We are living in unprecedented times. While on the one hand, customers are demanding next-generation technologies, solutions, and services almost tomorrow, on the other hand, we are seeing ‘great resignation’ threatening organizational capabilities to address that demand fast enough. On top of that, most industries have experienced an all-time high labor shortage. Therefore, most organizations have no choice but to look for ways to speed up the process of hiring and onboarding. There are two challenges to speeding up the hiring to counter the labor shortages. The first is on how to spot the talent and hire fast. The second is on how to bring them up to speed on the new role.
A. SPEEDING UP THE HIRING PROCESS
The traditional methods of acquiring talent do not work anymore. Organizations need to look for avenues and processes that might speed up spotting the right talent for the right job. Three unlikely channels have emerged during the pandemic:
1. Leveraging freelance or contractual workforce pool
In 2021, the pandemic brought a massive ramp-up of businesses. However, organizations struggled to acquire the right talent and skilled workers. During this time, the freelance or contractual workforce pool has emerged as an unlikely source for closing mainstream positions. Such an avenue would have been ruled out in the past. However, now it makes financial and strategic sense. More importantly, it is super fast to bring them onboard. Some freelance platforms like Fiverr have recently added freelance management tools for corporations to manage efficient workflow and project delivery from freelancers.
If project quality can be quantified or measured using well-defined standards, this route of recruiting talent provides access to millions of untapped expert freelancers at a much faster rate than any other channel. In particular, project-driven, time-bound assignments that need little face time with the worker are finding their way onto this route.
2. Leveraging fresh college graduates
Historically, larger organizations preferred experienced professionals, as they did not have to invest much in their upskilling. But now, another channel has emerged that gives the advantage of speeding up hiring. The organizations can now leverage an endless supply of recent college graduates in highly socialized streams.
Gen Z is up for more dynamic roles where skills get updated frequently, or technologies are moving faster. The job roles in coding, multimedia, video marketing, social media, automation, and field service are some of the areas where fresh graduates can be leveraged at lightning speed.
To be successful with this channel, organizations need to offer very specialized and quick training streams that can take care of faster skill obsolescence in these areas.
3. Leveraging the job redefinition process
Most organizations are failing to hire fast enough because they have not upgraded their job roles or definitions corresponding to the new technological, customer demand, and workflow trends. It is much harder to find experienced employees for jobs that are much wider in scope. Highly specialized technologies and solutions now demand equally specialized or niche roles instead of hiring people to deliver traditionally wide roles and responsibilities. Across the board, in the light of new advanced technologies and shorter skill shelf-life, several positions need to be redefined, and others need to be displaced.
Thus, a faster way to address the labor shortage is via the job redefinition process. When the broader job roles are redefined or split into multiple niche roles to accommodate newer ways of working or market demand, the likelihood of hiring specialists from freelancing or contractual pool is higher.
One recommendation to address understaffing is to focus on the speed of development of existing staff. In current situations, leaders should focus on how to speed up the reskilling and up-skilling of existing staff to take up those roles which are becoming challenging to hire from the open market. To be successful in this channel, organizations need to implement a speed-enabling ecosystem that could speed up the process of reskilling or upskilling.
B. SPEEDING UP ONBOARDING PROCESS
Speeding up the hiring process alone is not enough. The real competitive advantage comes only when the newly hired or newly engaged workforce comes up to speed to deliver target outcomes. Most organizations are in the same boat of talent or labor crunch. The ones who can develop their employees faster stand a chance to stay competitive.
However, it is easier said than done. The time to market is in the range of three months for new products and services. Correspondingly, the shelf-life of skills seen during the pandemic is roughly 3 to 6 months. This will squeeze down further in the post-covid era. Thus, the second challenge of speeding up hiring is preparing employees more quickly and bringing them up to speed at the pace of the business.
However, the time to master new skills in any job role is still very long. In all likelihood, the new staff does not get enough chances to become fully productive. Non-proficient workforce creates quality and customer service risks.
4. Institute metrics to measure onboarding speed
Traditional organizations did not know how to measure the speed of employee development. That’s where time to proficiency metrics has emerged as must-have metrics to track or measure how fast employees are coming up to speed. Organizations need to baseline that time and then set targets to shorten it.
5. Set up a speed-enabling ecosystem
To shorten time to proficiency significantly, organizations need to implement a speed-enabling ecosystem that allows synchronization among various elements surrounding the new hires. Some of the strategies include optimizing all elements toward a single goal of speeding up onboarding. A few actions include:
- Make managers the centerpiece of the ecosystem
- Implement structured accountability of coaches & mentors
- Build a network with top performers and make it available to new employees
- Leverage performance support systems and automation technologies
- Reduce reliance on formal training and use field learning to learn faster
During the pandemic, speed has become the core to survival and competitive edge in the market. However, speeding up hiring is not a sufficient solution. Talent, recruitment, human resources, and training leaders need to work together and think strategically about the new journey of locating the right talent, speeding up hiring them, and bringing them up to speed more quickly. The leaders need to adopt a broader integrated approach to hiring and engaging regular employees, contractors, freelancers, and other temporary staff to deliver required business outcomes. To get more tips on strategies to shorten time to hire, onboard, and develop the workforce, head out to https://get-there-faster.com.