With the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs being lost globally since COVID-19 hit, the future of the workforce is a complex topic these days as it has changed so quickly over the past 12-plus months. Now, as the world reopens, there are still 7.4 million job openings to be filled across industries, and experts continue to predict an increase in Americans moving on from their current or pre-pandemic jobs. This is a trend largely now known as the “Great Resignation” that differentiates those who lost their jobs because of COVID from those who are switching jobs now that businesses are rehiring.
On top of the workforce movement, as 2020 ended, one-third of U.S. employers said the skills gap had increased compared to 2019, and at least 80% stated they had difficulty filling openings because of skills gaps. So, how can employers put people back to work and fill employment holes in their team while also ensuring they’re making the right match? Many employers are enlisting the help of staffing and talent professionals, as well as focusing more on the internal function of HR managers and outsourced recruiters to help manage the impact the pandemic has had on the job market. Here are a couple of strategies companies can incorporate into their hiring approach to ensure they are choosing the most qualified candidates:
The Idea of “Transferable Velocity”
To meet the ever-changing landscape of the job market today, most employers will not have the luxury of just hiring anybody to do the job. Rather, employers will better meet their needs by evolving their hiring strategy and corporate environment and considering transferable velocity when evaluating candidates to bridge the staffing gap and tap into unexplored talent.
The concept of transferable velocity is a forward-thinking approach to bridging the talent and skills gap and refers to an employer’s understanding of both the obvious and not-so-obvious career trajectory of a candidate. This concept will allow employers to look beyond a candidate’s resume and consider a person’s entire story while also identifying key areas of already garnered skills and potential areas candidates have the skills to grow in. But also, reviewing a person’s transferable velocity actively provides better insight into their aspirations and future career goals. It’s time to look beyond where a candidate has been and ask where are they going.
Ways to Institute Reskilling and Upskilling in a Company
First, companies should cast a wider net in their hiring funnel. We are not recommending hiring any candidate who walks through the door, banking on the idea that they’re trainable. But it is important to be open-minded when evaluating candidates against the current job description and being more deliberate about the core abilities they need rather than direct experience.
For example, a company is interviewing a candidate who has a range of technical skills and has worked in the industry before, understands all the jargon and nuances of the sector, but doesn’t have experience with a particular software for the new role. Or, someone may not have been a salesperson but may have been in roles that required a lot of stick-to-itiveness and interpersonal skills. Both may have the basic competencies needed for the job to be filled and exhibit potential transferable velocity; they just need the training to succeed at the role.
Next, when it’s practical, companies should get their new employees doing real-world work quickly. Real-world is important because if there is only a hypothetical risk when failure occurs, newly acquired skills will quickly be lost. The employer should provide opportunities for people to work with others who may have more experience or skills in a particular role to show there is a culture of support within the company for those who are adamant about moving to that next level of success within the organization.
Lastly, when the right talent is identified, it’s important to recognize and promote from within if the candidate exhibits the acquired skills to enter the next big role. It will show to employees an investment in their growth path to success and it increases the likelihood of greater employee retention.
When a right match is identified, upskilling and reskilling can help push a candidate to fully develop in his or her current position and beyond. With so many jobs left in limbo, there is a new intensity that needs to be brought to recruiting given the dynamics, with a new level of commitment to upskilling and reskilling. Through these new strategies, companies will not only widen the talent pool but make it more likely for them to find quality candidates that reflect today’s evolving workforce.
Aaron Elder is the CEO and co-founder of Crelate, where he brings more than 25 years of experience in product development and technology consulting, and was a lead architect in building Microsoft Dynamics CRM, one of the largest CRM platforms in the world. Elder has spent most of his career hiring and growing developers, in both the enterprise and startup world, with much of that time in niche technology fields.