Addressing the labour shortage: Making intelligent use of human resources
Wherever we look, we see a shortage of labour. And here I am deliberately not only talking about a shortage of skilled workers in the sense of academically trained specialists. There is also a shortage of workers who have completed vocational training or have been trained for certain jobs.
Almost all branches of industry and commerce as well as the public sector are affected by the labour shortage. But what to do in times of need? Blind actionism is – in my experience – not a solution. But there are various strategic approaches to approaching a solution. Even if the following suggestions and ideas sound as if they are classic HR tasks – in fact they are strategy topics that should fit your company. Therefore, please feel free to arrange a strategy meeting in which we discuss these and possible other approaches.
Strategy approach 1: Intelligently exploiting the potential of managers
In almost every business organisation it is possible to distribute responsibilities of managers differently in order to use qualified personnel intelligently and create synergies. Here is an example:
In a service company, the head of HR dropped out at short notice, and his predecessor was working as head of business development in the meantime. So why not bring the predecessor back into the HR department and organise her new area of responsibility in such a way that both functions would be covered? In this way, the HR department could be divided into an administrative part and a pro-active part for training, workshops and further education. At the same time, departmental management could be integrated into strategic corporate planning, for example to develop and introduce innovative business models.
Strategic approach 2: Targeted recruitment and promotion of young talent
Many of my mandates have made me realise how important it is to consistently recruit and promote young talent. No company today can afford to lose talent. This is not a rejection of “a breath of fresh air from outside”, which also has its justification.
Promoting young talent means two things: recognising possible talent in the company at an early stage and, at the same time, having criteria for what competencies these talents should acquire in order to take on more responsibility in the company or even to be considered as managers.
Strategy approach 3: Activate human resources
Women working part-time and older employees are valuable resources that many companies still pay too little attention to, at least in my experience. Particularly women who work part-time can be encouraged by attractive offers to take up a full-time position or at least to increase their workload. And what about older employees? Many enjoy their work and would be interested in continuing at least part-time or passing on their knowledge to junior staff.
Strategy approach 4: Reduce churn
What many companies do not consider enough is the risk of staff churn and poaching. That is why I recommend to my clients to be in contact not only with the managers, but with all employees, in order to sense what the mood is like. This way they can actively counteract if necessary. And just in case, it pays to have ideas in the drawer to be able to react quickly. Here, too, I am happy to be your sparring partner.
Strategy approach 5: Seek labour and skilled workers abroad
The immigration of skilled workers is in full swing, even though there are major bureaucratic obstacles. Skilled workers from abroad have usually invested a lot, for example in educational qualifications that are recognised here or in language courses. It is becoming apparent that immigration from other EU states is reaching its limits, as many European neighbours are also facing a shortage of skilled workers. Here, too, it makes sense to plan strategically and take initial steps at an early stage.
As you can see, there are many strategic approaches to counteracting the labour shortage. But what suits your company? In a strategy discussion we can consider possible options, define goals and then work out in detail the approaches that are right for your company and your location.
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