8 Excuses That Companies Make About Changing Their Hiring Practices

February 25, 2020

In case you didn’t know it, change is really hard. As organizations mature, it’s easy to get set in their ways and it becomes more and more difficult to embrace new concepts or deviate from what they’ve done in the past. Habits, good or bad, are tough to change. But the fact of the matter is that the skilled labor shortage needs a solution, and it might be time to look at new and alternative approaches.

Read on to learn some of the common objections we’ve heard from companies changing their hiring practices, and how we can help.

1. “Finding talent in the midst of the skilled worker shortage seems impossible.”

In the next five years there will be a shortage of over 2 million skilled workers in the US. It’s overwhelming at times to find skilled talent that you need when there’s such a shortage nationwide.

However, necessity is the mother of invention.

When things are going well, it’s natural to not look for new ways of doing things, so this problem has crept up on companies over time. The skilled trades industry is in a similar predicament that the nursing industry was in 25 years ago. Hospitals were coming up short trying to find nurses to care for their patients. So, out of pure necessity, they created the travel nursing model—which now supplies over 15% of all nursing positions across the country.

So, using this proven model of ‘travel staffing’, Skillwork has created a supplemental labor model that we’ve applied to the skilled trades. It’s not that talent isn’t out there. It’s just not readily available where you need it. Borrowing a term from the military, we believe that it’s a target-rich environment—if you know where to look. It’s just a matter of connecting those workers to where they’re needed at the right time and the right place. That’s our job, and we’re really good at it.

The shortage can be a bit overwhelming, but we believe in American exceptionalism. When Americans are faced with challenges like this, they rise to the occasion. So while the labor shortage is a daunting problem to overcome, we’re optimistic and excited about the future.

2. “Temp workers are almost always unqualified or incompetent.”

Unfortunately, this can be a very valid objection—but let’s look at the root of the problem. It often comes down to the business model of some staffing agencies who focus more on quantity over quality. They’re not focused on a long-term relationship with their skilled staff, just filling positions from a numbers perspective. Often, because they lack a commitment from their hiring firm, these temporary workers have the mindset that their role is just a stop-gap until they find a permanent position.

This model works well in certain situations, but it’s often not a good fit in the skilled trade space.

Skillwork uses a supplemental labor model, not a temporary model. We focus on bringing respect to the skilled trades and creating a long term relationship with our skilled tradesmen, so even if they’re only with your company short term, we remain committed to them for the long haul. This enables them to direct their attention toward bringing competence and quality to your location rather than trying to find another position after your project is finished.

Another way to solve the problem of unqualified temp workers? Partner with a company that spends their time and effort making sure that the workers they supply not only meet but exceed your expectations.

3. “Temporary models don’t add sustainable value to an organization.”

Sustainable value in an organization can be measured in many ways, but the biggest is the stability of its workforce. On the surface, it would seem that temporary or supplemental labor models are more of a drain on an organization’s bottom line rather than an advantage. However, lacking a fully staffed workforce and the subsequent impact on overtime, morale, quality, and safety is one of the fastest ways to drive your employees away.

Every company knows that the quality and stability of their workforce is critical to a healthy organization.

In this regard, leveraging a supplemental labor strategy can actually increase and extend the value of your core team by stabilizing your workforce. Reducing the strain on your permanent staff while growing your company results in greater value.

So, while it appears to be a cost driver, a supplemental strategy actually increases value by leveling your workforce and enabling project completion.

4. “We need a new solution now, and we can’t afford to lose time and money on a new approach.”

Let’s be honest, you can’t afford to lose time and money on your existing approach. A recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that traditional hiring practices take about 1-4 months to implement and costs at least $4,000. Even worse, the cost of a bad hire is around $7,000 to $10,000 per employee.

One of the most pressing risks that keeps leaders awake at night is not having the right people at the right time at the right place to meet their goals and objectives. In other words, the inability to meet deadlines and grow due to lack of staff. While traditional hiring practices have merit and should continue to be used, a prudent leader always looks to mitigate risk in a variety of ways.

So, consider transferring a portion of your staffing risk, and the cost associated with it, to a partner that focuses 100% of their time and energy on solving these issues for companies like yours.

