Now that we’ve had some time to reflect on our recent summit we would like to share some of the lessons learned at this event.
The theme of the summit was Landing Talent. We went back to the fundamentals of how to find the right fit for the company and the position. We explored the importance of clear communication between employers and the workforce they hope to engage.
It may seem overly simple, but misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace often arise from unclear or unrealistic expectations. These conflicts can become barriers to both recruitment and to retention in a workforce. When both employers and employees are clear with one another about their expectations, challenges can be identified and solutions found. This is a critical component of finding the right fit for the job.
The small population of the Western Region presents a challenge for recruitment of all skill levels. Finding the right people to fill jobs is an immediate challenge in the region, and will persist for the medium and long term if no action is taken.
Fortunately, there are available programs to help employers attract and access a greater array of potential employees. It always starts with clearly identifying your firm’s needs and services like those from Nova Scotia Works Employer Engagement Specialists can help with that process.
Another challenge we face as a region is youth outmigration. Many young people leave the region once they graduate high school. Workforce and entrepreneur programs exist in school settings and apprenticeship program at post-secondary settings. For these programs to have the desired impact of increased youth retention, willing employers are needed to support real life experiences.
We must demonstrate existing opportunities in the region in order to recruit back some of the youth who have moved away. The more young people that live and work in an area and are happy, the easier it is to recruit more, but only if they recognize the many opportunities available.
Two of the most important factors in successfully recruiting the right fit are 1) the job description and 2) the job posting.
A job description is to be used as a checklist of required skills and activities. This must be an accurate and clearly cover the full range of job duties required by the employee.
However, a job posting is your marketing tool to advertise the job to potential employees. It’s a sales pitch of the job and the whole package (the area, the workplace, the lifestyle, and all other benefits of a job.)
Workplace education is one of the ways that employers can access fundamental skills development for their existing workforce. Current employees can improve their skills in a specific area and the employer gains a more skilled employee. Training, especially in the context of advancing in the business, is a key element of successfully retaining employees. Again, it comes down to expectations – if the employer needs people to advance and if the employee wants to advance.
Other retention strategies discussed included accommodations for workforces with barriers to employment (for example: transportation and flexible schedules), enriching the workplace with social or community-based activities, and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement that engages employees.
We can help.
The Western REN can assist business-people to figure out what programs or services are most applicable to their needs. Contact us for more information.