Finding workers for your business is harder than ever. According to June 2018 article from CNN Business, There are now more job openings than workers to fill them. With unemployment nationally around 3.8% and here in Wisconsin at 2.8% business owners and leaders are struggling to find workers. I find this issue to be profound and troubling. The reason, purely anecdotal but I feel a well-qualified anecdotal, is that I communicate weekly with a lot of unemployed highly skilled workers around the US. To a person, they tell me they can’t get hired. These workers all have one thing in common; they are very experienced people over the age of 50. And…you aren’t hiring or considering hiring them because of your limiting beliefs
We all see the words. Businesses promote it as if somehow it makes them unique; “WE are an employer of choice.” “Join us here at XYZ Company; We are an Employer of Choice.” As if that is the only reason anyone would want to work for any company. There are many problems with being an Employer of Choice (EOC). To begin with, any employer can simply decide they are one.
Further, everyone seemingly is one. There is nothing unique about being an employer of choice. THAT is the problem; being an employer of choice does nothing for your business.
So what’s the solution?
Last week I wrote about the simplicity of Problem Solving. A key component of solving any problem is to first identify the problems root-cause. All too often we address symptoms of a problem and not its root-cause. Imagine after feeling hot all we did was unbutton a collar or took off a sweater only later to discover that we have a fever and the cause of that fever is an infection from a simple cut. Trying to solve a business problem based on symptoms alone could end with the same result – you could succumb. How do you find the root-cause of a situation? What steps do you follow?
Change, adapting to change and the ability to change are critical elements of any businesses ability to grow and be sustained. New ideas, different perspectives, and experiences, appropriate business behaviors are all part of why a business should change. Some businesses celebrate their change by telling everyone they change for a changing world; or similar words. Change done right is good. With so many businesses in the US wanting to be better, to perform better, why, when they recruit for their leadership roles, do they insist that “You Must Be Exactly Like the Person Who Used to Work Here?”
Our current talent shortage is not the first one American Business has faced. We saw it during the Dot-Com bubble, and different industries have experienced it in a more specific way. During each of these periods of shortage one trend is constant; to compete businesses feel they must increase the compensation of their employees to attract and retain them. It doesn’t work. Someone will always pay more and business will continue to raise wages to be competitive.
More often than not the number one reason that business does not succeed in attracting and retaining talent is their culture. A friend of mine, Mark Leupold of Express Employment Professionals in Appleton Wisconsin describes this business worst practice as “Covering Up Culture With Compensation.” With qualification, he is profoundly correct. We are not suggesting that you not pay fair or competitive wages, but we are suggesting that there are other methods that not only are more effective but won’t harm your business. What does that mean?