Using an alternative solution like Skillwork’s supplemental labor model allows you to move through this process more efficiently and allocate your resources to furthering your business instead of constantly looking for the talent you need. Let us do the work of finding, vetting, testing, and supplying you the right person for your needs. Put your staffing in the expert hands of someone you can trust: click here to find out more.

5. “Cost of hiring isn’t a high concern to our organization currently.”

The Center of American Progress estimates the cost of turnover at $20,000-$30,000 per employee. It’s more than just the HR time and resources to actually hire and onboard new employees, but also includes a variety of “hidden costs” like training and lowered productivity of your current staff. So, not only is your new hire not going to be as productive right away, they’re likely decreasing the productivity of a more experienced employee as they train up the new person—up to 50% less productive for the first few weeks.

And this is assuming everything goes to plan and that you aren’t ghosted by your new hire, or they decide not to stay long term. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common.

Clearly, the cost of hiring is significant.

The supplemental labor model doesn’t add to the overall cost of hiring. Rather, it mitigates the overall risk. All of the above factors are multiplied by your organization’s turnover rate (which is likely to be higher if you’re understaffed)—so all your invested time and financial costs, decreased productivity and efficiency are all magnified.

When you utilize Skillwork’s highly vetted network of skill workers, you are able to add quality talent who can hit the ground running—greatly reducing onboarding and training time. It’s a win-win: you reduce your overhead hiring cost and get a fully operational and capable professional showing up on day one.

6. “Staffing companies aren’t trustworthy.”

To be honest—there is some validity to that idea, as traditional staffing companies have earned a less-than-dependable reputation. The customary model of quantity over quality has burned many companies before, and is often the reason behind the resistance to adopting a supplemental labor strategy, since first impressions are lasting impressions.

The traditional models aren’t necessarily bad, but they were created for a different set of problems (like admin or C-suite positions). The skilled trades space is different. More often than not, these types of positions require experience, training, and advanced skills. Finding them demands significant vetting and targeted recruiting across the country to find the right fit. All of these factors point to the need for a different approach.

At Skillwork, we focus on learning exactly what defines the ideal candidate for a specific role and then implement industry-leading testing and vetting processes that enable us to identify quality workers. Our goal is to provide supplemental labor that meshes with your culture, meets your needs, and requires little training to hit the ground running.

Today’s challenges need alternative solutions. Traditional models, like temp agencies and headhunters, have their place but can result in less than optimal outcomes in the skilled trade industry.

7. “Finding talent that fits our process is impractical.”

Something we hear routinely from companies we engage with is that “our process and the way we do things is unique, so temporary workers just don’t fit here”. In a way, they are right, but just not to the point that supplemental labor can’t be effective.

The reality is, while culture and process can be different, the foundational skills, aptitude, and experience required to drive an organization can easily transcend across industry. Ultimately, the equipment we use, the walls we build, the motors we change, etc.—it’s not that unique.

Talent is out there; it just might not look exactly how you expect.

It’s important for organizations to broaden their thinking and look at all the options to build a team to solve problems. The reality is that the majority of your employees are working on generalized needs, not highly specific and unique pieces of equipment. We’ve often seen that bringing in outside expertise with a different vantage point can actually infuse an organization with new technology and better ideas.

You might find that hiring outside your specific industry provides your organization with fresh perspective and expertise.

8. “Finding talent that fits company culture is improbable.”

Many organizations today are focusing on the importance of building and sustaining a strong culture or organizational identity. Historically, skilled trade industries haven’t worked to elevate their company culture, but that has changed and most now realize how important it is. Culture needs to be a key factor in your organization’s hiring approach—bringing in the wrong fit to your company can have significant negative consequences.

In fact, a bad culture fit to an organization can be compared to exposing yourself to a virus. You wouldn’t welcome someone into the workplace with the flu—nor would you want to bring in someone with a bad culture into your environment. It takes years to create the culture that works for your organization, and a fraction of that time to tear it down.

It’s vital that you make hiring decisions not based on skills alone. There is a significant difference between engaged vs. non-engaged employees, and it has nothing to do with skills. That’s why aptitude and personality tests can help find highly engaged employees that will be a good culture fit for your organization.

We have honed our vetting process to go beyond simply assessing skills to include such critical attributes like aptitude, personality, and behavioral patterns to ensure that you get the best of the best. If a bad fit is like a virus, a good culture fit is the equivalent of vitamin C for your workplace.

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