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  • 5 Min Read

How to Overcome Skill and Talent Shortages in 2022

Make 2022 the year of increased employee engagement and strategic skill development.

The new year often brings excitement—a fresh start with seemingly endless possibilities. It’s when we take the time to look forward, decide what we want to accomplish over the next 12 months, and determine our goals and action plans. For people leaders, we’re creating goals not only for ourselves but for our entire team. We’re setting the vision, mission, and tone that will be the driving force for this year’s success. After the disruption and challenges the past few years have brought, the stakes are higher than ever going forward.

To make the most of 2022, here are four actions you can integrate into your goals to equip your team for success.

1. Build an Employee-Focused Culture

Through 2021 and leading into 2022, companies in every industry have been seeing the effects of the Great Resignation. Employees are leaving companies and jobs in droves, employers are finding it harder than ever to recruit and retain talent, and job vacancies are outnumbering available candidates. This accelerated demand for skilled workers highlights the importance of having a strong, supportive corporate culture when you’re looking to stand out as a potential employer. If you want employees to come and stay, you need to give them a reason to do that.

Yet that can be easier said than done. So, what do employees want? Employees are looking to join companies where they feel valued—somewhere their whole self is considered important, not just the role they perform. Gallup recently found that employee well-being is one of the top three criteria that people look for in a good employer. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are also high on the list. In a CNBC Workforce Survey, 78% of employees want to work for an organization that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. Employees are also looking for more growth and professional development, with one in three employees quitting their job due to the lack of these opportunities. Ultimately, working towards building an employee-focused culture can pay dividends in recruitment and retention.

2. Use Employee-Provided Data to Drive Growth and Development

With the start of the pandemic, many employees were forced to rapidly change their work arrangements and switch to remote work. To keep connected with employees, it’s critical to focus on collecting feedback through surveys and town hall meetings. The data and information not only provide insight into employee engagement and performance but can also be used to help drive strategic decisions. For example, after learning about “Zoom fatigue” and overpacked meeting schedules, you could choose to limit the number of meetings on a given day to provide employees with time to focus and rest. Coming to these data-driven conclusions helps increase employee engagement and retention by fostering trust.

Making decisions and developing action plans based on employee feedback can also significantly impact the organization’s bottom line. Higher employee engagement helps employees feel heard. According to a study done by The Workforce Institute, 88% of employees whose companies have financially outpaced others in their industry feel heard, as compared to 62% of employees in underperforming organizations.

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3. Increase Flexibility to Engage Employees

Flexibility and employee burnout have become important areas of focus for employers and managers. Many workers who switched to remote work at the start of the pandemic want to continue having this flexibility. This could include continued and permanent remote work options, more flexible work hours, or hybrid work arrangements that blend remote and in-office work.

At the same time, many people took on more work through the pandemic and, as a result, are feeling increasingly burnt out. Unaddressed burnout can lead to challenges, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher rates of resignation. Flexible work arrangements can provide employees with more control over their schedules, lowering stress and improving job satisfaction.

4. Build a Lifelong Learning Culture with a Focus on Upskilling and Reskilling

Change is happening faster than ever before. With pandemic-induced shifts in how people work and the accelerated implementation of new technologies, what was once considered the future of work is becoming a reality. According to Deloitte, the lifespan of a professional skill is now only five years. This means that lifelong learning is essential.

Being aware of skill gaps and needs will help you determine where to put your focus when it comes to upskilling and reskilling your team. Developing skills internally rather than acquiring them through new hires has many benefits and can help increase employee engagement and retention, keep recruitment costs down, and help your company gain a competitive advantage with new innovations and thought leadership. Plus, it can be key to developing a coveted lifelong learning culture.

Building a lifelong learning culture in your organization won’t happen overnight. But setting goals in 2022 to lay the foundation is a step in the right direction. As Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox, once said, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person—not just an employee—are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” Here’s to 2022 being a year of increased employee engagement and strategic skill development!

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If developing an upskilling plan or offering more employee-focused benefits is part of your goals for 2022, D2L Wave can help! As an upskilling education platform, it makes creating a professional development program simple for employers. It streamlines how employees search, request, register, and pay for professional development activities.

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