A small toy figurine of a businessman stands in an empty space of a jigsaw where a piece is missing. This symbolises staff shortages.
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Fill the gaps: How employers can overcome skill and staff shortages

17 Nov 2023

BrightHR’s Alan Price advises employers on how to cope with skill and staff shortages, such as through upskilling and improved hiring practices.

Skills shortage. It’s been the phrase on hiring manager’s lips across all industries and in recent times, usually preceded by the word digital.

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, (we see you, AI…) the digital skills shortage has become a pressing concern for businesses everywhere.

But the question is: just how can employers remain competitive and maximise productivity and efficiency?

Let’s dive in.

Identify the skills your team needs and may not have

Understanding the gaps is the first step. Even better if you can match up the missing skills with the areas for growth needed in your business.

For example, if you’re having trouble hitting targets, quotas, deadlines or customer demands – your team might need upskilling in something like better time management. And by upskilling your team in this area, you’re benefiting both their personal development and your business.

Train your existing staff to fill those gaps

Sometimes it’s easy to jump immediately into thinking, “We need some fresh perspective and new talent to overcome our skill shortages”. But don’t underestimate your current workforce and their ability to learn. Plus, you might find there are benefits to offering more personal development opportunities, including boosting your team morale and raising your retention rates.

Platforms like a learning management system can help empower your employees to upskill on the latest topics and enhance the digital skills that are required for their role without you having to look elsewhere.

Having said that it’s also important to diversify your talent pool every now and then. This brings us nicely to our next point…

Click here to go to the BrightHR website.

Hire new staff members with the necessary skills

You might have an HR team that’s extremely proficient at engaging employees once they’re in your company, but are struggling to attract new hires to start with. It’s a job market led by the jobseeker, so offering an enticing package is one way to help solve this problem.

Salary will always be one of the most – if not the most – important aspects of a role.

But perks such as an employee assistance programme, access to learning opportunities, salary sacrifice schemes, discount platforms, flexible working arrangements, enhanced holiday entitlements and dedicated mental health days, for example, go a long way in appealing to would-be or existing staff.

Any one of these benefits could help get those more experienced, more skilled candidates over the line – so take note!

Offer ongoing training to keep your team’s skills up to date

One of the biggest challenges employers face when it comes to training and upskilling their team is staying up to date. Training can quickly become outdated in the fast-paced world we live in, so it’s important to find a low-cost online learning platform that constantly refreshes and adds courses to help keep your staff learning.

Especially when it comes to riskier topics like workplace health and safety. So, keeping staff aware of the latest industry-required CPD-accredited learning is key.

The future of employee development looks more digital than ever

In this changing digital age, HR needs to keep up and focus on employee development to tackle skill and talent shortages.

And as engaged employees are more likely to stay involved, loyal and productive, there’s a lot for HR leaders and employers to gain.

As the lines between work and life blur, you should embrace digital solutions to promote a sense of belonging and connectivity, making sure that employee development is a seamless and rewarding journey.

By Alan Price

Alan Price is the CEO at BrightHR and COO at the Peninsula Group. A version of this article was previously published on the BrightHR blog.

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