A quick scan of recent statistics regarding the industry’s talent supply might have you reaching for an antacid — or two. With overall unemployment rates dropping post-recession, and with boomers retiring, many are finding it increasingly more difficult to attract, recruit and retain talent. While we’ve long heard about driver shortages — the trucking industry needs to hire an average of 89,000 drivers per year for the next 10 years, according to the American Trucking Associations — the reality is that virtually every link in the transportation supply chain is under stress.
Consider the following points:
● The supply chain industry will need to fill about 1.4 million new jobs between 2014 and 2018, according to Fortune.
● Two-thirds of supply chain executives say recruiting senior leadership for the director and senior director level is difficult. Only 45 percent of supply chain and 40 percent of procurement executives say they are extremely or very confident that their supply chain organizations have the competencies they need today, according to the 2015 Supply Chain Survey by Deloitte Consulting.
Beyond the numbers, it’s clear that the right kind of skilled talent is also in short supply as the industry undergoes significant changes and becomes more complex. Given that the state of talent will directly result in missed opportunities, what actions can you take now to recruit the best talent to fill the seats you need to fill as quickly as possible? Here are four overarching recommendations:
1. Monitor the state of your workforce
Make sure that someone in your organization has accountability for your overall workforce exposure as well as the skills to constantly assess your talent risks. That individual also ideally “owns” workforce and succession planning and monitors key metrics, including your retention rate, rate of retirements, and compliance and potential pipelines of new talent by drilling down into the data for each function. Additional responsibilities include monitoring your rewards structure to be sure it is competitive.
The individual in charge of workforce risk assessment ideally should be your HR leader. I’ve seen this work well in many companies when the HR leader has the skills and the strategic vision to understand how to go about assessing workforce risk. If, however, you do not have this skill set internally or your HR leader doesn’t have time to focus on this challenge, reach outside of your business for expertise to objectively assess your end-to-end recruitment strategy within your key locations and markets.
2. Enhance your employment brand
Let’s face it: The industry has a bit of an image problem. As the Transportation & Logistics 2030 survey by consulting powerhouse PwC states, “Transportation and logistics as a sector isn’t viewed as attractive by most job seekers — when it’s considered at all. Many transport jobs are considered to be low-paying dead-ends. Higher skilled logistics roles with good pay and advancement potential don’t even make the radar screen of many talented graduates.” There are dozens of ways, too many to explore in this article, to make your organization a more desirable place to work. By doing so, you will become much more competitive in achieving your hiring goals.
3. Allocate adequate budget to HR
Each day that a key position remains unfilled is another day without revenue coming in the door. Sometimes, HR functions are so focused on "saving money" in their recruiting budgets that they fail to realize that frugality can have the opposite effect in terms of opportunity loss. Here’s what I’ve learned from having worked inside supply chain and logistics companies: It’s generally far better to fill an open position with the right person than to scrimp on salaries and resources to find those people in order to save a few dollars.
4. Hire the right recruiters
Businesses need to ensure that its recruiters are, in fact, capable of finding and assessing the qualifications of the individuals they recruit. It is absolutely critical that those who lead the recruitment function have the right people in place — with the right training — to do their jobs. In any business, the recruiters need to understand the technical requirements for all the jobs they recruit for. If you are hiring forecasting and inventory management specialists, for example, your recruiters need to understand what specialized skills, knowledge and experience those roles require within the context of your company. Too often, rookie recruiters tasked with sourcing critical roles actually have little idea of what those jobs entail. Experience really does count!
As good as your talent
Every industry leader knows that while systems and technology are critical to running your business, you are ultimately only as good as your talent. Your team is the backbone of your reputation and your reputation is what brings in the revenue. That’s why it’s clear that a focus on recruitment is so critical. By taking these four steps, you will be well on the way to improving the quality, quantity and speed of your recruitment. If there ever was a time to act, the time is now.
For more than 25 years, J. James O’Malley has developed talent acquisition solutions to ensure that leadership talent aligns with changing business needs. O’Malley focuses on clients’ executive leadership challenges by leveraging his passions for executive search, on-demand recruiting, workforce planning/analytics and executive coaching. He can be reached at [email protected] or 312-878-4104.