Companies are only as strong as their workforce. Skill gaps affect everything from a business’s productivity to its consumer reputation. Filling those gaps is essential, but it may seem impossible for those in niche industries.
Business owners can consider these strategies when addressing talent shortages. They assist companies in lesser-known industries by utilizing existing resources and reshaping how people view businesses of all sizes.
1. Outsource Responsibilities as Needed
Leadership teams may turn to recruiters whenever a talent shortage occurs. Filling those roles with educated and experienced individuals may seem like the best option, but it’s more challenging than many business owners expect.
A recent study found 43% of companies are currently struggling to fill skill gaps with highly-qualified candidates. Numerous factors affect who applies for which jobs and how skilled each applicant is, but businesses have another option through outsourcing.
Outsourcing is a short-term solution to mitigate the effects of long-term talent shortage challenges. Someone who handles a brand’s social media marketing and website publications may produce better work by focusing exclusively on the company’s website. Outsourcing social media marketing campaigns could also result in better marketing outcomes because a trained team would handle everything compared to one individual with a different skill set.
Employees would also gain more time to hone their specific skills. They could potentially fit in learning opportunities to resume the outsourced roles later if the recruitment process can’t find a suitable candidate within a short-term time frame.
2. Make the Workplace Safer
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) already sets federal guidelines for creating and maintaining safe workplaces. Niche industries like inventory management or warehouse companies follow them to remain open, but improvements are always possible.
Safety issues affect everyone in the workplace, but leaders can strategize their efforts based on their unique teams. Women comprise almost half of the US labor force but only 6.6% of the for-hire over-the-road truckload industry. Experts in this sector could recruit more women by making the workplace safer with solutions that cater to women’s needs.
Taking a poll would guarantee effective investments by putting funding toward their requested safety upgrades or changes. Female applicants would recognize those efforts and consider open transportation roles because they know their potential employer would prioritize their well-being.
Larger places like warehouses could ensure worker safety by adding additional steps like investing in smart forklifts with automated guidance systems or air filtration machines to purify indoor air. More experienced and educated applicants will want to send their resumes for talent shortage roles if they know they’ll be safer with a specific employer.
Taking extra steps to protect workers also polishes a business’ reputation. The company will stand out for its proactive decisions and placing team members before profits. That brand will attract more talent, regardless of its niche.
3. Offer In-House Training
Companies don’t always have to find new hires when addressing talent shortages. The available applicants can always build their skills through in-house training opportunities. Business owners should consider drafting routine training sessions to build on their talent pool when they can’t find new hires to fill specific positions.
Current team members can take on new responsibilities once they learn how to handle them. People with specialized skills may still need to join the team eventually, but training makes companies more productive in the meantime.
Some training could also focus on company upgrades. Shipping businesses may invest in self-driving trucks to help reduce the 29% of carbon emissions shipping contributes to the environment. While waiting for experienced mechanics or drivers to monitor the new fleet, in-house training could bring existing employees up to speed so a talent shortage doesn’t prevent the investment from paying off.
4. Create Referral Rewards
Recreating niche talent isn’t the only solution during worker or talent shortages. Businesses can also fill open roles with a referral rewards program.
Research shows 30-50% of new hires result from employee referrals. Incentivizing team members to refer more people they know could make filling empty positions easier. No one wants to encourage their loved one to work for an unsupportive or short-sighted employer. Referral programs are an extra way to prevent that problem and improve employee opportunities alongside the abovementioned strategies.
First, existing team members should get a reward for successfully getting a friend or family member to apply with their employer. Cash is a significant incentive, although additional paid time off (PTO) is another option.
When that referred applicant becomes an official new hire, the company referral rewards program can help them stay on the team. Business owners should consider a bonus payout schedule to make that happen. Rewarding new employees with cash bonuses at their 90-day, six-month and one-year employment anniversary will reduce turnover.
People may stay longer because they can make more money than with other industry employers. Team members will also feel more motivated to refer loved ones because they’ll benefit long-term by working for a company that rewards their hard work.
5. Advertise Your Workplace Culture
Experienced workers can fill talent gaps, but so can younger people fresh out of college. People with the latest industry training may not want to work in niche jobs if the employer doesn’t have a workplace culture that matches their needs.
Younger generations like millennials and Gen Zers desire employers who prioritize their well-being, hire diverse teams and commit to ethical leadership. The same research shows previous generations prioritized an employer’s financial stability among those same values.
Business owners can advertise their workplace culture to attract more new hires. Marketing campaigns emphasizing the ways a business cares for its employees will reach younger people on the social media platforms where they spend their time. Advertising efforts can also include employee testimonials vouching for how their job supports their overall well-being.
6. Partner With Local Colleges
People may believe a niche industry doesn’t have room for growth throughout their careers. The belief may keep them from applying during critical talent shortages, but a discounted education with a local college may change that.
Businesses can partner with nearby colleges and universities to provide discounted educational pathways for employees. Their degrees or courses should aid their role in the industry. Employees gain knowledge that results in better pay and more opportunities, while their employers benefit from the more skilled workforce.
Someone who works for a local construction company could enroll in classes to obtain a construction management degree. It would open doors for higher-paying roles as that employee gains promotions or new opportunities through the coming years. They won’t feel stuck in a lower-paying or entry-level position, making that industry more attractive to existing employees and new hires.
Address Industry Talent Shortages
Employers in niche industries may deal with talent shortages, but those don’t have to last forever. Hiring new team members isn’t the only way to fill roles and increase productivity. Strategies like these will appeal to existing team members and new hires, improving company outcomes quickly.