How to recruit the workers you need?

04 November 2021 by National Bank
A smiling woman chatting with a man in an office while sitting.

Do you have positions to fill at your company? There are ways to increase your chances of attracting and retaining the skilled employees you need. There are also things you can do to keep your doors open despite a labour shortage. Read on for our advice on human capital.

How to recruit qualified workers during a labour shortage

If you run a business, you’re probably well aware of how hard it is these days in Canada to recruit new staff. Gone are the days when a classified ad or a sign in your shop window was enough to attract applicants. Today, employers have to be more strategic with human capital.

Use marketing techniques to “sell” your job ads

One of the first challenges to overcome is the perception problem faced by some workplaces. Job ads should show the company’s great team environment, the variety of challenges on offer, and the potential for personal growth.

Stand out with carefully crafted recruitment campaigns: Running your recruitment campaign like you would an advertising campaign can really pay off. Identify your key messages and the appropriate channels to communicate them. Consider producing creative materials like videos, posters, or banners, which can help spur interest. The visuals and words you choose are very important. There are experts who can help you with the creative side of your campaign. Bottom line: Think about the positions you have to fill as if they were products for sale. 

  • Remember that during labour shortages, job seekers often have lots of options. So, they’ll do their research, including visiting your website and looking into the working conditions you offer. The more attractive you are, the more applications you’ll receive.
  • Develop your brand as an employer: The goal is to create an image for your company as an employer that represents your values and that will attract the best candidates. You’ve seen the benefits of cultivating your brand to attract customers—so why not take the same approach to recruiting employees?

Expand your recruitment pool

You probably know better than anyone which approaches have traditionally worked best for finding the employees you need. Whether it’s attending job fairs, running booths in schools, or advertising in local media, you no doubt already have methods that work for you locally or regionally. But there are other ways you can recruit skilled workers—broaden your horizons and think international and Internet.

  • On the web: You can make your recruitment pool much bigger. Posting jobs online is now an essential way to reach potential candidates, particularly younger people. There are specialized sites that will allow candidates from everywhere and anywhere to find you. When it comes to social media, learn to use targeting functions to reach only your core audience.
  • Internationally: Candidates abroad may also see your ad. Don’t be afraid to recruit internationally, even if it requires extra work. You could use an agency specializing in international recruitment with an established network and the ability to guide you through the sometimes complex immigration process. However, not only is this a lengthy process, it also requires special onboarding and integration measures.
  • In non-traditional labour pools: Before looking to other countries, ask yourself if you’ve done enough to recruit newcomers already in Canada. Non-traditional labour pools exist that you may not have thought of. You could meet some of your workforce needs by embracing local diversity.

How to keep a business running despite a human capital shortage

Recruiting and retaining employees is one thing, but a labour shortage is a structural phenomenon that can take many years to resolve. It could be a good idea to consider innovative methods to ensure your business succeeds despite the situation. This can entail a lot of effort, but it can pay off in the long run.

Tap into your existing workforce

One time-tested strategy is to solicit referrals from your current employees. Skilled workers will often know other people working in the same field. They can put the word out in their networks that you’re hiring, especially if you offer an incentive like financial compensation or additional leave for each referred employee who is hired.

Offer options for those close to retirement

You can encourage retention even among employees reaching retirement age, for example by offering reduced hours to those preparing to leave. Listen to what your employees say—they’ll let you know what might motivate them to stay.

Robotize or automate certain operations

Many economic sectors can now automate certain tasks, which frees up employees for other work.

Manufacturing: Robotics has been used in manufacturing for some time now. Other fields are beginning to move in this direction too as artificial intelligence and its applications continue to evolve.

Service providers: Companies in the service industry are increasingly using software that can replace people, for example for order taking or self-service checkouts.

Improve your operational efficiency

“Process optimization” is already widely used in manufacturing, but can be implemented in almost any field.

Its goals are to:

  • Analyze internal processes
  • Break them down in a logical way
  • See how to eliminate waste and gain efficiency

Once tested, the new methods are standardized. They save time on certain tasks and therefore require fewer staff. There are consulting firms that specialize in this kind of process analysis and can offer their expertise to walk you through it.

Outsource low-value-added services

In a labour shortage, ask yourself whether you really need to do everything in house or whether you could outsource certain things.

For example, a food service company might question its delivery service—could it use a specialized company instead and bring its delivery drivers back to the kitchen? What about computer maintenance? Do you need an internal team or could you contract out this kind of work? It comes down to whether it’s worth it to keep all these skills in house.

Share employees with other employers

This is a great solution for seasonal businesses. For example, an entrepreneur who operates a golf course in the summer could make arrangements with a ski resort. A farm could “lend” its employees to a snow-removal company once winter comes.

Take the initiative to match up with other entrepreneurs to facilitate employee scheduling and administrative matters.

Move away from big urban areas

The best way to solve labour issues might be simply to move your office, or an individual branch, to another location.

For example, a company that operates a call centre might do well to set up shop near a regional university campus. Another business might find it worthwhile to move to a town hit by a major plant closure.

Take some time to analyze unemployment rates by region and find out if any municipalities are offering incentives to attract investment.

A labour shortage is not an insurmountable obstacle

Entrepreneurs know that there are solutions to almost every problem. It takes imagination, sometimes a little daring, and a lot of careful thinking. In a labour shortage, you can work to optimize recruitment and facilitate employee retention or learn to get by with fewer employees.

It’s all about balance. Together, these strategies can make your team more effective and put you on the road to success. In addition to our banking solutions adapted to your business needs, take advantage of special offers from our partners to simplify the daily management of your business.

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