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How to Overcome Staff Shortages in Your Business

Job Magnet Internal Pipeline for Staff Shortages

Over the last few years, staffing shortfall has massively transformed America’s labor market. While reports suggest COVID-19 has been the catalyst behind the shrinking workforce, the reality is – the unprecedented mass exits (aka ‘The Great Resignation’) were already in momentum before the pandemic entered the global landscape. In fact, during COVID, workers held on to their jobs for a brief period, citing uncertainty, but as soon as the crisis abated, the resignations were back to full throttle.

According to the latest reports, nearly half of the workers who voluntarily left the workforce do not intend to return anytime soon, causing an extreme staffing shortage. If employers fail to address the urgency of the situation, by 2030, more than 85 million positions could go unfilled.

Suppose you are dealing with such a situation. If high attrition, talent instability, or a volatile labor market racks up your brain and drains your energy – fire up your Internal Talent Marketplace. Internal mobility has been a game-changer for companies like Unilever, Schneider Electric, and Ford Otosan. You can be next!

Internal mobility will not bring your talented workers back, but it can stop the ones from further leaving by encouraging career agility. The model allows workers to pick new roles, projects, short-term/long-term assignments, and re-skilling opportunities.

There could be two possible scenarios where your workers might be looking for a change: 

  1. If your workforce comprises primarily baby boomers who have worked for approximately four decades and are now entering a semi-retirement phase or a relatively mature workforce, their expectation would be flexible working hours, reduced burnout, better access to training and development, and maybe a switch to more of a subject matter expertise, consulting advisory role. Given their immense knowledge, expansive thinking, and outstanding experience, this generation would fit nicely into a strategic role, so aligning them accordingly would give them a sense of fulfillment.
  2. If your workforce comprises millennials, their aspirations would be entirely different. They would be seeking a creative, experimental, and vibrant workspace. They value work-life balance, career flexibility, and inclusion but are also highly ambitious and lose interest quickly if the job doesn’t offer much learning. They are incredibly perceptive of how a company is treating them. Fair and equal pay motivates them; however, it’s not the only motivator.

Most organizations today juggle between millennials and baby boomers. Hence, establishing an in-house talent pipeline that serves both generations is essential.


Here's what you can do to incorporate a comprehensive & diverse 'Internal Talent Marketplace' -

  • Incorporate career mobility in your HR policies. Make it official! An internal mobility program should be embedded in every organization’s HR strategy. When companies groom their employees, provide them with opportunities to grow, encourage them to diversify, and up-skill them from time to time, they seldom look outside. HR leaders should look for in-house talent and offer role-to-role and project-based mobility. This model safeguards an organization from hiring a misfit, the cost of which can be exorbitant. Sometimes, companies hire from outside. Those employees take years to learn and adapt to company culture and still don’t perform as expected. Internal mobility mitigates that risk.
    Another advantage to this program is setting up a dynamic internal talent pipeline increases the chances of retaining your workforce. A mature workforce that derives great meaning from their work sees challenging opportunities as stepping stones to growth and progress. Meanwhile, HR leaders get a chance to scout those who have the potential to be future leaders, especially since they have continued to display their strengths and capabilities for a long time and have become seasoned experts.
  • Identify tasks at a broader level. To establish an effective internal talent pipeline, lay down what you want to achieve in the next three years. What are your short-term goals? Break those goals into tasks and determine how much peoplepower would be required to complete those tasks. Accordingly, create or define the positions you want to fill up. Outline the skills and competencies needed to fill those positions.
  • Implement an AI-powered system to match internal jobs and potential candidates. Once you have designed internal career pathways and you are ready to fill priority roles, the next step is to identify a pool of candidates that would fit those roles or match the required skill set. If done manually, this can be an extremely tedious task. Hence, you are encouraged to use an AI-powered system as a matchmaker between potential employees and job roles. The next step is to share the listed opportunities with workers looking for growth and professional development.
  • Build your 'internal gig economy'. There is a perception that compensation, bonus, and salary hike can iron out all the employer-worker problems; however, many highly experienced workers and even millennials are not entirely driven by the idea of compensation and financial benefits when it comes to job satisfaction. In fact, these two commonly seek projects that capitalize on their skills. That is why short gigs, projects, or assignments that enhance collaboration and cut through silos may excite them. Employers often think they do every bit for their employees, but the workers feel differently. Hence, employers need to think from the employees’ perspective to tap and retain the best and brightest and ask them: 
  • What are they looking for?
  • Do they feel a sense of belonging at their workplace?
  • Do they enjoy their work?
  • Are they looking for any change?
  • Are they aware of any internal opportunities that can help them thrive at work?
To make internal gig marketplace more effective, employers can set targets, KPIs, and assessment parameters to assess a worker’s performance. They should explain what is expected of the workers and how they would be evaluated against set targets.
  • Encourage open communication with your workers around future employment possibilities. Internal Talent Mobility program is having an open exchange of ideas and thoughts with your workers. If you are operating on a traditional work model, consider changing it, given it may no longer fascinate baby boomers (who have spent most of their careers as part of it) or millennials who may feel it’s too rigid or hierarchical. Hence, as an employer, if you have sensed dissatisfaction or restrained effort from their side, address it openly with them.

    Inviting their views and opinions shows that you care and would take the necessary steps to resolve their issues. The workers would also feel an integral part of the organization. Open communication builds trust. One of the significant barriers to implementing an in-house talent pipeline is the lack of visibility around internal openings. Open communication will facilitate information-sharing.
  • Use ‘Internal Talent Pipeline’ as a source of strategic advantage. Companies should avoid looking at internal mobility from a pigeonhole if they want to make it a success. Encouraging internal talent movement can also support an organization strategicallyFor instance, this model can help groom managers into great leaders. It can also serve as a valuable tool in employee engagement. Learning and development is at the heart of internal mobility. The programs can be a playground for high performers who want to step out of their comfort zone and consider assignments beyond their forte.

If you don’t want to lose your talented workforce to competitors and are looking for ways to establish a steady and reliable internal talent pipeline, our professionals at Cornerstone Consulting Organization can help you get started.

PSS cannot and does not provide legal advice. It’s important to consult with qualified counsel before adopting any new policies. It’s also your responsibility to determine whether legal review of work product is necessary prior to implementation.