how to handle labor shortage

How Scenario-Based Training Can Help You Handle the Post-Pandemic Labor Shortage

Employers across the U.S. are crying out for workers and grasping for solutions to the current labor shortage. A labor shortage means there are more jobs than people out of work. Though this is a phenomenon not often seen within the U.S. economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned many industries upside down and resulted in an acute worker shortage. Currently, there are about 3.5 million fewer people in the workforce relative to February 2020.

Post-Pandemic Career Shifts

Of those left unemployed through COVID-19, 17% of potential workers say they are preparing for a career shift. Hiring companies and those seeking a career pivot have reported one common thread: the vexing skills gap. 60% of organizations say they can’t find applicants with the right skills, and 30% of job seekers say their skills don’t match available jobs.

As these less experienced workers search for their career pivot, many are worried about having to settle on a less rewarding career due to their lack of desirable skills. A particular skill or years of practice, however, isn’t what makes a candidate truly valuable. Instead, it’s the ability to learn new skills, methods, or technologies that truly matters. Adopting a strategy that values intellect over line-by-line adherence to a job description will produce a better pool of viable candidates. 

Training to Fill the Skills Gaps

Even aside from the labor shortage, many organization leaders believe they have a skills gap. According to recent research by digital consulting firm West Monroe, many employers believe there’s a significant skills gap at their organizations, with 56% reporting their organizational skills gap as moderate to severe. Only 6% say they don’t have a skills gap at all.

The solution to your labor shortage could be how you train your employees. Now more than ever, employee training is imperative. And two of the more prominent approaches to employee training and education are reskilling or upskilling. 

Reskilling means looking for people with ‘adjacent skills’ that are close to the new skills your company requires. It provides a lateral learning experience. Career pivoters are often working on reskilling themselves through potential employers’ private academies or universities. 

If your company doesn’t have a university, you’re likely missing out on an opportunity to train and recruit the best candidates. If you’re passing up candidates that need reskilling, you’re missing out on the opportunity to grow your company with insight and expertise from other fields or departments. 

On the other hand, a culture of upskilling means teaching employees new, advanced skills to close talent gaps. It involves your team members in continuous education and helps them to advance along their current career path. These employees may have worked for your organization for several years and possess an in-depth understanding of both your culture and your customers.

Research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) finds that half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new responsibilities driven by automation and new technologies. That figure doesn’t include all the people currently unemployed, according to the WEF.

Scenario-Based Learning to Fill Labor Shortage

When training for a labor shortage, efficiency is key. It is vital to ensure that your reskilling trainees are ready to enter your workplace quickly and confidently. You and your employees are investing valuable time on training, and it’s important that you both get an ROI. 

Scenario-based training is training that focuses on training employees for real-life, everyday scenarios. Scenario-based training uses storytelling or role-play to make training more interesting, but it is also more effective. Scenario-based training engages emotions and experiences during learning which fires up neurons and makes learning easier to recall and recreate. 

Simulation learning is scenario-based learning which allows trainees to learn and practice asynchronously. This allows your employees, new or current, to work on skills gaps in their available time. This custom learning also targets the specific needs of each employee individually, creating a workplace with less skills gaps.

While upskilling or reskilling current employees isn’t likely to address all of your organization’s hiring needs, these efforts will let you maximize the resources you already have. Investing in employees’ skills and knowledge also helps to build a positive company culture, which can reduce turnover. It will also allow your business to raise its reputation as a place where people can grow their careers and engage in meaningful professional development.

Ready to start training to cover your labor shortage? Contact us today to learn more about how scenario-based training can fill your skill gaps for new and current employees.

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