Moving away from tackling the shortage of skilled workers to balancing responsive and responsible SMEs

Most SME founders and CEOs think that skills shortage can be solved by intensified recruiting.

This is not surprising, as recruiting used to be the firefighting way we solved challenges of lacking human resources in the last decades. In an employer market, it was fairly easy to advertise open positions and then select the right candidates. Now, in the employee market, many SMEs see the shortage of skilled workers as the main problem.

This is evident in several ways:

  • Open positions not filled
  • Difficulties to keep young talents
  • Growth not realized despite full order books

Instead of recruiting, leadership and culture need to catch up — fast.

That’s how SMEs are now attracting new talent in the invisible parts of their organization.

In my seminars with university students I regularly learn that the Generation Z expects from businesses to take social responsibility. This creates trust in the relation between employee and employer. In their eyes, the company of the future strikes a balance between new work, sustainability and profit. Working on this balance is what makes a company magnetic to talent — not increased recruiting.

Here’s how to create this balance:

SMEs come into balance when they engage in dialogue and connection with their employees.

Be conscious of how you communicate in your organization.

Creating a specific communication system that works for you and your company will result in a bright future: Your organization in an ongoing state of vigilance; strong presence of staff and management; time used in an impactful way; a shared future story giving your teams a clear direction; all members in close exchange with each other to respond flexibly to growing challenges.

The future of business is responsive and responsible — in good communication with each other.

Skills shortage will be solved by getting leadership and culture in flow — not by increasing recruiting efforts.

Focusing on the obvious alone will not solve complex challenges. We need to look at how we ourselves and our organizations function on the inside. The system of how organizations tick is governed by the way we communicate. The upside is that improving communication goes beyond number crunching into an entertaining and emotional way of looking at business.

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