Amid Global Labor Shortage, Businesses Rethink Talent Strategies

Alternative credentials. Untapped populations. Flexible work hours and locations. Amid ongoing labor shortages around the world, The Conference Board released a new report to help business leaders rethink strategies for finding the right talent.

The report, Navigating the Global Talent Tsunami, encourages leaders to fundamentally rethink long-held assumptions about who can do the work; where, when, and how the work gets done; and the talent acquisition function itself. The approaches offered can help businesses to identify, revisit, and overcome notions that may implicitly limit candidate searches and talent pools. Rethinking sourcing strategies will yield more candidates in the short term and more agile and diverse talent pools—and organizations—in the long term.

Insights include

Rethink who can do the work.

  • Seek skills instead of experience: Evaluate the skills the work requires and target candidates from other professions who have those skills.
  • Hire for potential: Hire for qualities that are not easy to teach, rather than skills that are.
  • Consider untapped populations: People with disabilities, retired seniors, college students, migrants, refugees, and the formerly incarcerated have historically been overlooked as hiring candidates. Also consider employees who have voluntarily left the organization and workers who prefer to work as independent contractors rather than full-time employees.
  • Revisit traditional hiring credentials: Alternative credentials, like certificates of competency, allow organizations to consider a more diverse range of candidates, especially for hard-to-fill positions.

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“Organizations willing to overcome deep-rooted beliefs about how work should be done—and who should be doing it—will have an advantage in this war for talent,” said Robin Erickson, PhD, Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board. “Hiring from underutilized groups will not only expand the candidate pool—it will expand the diversity of thought and experience within your organization.”

Rethink where, when, and how the work gets done.

  • Be flexible about where work is performed: Organizations that allow for some flexibility in work location, which employees overwhelmingly want, have a competitive advantage over those that do not.
  • Question when the work needs to be performed: Consider abandoning the concept of an eight-hour workday or experimenting with a permanently shortened workweek.
  • Redesign job roles in ways that will expand the pool of potential candidates: Try job sharing, in which two or more people perform the work traditionally performed by one; intraorganizational employee sharing, in which one person performs work for more than one part of a single organization; or interorganizational employee sharing, in which one person performs work for more than one organization, coordinated by those organizations.

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Rethink talent acquisition itself.

  • Make everyone a recruiter: Companies should provide their employees with current and accurate information about job openings and qualifications, along with strong incentives to refer candidates.
  • Recruit internally: Employers should dissuade managers from “hoarding” employees, clearly define potential career pathways, and tightly integrate internal and external job postings. Doing so will create highly motivated employees, preserve institutional memory, and increase employee engagement and retention.
  • Realign recruiting: AI can increase the efficiency of recruitment processes, improve employment branding, bolster recruitment marketing, improve the hiring experience for both candidates and hiring managers, optimize sourcing, and enhance the quality of the candidate pool, all while driving down costs and streamlining boring and repetitive tasks.
  • Reconsider salary increases: Don’t rely heavily, or even exclusively, on salary to attract candidates—especially at the cost of your current employees. Instead, offer other incentives like flexible work arrangements.

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