The Power of Education:

Your Key Competitive Advantage In A Tight Labor Market …


The Great Reshuffling

By now you’ve heard the term ‘Great Resignation’ — and there certainly is a lot of resigning going on — but to me, that’s only half the story. People aren’t just leaving the workforce, they’re moving around, changing roles, and rethinking careers. They’re seeking jobs that fit into their lives rather than bending their lives to fit around their jobs. There’s no doubt a disruption is taking place – employees and employers are redefining their relationships and the power balance is shifting. 

The pandemic has changed the way we do business. For better or worse we’ve all had to adapt, throwing out the old playbook and focusing on what works now. The good news is, it’s been successful! The digital economy is strong and businesses are thriving. Companies are hiring at a record pace – the number one indicator of growth. This is actually a very exciting time in the digital industry. 

However — complicating matters for employers —  the recruitment landscape has changed dramatically. Pandemic-related burnout has led many employees to pause, take-stock of their values and explore new opportunities. Adobe just released a survey of 3,400 young enterprise workers. It shows more than half of Gen Z workers surveyed plan to pursue a new job in 2022. The main motivator was a low rate of job satisfaction. In fact, numbers have hit a multi-generational low, with only 56% satisfied with their work/life balance and 59% with their job overall. This is forcing employers to step-up their game, take a hard look at their culture and drive hard to make their company a place employees want to work. 

There’s a ton of movement right now, which is great. But with talent in high-demand, candidates understand their value — also great —  and are seeking roles that don’t just pay well but come with a team-focused culture and opportunity for growth. Employers are facing two big challenges: competing to attract experienced candidates and struggling to retain valued employees. 

I believe education is at the core of both hiring and retention solutions.   

Expand Your Horizons

Many employers are saying that it is harder and harder to match available positions to the quality of applications received. It’s no longer possible to demand applicants have several years of experience in a similar role. It’s time for a different approach. 

When hiring, instead of focusing exclusively on candidates with experience in a specific role, consider casting a wider net with an eye for intelligent, motivated people that can be upskilled. Offer training as part of the onboarding package. It shows you’re willing to invest in your employees, making you an attractive option for quality candidates. 

With this approach, you can hire faster and more efficiently. Which can help you scale your business and compete much more effectively!

Re-Train to Retain

Recruiting talent is vital for growth, but holding on to valuable team members is just as crucial. 

Upskilling and training is a proven way to increase morale and offer a path for growth within the company. It shows you are invested in your team, which is a great way to create a happier, more satisfied workforce. Employees that feel appreciated and nurtured tend to stick around. 

Upskilling your employees isn’t just about limiting attrition rates. It’s also about cultivating an excellent team and investing in your company’s future. Think of it as a business imperative. A relatively small investment in training can result in a higher skilled, highly motivated, more productive and ultimately more loyal team.  

And word gets around – when potential new recruits hear that your company invests in employees, they’ll want to be part of the team.  

The Goods

If you aren’t relying on the old standby of work experience and credentials to fill a role, then what should you be looking for? In my experience it comes down to:

  • Principals
  • Coachability
  • Versatility
  • Resilience
  • Confidence
  • Work Ethic
  • Loyalty

If you find a candidate with these qualities, make the offer. Then train them. This approach will be your competitive advantage. 

Transformation Through Education

I’m kind of an education geek. I love teaching and I love learning. I believe 100% in the power of education to transform – not just individuals but entire organizations. So maybe that’s why I find solutions to complex issues like the Great Resignation within the framework of education. When I founded U of Digital in 2018, it was with a simple idea: Make the digital marketing industry better through credible, digestible, and applicable education. That seed of an idea has grown into a slate of in-person workshops and online courses. Through our work I’ve seen firsthand how knowledge empowers teams and builds value for companies. 

So, as you’re looking to grow your team in this challenging environment, seek out those traits that “can’t be taught”, like principals, motivation and intelligence. Don’t reject a great applicant because of a small skill-gap. That can all be solved with education. 

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