ICW Group mySafetyNews.com
Printed from www.mysafetynews.com - Your Risk Management Resource
Home > All categories > Hiring in a Tight Market

Risk management blog

Hiring in a Tight Market

- June 11, 2019 by Tom Keel (View all posts by Tom)

There are a couple of truisms that I’ve found about economic recessions and boom times, particularly in California’s Greater Bay Area aka “Silicon Valley.” First, there’s a silver lining during recessions (less traffic and shorter commute times). Second, boom times not only exasperate traffic congestion and commute times, but more importantly, they pose extreme challenge when employers’ need to find and hire enough people to sustain their momentum or to grow their business.

My work as a risk management consultant has provided me with clients in a wide variety of industries that include construction, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, hospitality, health care, and various light industrial operations. All them have run into the same challenge (i.e., finding prospective employees to fill their personnel shortages). Even when employers are willing to pay higher than the going rate, the “bodies” are nowhere to be found.

To find a solution to this problem, I took a page out of the tough economic times of the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The challenge during those years was to find prospective employees from where there appeared to be none, particularly in industries that were just coming on the scene (that we now take for granted)

How were the challenges of those economic times solved? Employers began focusing on “skill sets” that were compatible with the job tasks for their open positions rather than seeking employees with exact experience in the field. By “skill sets”, I mean the characteristics, aptitude, and capabilities that make an employee successful in a given job position.

Examples would be a person who is comfortable working on computers would likely be a good match for a position involving computer-numeric controlled (CNC) machines. People who have an aptitude for simple geometry might excel at jobs requiring production layout schemes, such as a tile setter or carpet layer. And, one who has a knack for understanding logistical work flow, (the production process from point A to point Z), might fit well as a production lead person or production supervisor.

Obviously, even with the right aptitude, some training and familiarity will need to be provided regarding the specific job and how the employee can utilize their aptitude in the job. But what this different approach does is increase the available candidate pool.

So, where does one begin the process of identifying compatible aptitudes with your open job positions? Check out my next blog on how to develop effective job descriptions and job analysis to not only identify the compatible aptitudes, but also improve both employee training and cross-training to cover temporary downtime when employees are out sick, on vacation, or other temporary disruptions.  You can also review Leslie’s blog about using the interview process for evaluating a candidates attitude about safety.