How do you find al­lies in the war for tal­ent?

Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Advertisement -

Two-thirds of Canada’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tives are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to find the qual­i­fied em­ploy­ees they need. A third say that short­ages of skilled labour are pre­vent­ing the growth of their busi­nesses, while al­most half are tak­ing their tal­ent searches beyond Canada.

Th­ese trends, re­vealed in the lat­est C-Suite Sur­vey by the Gan­dalf Group, il­lus­trate the grow­ing dif­fi­culty faced by Cana­dian en­ter­prises to grow strong, com­pet­i­tive busi­nesses. The pain is par­tic­u­larly acute in the tech­ni­cal and en­gi­neer­ing fields, fi­nance and man­age­ment, and, given Canada’s strong re­source sec­tor, ge­ol­ogy and min­ing.

This may come as a sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing that em­ploy­ers and job­seek­ers alike have more on­line tools at their dis­posal than ever be­fore to con­nect am­bi­tion with op­por­tu­nity. The prob­lem, how­ever, may be that there are too many tools.

John Mehrmann, CEO of Zy­log Sys­tems (Canada) Ltd., says it’s of­ten dif­fi­cult for em­ploy­ers to rise above the noise of so many so­cial me­dia and ca­reer web­sites with a clear and en­gag­ing mes­sage that will catch the at­ten­tion of the right in­di­vid­u­als.

“In ad­di­tion, when you have cru­cial roles to fill within your or­ga­ni­za­tion, your tal­ent search must also reach out those in­di­vid­u­als who are not ac­tively seek­ing a new job,” he said.

Since 1995, Zy­log has pro­vided IT and en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sional ser­vices, hu­man cap­i­tal re­source man­age­ment ap­pli­ca­tions, and tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions that help em­ploy­ers and job­seek­ers alike achieve the out­comes they need in order to thrive.

“A new hire is an in­vest­ment that must pro­vide a quick re­turn,” Mehrmann said. “You need some­one who knows your in­dus­try and will be a fit with your team, your en­vi­ron­ment and the cul­ture of your or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Ad­dress­ing th­ese cri­te­ria re­quires much more than sim­ply look­ing at a re­sume. It is a spe­cial­ized, labour-in­ten­sive ef­fort; many em­ploy­ers sim­ply do not have the in-house re­sources to carry it out ef­fec­tively.

Em­ploy­ers will in­stead turn to a staffing agency, par­tic­u­larly to fill po­si­tions in tech­ni­cal and en­gi­neer­ing fields that are in high de­mand and re­quire can­di­dates with cur­rent cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, such as in SAP, ITIL, busi­ness anal­y­sis and project man­age­ment.

But Mehrmann warns that not all staffing agen­cies are equal. What dis­tin­guishes a medi­ocre agency from an ef­fec­tive one? Re­la­tion­ships mat­ter “The size of the agency isn’t im­por­tant,” Mehrmann said. “What mat­ters is what kind of rap­port does the agency have with its can­di­dates? This tells you a lot about the cal­iber of can­di­dates that agency will put for­ward.”

This isn’t dif­fi­cult to as­sess. It’s demon­strated by how knowl­edge­able the agency is about the in­di­vid­ual job­seek­ers with whom it works. This is, af­ter all, a re­la­tion­ship-based busi­ness. To match the right can­di­date with the right job re­quires a deep un­der­stand­ing of that in­di­vid­ual’s per­son­al­ity, char­ac­ter and long-term goals in ad­di­tion to their work ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise.

Perks pay off

An­other key in­di­ca­tor is to look at what the agency does to at­tract job­seek­ers and sup­port those in­di­vid­u­als who typ­i­cally move from em­ployer to em­ployer on a contract ba­sis. In today’s com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, many agen­cies have come to of­fer perks that are com­pa­ra­ble to a ben­e­fits plan of­fered by an em­ployer. This can in­clude dis­counted group rates on health and dis­abil­ity in­sur­ance, of­fice equip­ment, travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion, and even train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“We see the obli­ga­tion of an agency is to reach out and make up for all those things which con­trac­tors and free­lancers have lost over the years,” Mehrmann said. “Pro­vid­ing th­ese kinds of ben­e­fits as an agency at­tracts and re­tains the top tal­ent which em­ploy­ers need most.”

And this ap­plies re­gard­less of whether an em­ployer needs to fill a full-time per­ma­nent po­si­tion or a short­term contract. An ef­fec­tive agency is one which acts like a des­ti­na­tion em­ployer.

“The rea­son why you are hir­ing an agency is to get the top tal­ent that is go­ing to pro­vide the best re­turn on your in­vest­ment,” Mehrmann said.

John Mehrmann, CEO, Zy­log Sys­tems (Canada) Ltd.

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