What is the number one need we hear from employers?  The ever-growing demand for a skilled workforce! The traditional education, ed-tech programs, industry certifications programs, associations, boot camps, apprenticeships, and work-based learning experiences are all working to increase a technically skilled labor force to meet the ever-increasing employment demand.  As these programs develop best practices to meet industry demand for technically skilled workers, our conversations must also include solutions for developing critical non-technical skills for the labor force, such as problem solving, learning agility, teamwork, collaboration and communication skills, to meet the demand of the 21st knowledge economy. 

In our interviews of over 400 employers and key industry stakeholders, there are three best practices shared among the employers who report they are no longer struggling with multiple open positions or employee turnover. Here’s how they do it:

  • Hire for culture, train for skill.  Invest time and energy in fostering referrals from your rock star employees, customers and partners.  “Birds of a feather flock together…”  The best referrals come from those employees and partners who are engaged and embrace your company’s culture.  Provide pathways for these referrals to become prospective employees. Create an interviewing and hiring process to identify a new hire for their non-cognitive skills and “fit” with your company and the team. 
  • Provide formal and informal mentoring opportunities.  Use your management, supervisors, and leaders to communicate, create and implement your company culture through a formal mentoring process.  In addition, find opportunities for peers and colleagues to informally mentor or onboard new employees into your corporate culture.  Creating a peer culture where constructive feedback, positivity and a focus on the company’s vision is a proactive way to halting problems before they even begin.
  • Provide career mobility and training for all your employees. Invest in your employees’ professional development by providing opportunities for cross training, further education and certifications and allow them to set and work toward long-term career goals.  Ideally, their career mobility will take place at your site where employees can work to achieve their next promotion, take on more responsibility and contribute to the team.  There are many resources accessible to employers to assist in growing their current workforce through the Department of Workforce Services, tech colleges, associations and other programs.

By creating work environments that fosters people’s innate tendencies toward personal growth and vitality by meeting their universal psychological need to 1.) gain mastery of tasks and learn skills, known as competency, 2.) to feel a sense of purpose and attachment to the group or belonging, and 3.) the need to feel in control of their own behaviors and goals, known as autonomy, employers can implement effective workforce strategies to increase employee recruitment, retention and performance.