As the world economy recovers from the recession of recent years, many organisations in Australia are realising the benefits of recruitment agencies for short term labour requirements while planning a strategic long term labour workforce.
Technological changes, ageing population as well as shifts, growth and decline in certain industries are all contributing to labour shortages on a massive scale.
Here are top five strategies to implement when managing potential labour shortages:
1. Outsource your labour hire requirements
By outsourcing your labour hire requirements this alleviates the unnecessary strain on your current workforce while seeking those hard-to-find employees. Recruitment agencies have skilled and qualified staff on hand year-round to suit most types of businesses, and can be engaged at short notice. There is also the added benefit of the candidate ending up being very suited to the role, and therefore either engaged on a longer-term capacity, or even offered a full-time role by the company. This scenario usually incurs a finder’s fee, yet this far outweighs the extensive resources that are inevitably expended in searching for suitable long-term employees.
2. Develop comprehensive in-house training programs to build long term knowledge pipelines
Recent expansion as well as retirement of baby boomers is placing a strain on the already overstretched construction and energy industry. Successful companies are already known to develop strategic knowledge transfer programs which enable senior employees to shift their expertise and knowledge to the future generation of workers.
This helps organisations leverage their expertise as well as best practices across the business.
Companies can also take skilled workers and turn them into supervisors and foremen by giving them leadership or mentoring roles. In any fast-paced industry, such forms of knowledge and training can significantly enhance skill sets of junior employees and can also help attract new talent.
3. Engage employees by providing a safe and healthy environment
This is especially true in case in industries that are subject to extreme working conditions. When we talk about retention, two things are crucial: employees should like what they do and also like the people they are working with/for.
Organisations will not only do well by implementing motivational, reward and performance appraisals; they will take things to a whole new level by using techniques like e-learning to retain current employees and attract new talent. And in either of these cases, (retention and recruitment), fundamentals like safety, security, favourable working conditions, organisational policies and interpersonal relationships play a crucial role.
4. Re-evaluate whether different departments are working synergistically
More and more construction industries are looking to find synergies in different functional areas including IT, HR and Finance. Stand-alone systems tend to counter each other leading to inefficient processes. For example, you might have a fantastic HR department and might hire great labour employees, but if you do not have, say, a fantastic incentive-based compensation program then your competitors will soon snatch your workforce from you.
By aligning different business functions from the board level to individual company operating level, you can increase efficient communication across the organisation and also push employees to work towards common strategic goals.
5. Assess your risk factors
Often companies hire in frenzy and end up with semi-skilled or even unskilled labour. For example, a broker or a less reputable labour hire firm might recruit a fisherman saying he can weld. Sometimes these labourers do not have experience working safely under stringent working conditions. This is a huge risk to companies. So owners and end users must both rethink their collaborative efforts and even establish relationships with entities years before a project is to commence. A competent workforce with skilled supervision is of utmost importance to build work in a risk-averse environment.
6. Develop your project management capacity
As complexities and scope of projects increases, companies should explore non-traditional ways to manage them and also explore different avenues. Energy and construction industries must try and innovate in areas like technology, knowledge management, communication and prefabrication. The focus should be on optimising labour, reducing rework, using smart equipment with strategic material scheduling among other things.
These five factors can considerably improve productivity and help you manage costs in a tight labour market.
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