Many businesses are experiencing difficulty finding employees to staff for post-COVID growth. One major business lesson from the COVID era is that companies should not stop recruitment or training because of short-term financial issues. Training and recruitment are investments in the people in an organization. People are the most important asset of a business. This is identical to the financial investment strategy articulated by Warren Buffett - "always think long-term."
Recruitment is extremely critical to long-term growth and succession planning. It is critical to focus on entry-level recruitment as well as internal recruitment for promotions. This is directly analogous to sports teams that have an entry-level draft every year and use training to enhance internal recruitment for promotions. Intern programs are a part of the process and serve as the farm team for the organization. Recruitment success depends on creating a company culture that makes people want to join the team and stay with the team because of career opportunities. Too many companies and sports teams do not understand the importance of culture and are puzzled by why their team members think of employment as a job rather than a career. The successful culture will be one of inclusion that makes all team members feel their value to the total team and one of recognition of their value.
Training is linked to recruitment, and neither can be successfully turned on and off like a water spigot. Commitment to training can be a compelling part of company culture. The commitment must be regularly articulated and demonstrated by top management. Management must also demonstrate that everyone is included in the team, listen to all opinions prior to decision implementation, and recognize everyone’s value. All training personnel are the culture champions of an organization.
Entry-level training is mandatory to teach job mechanics and to initiate embedding the new team member in the company culture. How a new team member is received by existing team members is a major influencer in determining the career versus job mentality of the new member. While the COVID era has championed remote training by video and audio methods, there is still no substitute for in-person training. In-person training by talented instructors transitions a training program to a learning program. Learning programs feature the thinking and reaction process while training is simply mechanical functions. The learning process is the focus needed to create the culture that every person matters to the team and that every member can express their opinions for company improvement.
Learning programs for current team members are the building blocks for internal succession plans. Implemented properly, there is no reason for outside recruiting to fill important positions in the organization. Learning programs for experienced team members must primarily be done in person with qualified internal position experts. Learning about new advanced positions involves both conceptual and functional parts. Exposure learning includes attending meetings as a guest to observe and study meeting dynamics. Travel to customers and suppliers, running meetings, and being presenters at meetings are all good learning tools.
Once training and recruitment programs are established, it is paramount to trust the process, to be patient and to remember that the combination of talent, with an inclusive culture, creates a winning team and business.