Skilled Labor Shortage: How Learning and Development Can Help Retention Rates

It’s hard to deny that there is a critical skilled labor shortage in trade fields across the US. Whether you are trying to get your roof repaired, plumbing fixed, or have an electrical issue, there is usually a waitlist, and you can expect to pay top dollar for their time.

Having limited skilled labor is a real challenge for companies and their customers. As an HR professional, it’s your job to attract and retain top talent for your company, but are you leveraging everything in your toolbelt?

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In the article, we will talk about the current skilled labor shortage, how investing in training and development can help your company along with examples of how you can leverage work-based training to retain your skilled workforce.


2020 Skilled Labor Shortage

According to the Manpower Group and CNBC, nearly 7 out of 10 companies reported a shortage of skilled talent in 2019. There are more job openings than people are looking for these skilled jobs.

The problem is simple; there are not enough people who have the technical skills to meet the demand. This issue is partly due to the emphasis on going to a four-year college, high school students have been looking to college placement as the best of quality education. All while, vocational training, apprenticeships, and trade schools are all viable options.

 labor shortage

This growing issue is so widespread that the U.S. Representatives are working to address this issue, recently introducing H.R. 3497, the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. This bill expands Pell Grant eligibility for short-term technical training, in hopes to increase the interest in skilled labor trades.

As employers, it’s our goal to attract skilled talent, entice them to join our companies and retain them as long as possible, hopefully for decades. But how do you retain top talent with such a competitive job market?


Leveraging Learning and Development to Retain Skilled Labor

It’s an employee’s market, and companies need to invest in their employees to retain the top talent. That doesn’t mean you need to go out to buy bean bag chairs and a pool table for the break room.

The solution is actually the opposite; companies have started paying attention to these top initiatives to attract and retain talent:

  1. Attractive Bonuses and Increased Wages
  2. Comprehensive Benefits
  3. Balanced Work-Life Environment
  4. Providing Comprehensive Training and Continued Education

According to a survey by ClearCompany, a talent management group, 68% of employees say training and development is the company’s most important policy. Employees want to know that they are in a position to grow and expand their skill set.

Unfortunately, many companies tend to pull back investment in training during a labor shortage with the fear that they’ll be investing in skilled workers who will move on to other jobs. The truth is that outlining a career path and setting attainable goals will retain your skilled workforce and elevate their quality of work.

Companies that invest in the training and development of show that they are loyal and care about their employees, and employees will reciprocate. With added training features such as branded content, exciting technology, and easy-to-use functionality, your employees will be more engaged in your workplace training program.

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Ideas for Skilled Labor Workforce Training and Development

From compliance to safety and even soft skills, your best employees will be eager to expand their skill set, which only helps your company. In today’s digital age, you have more options on how you train your employees, gone are the days of reading out of a dusty manual.

Here are some examples of technology-based training that will excite and engage your skilled labor workforce:

  • eLearning – Can deliver training materials through electronic resources. An example of eLearning would be online modules that employees can complete on their own time.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) – Uses a device (phone or tablet) to overlay digital assets into the real world. An example of augmented reality would be a computer-generated piece of equipment that someone can walk around to learn about.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) – Creates an artificial environment in which the user is fully immersed in an experience. An example would be using virtual reality to transport your employees to a job site where they can spot safety hazards while in the safety of a training room.
  • Video Learning – Allows your employees to watch lessons from your subject matter experts on demand. You can even upgrade to 360º video for immersive simulation videos that can demonstrate complicated processes and techniques.

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You may be excited to invest in the latest equipment, but how will you use it? Here are some training and development ideas for technical workers:

Onboarding Program

According to the Society For Human Resources Management, employees that go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. You utilize tools like Augmented or Virtual Reality for safe and engaging onboarding activities.

Safety Training

Safety training may be mandatory, but it doesn’t have to be mundane. Inspire your skilled labor workforce to be proactive safety advocates who look out for one another and reinforce your protocols every day. Immersive reality can put your employees face-to-face with hazardous situations without being in actual danger.

Leadership and Management Training

Build your leadership team from the ground up with long-term employees that know your business. You can take a skilled tradesman and turn them into a confident foreman or supervisor. Work on soft skills and project management training with learning modules and immersive reality.


Are You Investing In Your Talent?

In the article, we talked about the current skilled labor shortage, how investing in your learning and development can help your company along with examples of how you can leverage work-based training to retain your skilled workforce.

Are you investing in your talent? Do you know how to get started? Contact our team of experts today to learn more about your options.


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