I recently attended an HR roundtable forum, and I had an up-close look at some of our industry’s post-pandemic hiring challenges. The challenges that Houston HR professionals face — technology adaptability, talent shortage and workforce retention — is universal nationwide across varied industries.

While the topic questions were different and reverberated throughout the room, we always seemed to circle back to these three issues:

The surge in tech-based tools

There are many resources out there to help relieve some of the pressure on the technology deluge such as Zoom, Teams, Skype, etc. Remaining flexible and adaptable to the demands of the workforce is key.

The abundance of technology has made the transition from working in an office setting to remote productivity very easy, and some organizations have experienced an uptick in accomplishment levels.

Seek and test ways to learn what works best for your organization. Working completely remote can potentially save money on office costs, while hybrid office/home schedules appease both the need to meet and collaborate as well as provide quality of life. Work style is not one-size-fits-all; you must be flexible and adapt to your employees’ needs.

Strategies to manage talent shortages

Top talent holds all the cards in today’s job market. Hiring managers are struggling to attract candidates with the right hard skills and experience. For some businesses, the consequences can be serious. However, there are a few strategies you can implement to manage talent shortages.

Look for talent in-house and provide your existing staff with training opportunities or the chance to take on new responsibilities. Most employees will appreciate development opportunities and an added bonus may well be increased employee loyalty.

A winning strategy is to broaden your hiring criteria. Even during talent shortages, hiring managers tend to hold out for the perfect candidate. This can lead to open vacancies for weeks or even months, adding pressure on existing employees to cover. This can potentially damage morale. Adjusting your criteria and widening your scope may also help with boosting diversity in the workforce.

Workforce retention is key

The Harvard Business Review cited that nearly 40 percent of workers are planning to look for a new job within the next six months and 69 percent say they’re already passively looking.  As an employer, those figures should be frightening. We spend an enormous amount of time seeking and hiring top talent, so we want to keep them.

So how do you engage with your current workforce and create a company culture that makes the best of the best stick around? The answer is respect, reward and relaxation.

  • Respect your staff. Feeling valued and appreciated are top priorities of employees, and employers should make it their priority to show regular outward respect to their staff. Doing so will lead to and cultivate a strong and enduring workplace culture, as well as positive experiences and memories your employees won’t forget.
  • Reward your team. Gearing rewards toward employee emotions go beyond monetary compensation. For example, recognition in front of the organization, company or department; parties; community services; lunches; logoed clothing; and even handwritten thank you notes can all contribute to positive company culture.
  • Let them relax. Despite the hard economy, be generous with out-of-office time. People require sufficient time to recover from being sick, family vacations, new babies, etc. Pacing the workflow will work wonders on enduring employee relationships. You should still expect and even demand high-quality performance, but it is unreasonable to expect that level of quality to be maintained 100 percent of the time. A high-performance racecar has to make a pit stop every so often.

Navigating change is hard, especially in uncharted waters. The best bet is to stay flexible, adaptable and keep up with workforce demands. I am sure the post-pandemic ride isn’t over just yet and more changes are on the horizon. Be on the lookout for signs that it is time to pivot.