One of the biggest headaches for hiring managers and recruiters today is the growing skills gap faced by their organizations. With the world of work evolving rapidly, companies are competing to employ people with the diverse and wide-ranging suite of skills needed to help the business succeed.
For many, the right strategy is to expand the hiring pool, so that you can reach more qualified candidates who can help plug your skills gaps.
The most straightforward way of doing that is to go all in on a multi-cultural (and multi-national) diversity-focused hiring strategy.
This might mean challenging some long-established recruiting practices and thinking outside the box to reach the talent you need. Because the talent you need is out there. By breaking cycles of unconscious bias and imagining new ways to reach potential recruits, you can reap the benefits of a diverse, talented, and skilled-up workforce.
Here are some ways you can promote diversity hiring to help plug the skills gaps in your organization: thinking about geographical and generational diversity, taking a more skills-based approach, and considering where you’re looking for talent.
True global recruitment
In recent years, technological advances have rapidly accelerated the globalization of the modern workplace.
Expanding the geographical scope of your potential talent pool gives you the benefit of adding people of different cultures and experiences to your teams. Hiring globally gives you an advantage over locally bound competitors. In one fell swoop, you can unlock access to a range of elite global talent.
When expanding a business into new regions, it’s key to have local people on your staff who understand the language and cultural nuances. A multi-cultural, multi-national team can help you overcome regional legislative or compliance challenges, and help you speak to the local customer base.
Equally, global recruitment helps you expand and grow your business more effectively. If you can fill roles faster, you can scale faster, be more agile, and save costs.
With today’s workforce encompassing four generations of talent—spanning from Baby Boomers through Generation X and Millennials to Generation Z—it’s important to consider your approach to multi-generational hiring.
With “the Great Unretirement,” many previously retired professionals have been returning to the workforce, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise. As workplace needs evolve, these skills can prove transformational to the ability of your organization to keep pace.
However, age discrimination remains rife at both ends of the spectrum.
Research conducted for Deloitte found that over two-thirds of 10,000 surveyed companies considered older age a competitive disadvantage. At the same time, according to a survey by Intelligent.com, 40 percent of business leaders believe that recent college grads are unprepared to enter the workforce.
Some even said they won’t hire Gen Z workers, due to perceptions of them having “negative traits, including a poor work ethic, sub-par communication skills, and a sense of entitlement.”
But the truth is that each new generation is almost always criticized by the last, and each undoubtedly has its own strengths, values, and skills. Understanding these and harnessing them for your business can make Generation Z team members and workforce veterans truly invaluable, whether they’re returning retirees or just looking for something new.
Ethnic and gender diversity
It’s no surprise that team members from the same backgrounds are more likely to have similar experiences, skills, and approaches. They might tend to solve problems in a similar way leading them to come up with a limited array of ideas.
A more racially- and gender-diverse group brings your workforce a varied blend of thoughts, perspectives, and experiences. It’s also fundamental to giving your company an edge against the competition as greater diversity enhances teams’ ability to think more eclectically and creatively. In turn, your teams will generate more unusual and groundbreaking ideas, helping your business remain agile and innovative.
Not only is diversity hiring the right thing to do from a diversity, equity, and inclusion perspective, but it can also unlock access to new ideas, new approaches, and more effective cross-cultural teams.
Succession planning is a key consideration for any HR manager. The key is to take a wide view when seeking future leaders, which means looking at homegrown talent as well as external hires.
Promoting advancement within your organization helps you unlock new skills without incurring recruitment costs and empowers your people to develop their talents, reducing attrition.
Similarly, providing effective on-the-job training can even reveal people who wish to make moves across teams, growing skills that may not have been required when they first joined your business. These types of upskilling moves can help your organization adapt in an agile manner to changing market demands.
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The days of mastering one skill set and employing it across a single career are long gone for most of us. Given the rapid pace of change in the world of work and the evolving range of skills required by modern professionals, degree-based learning and hiring can no longer keep up on their own.
For recruiters, that means that a skills-based hiring strategy may be a better approach than a traditional degree-based focus. It’s important to consider what transferable skills each role requires and how certain skill sets can be applied to different positions within your organization.
For forward-thinking businesses, it’s time to completely think out of the box when it comes to how to consider what skill sets make for top-tier candidates. Agility and adaptability to changing needs are key no matter what industry a person’s professional background may be in.
HR teams, hiring managers, and recruiters must work together to look beyond traditional job titles. In today’s business reality, examining how to advantageously apply candidates’ existing skill sets to your organization is better practice.
For example, if a longtime teacher with experience in curriculum development and special needs education wants to pivot to a new career in HR, product education, or marketing, they may bring specific advantages over someone with a marketing or computer science degree. A more complex, holistic skill set can often prove extremely valuable in a fast-evolving workplace.
Think of what this kind of candidate can bring to the table and how an unorthodox set of skills can integrate with those of your existing team to differentiate your product offerings, marketing strategies, and connection to customers from the competition. It may seem risky, but “the biggest risk is not taking any risk.”
Be bold and diversify your hiring
Diversity recruiting is about much more than hiring multi-nationally or pushing for a “diversity hire.” Instead, widening your talent pool gives you access to a broader range of skills and experiences. These can prove crucial as you seek a competitive advantage, helping you to keep up with new technologies and global transformations.
Genuinely taking an out-of-the-box approach to hiring can also enhance the quality of your candidates, giving you access to professionals with a broader range of experiences (or mix of experiences) that combine to give your business an edge.
Crucially, with your customer base diversifying, it’s essential that your people represent their needs, wishes, and demands. Hiring team members representative of your customers better positions you to keep their attention and capture your market.