggling to find the talent needed to meet company goals, or begin the process now. Stay ahead of the game. The investment now is likely to get you a much greater return.

Not sure how to start planning for the future?

Here are some symptoms that may indicate it’s time to start succession planning!