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Can’t find qualified workers? Then hire who you can and train them

November 17, 2011

In a number of conversations I have been having with some of my clients and other business owners, the topic of how your business is doing comes up. What I am finding is that most of them are doing quite well. They just don’t brag about it. When they find themselves in conversations with other business owners, who are complaining about how bad things are, they simply change the topic or quietly excuse themselves from the discussion.
Pete Cappelli recently reported in the The Wall Street Journal that “even with the unemployment rate hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can’t find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting.” Many business owners insist that our school systems are not providing the right kind of training and education. The government is not allowing enough highly skilled immigrants into the country, or the Obama administration is not providing enough grass roots support for small business owners across America. All of these reasons might play a part in the overall conundrum we find ourselves in today, but the real criminal just might be the business leaders themselves.
Cappelli makes the point that “despite the claim that there is a lack of skilled workers is an illusion. The real problem is that these business owners can’t get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered. That’s an affordability problem, not a skill shortage.”
So what’s a small business owner to do? It has been proven that there are plenty of job candidates out there who could easily fill an employer’s expectations. If, and this could be a big if, some companies would train the people they hire, they could find the people they need. With an organized training plan, employers could locate job applicants who have many of the basic qualifications and fine tune the individuals with specialized training so they would be able to handle the specific requirements of the job. 
Smart companies have always seen the advantage of spending money on education and training for their employees, managers and themselves. They reap the benefits of a team with skills sets that are at higher levels than their competitors. They don’t brag about their increased sales in these “tough times.” They just happily watch their market share and profits grow. 
If you are considering investing in training for you and your staff, make sure it includes how to be more innovative and creative. You and your team need to look at your clients’ needs and wants and identify the problems they are trying to solve. From there, you can get into action and come up with new ways that you can implement, that will satisfy your client’s problem areas.
It is safe to say every business owner reading this article has practiced “outside the box” thinking at some time or another in their past as it applied to their business. For some reason that approach worked so well, they simply stopped using it.
Like I have always said, “If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will get less, much less than you have had in the past.” What is critical to recognize, is that your clients and prospective clients still have just as many, if not more problems, than they have had in the past. If you just change your perception of how you and your staff are capable of doing the kinds of things that will solve those problems, the solutions you could offer to your clients could be just around the corner.
Keeping an open mind, and yes, “thinking outside the box” while taking action with your new ideas and approaches, will put you in a league of your own. Your competitors will be scratching their heads wondering how it is your company continues to improve and succeed in these “tough times.” Getting your people together for a series of “strategic innovation sessions” could be the best way to put your company on the path to a more successful and profitable 2012. Email or call me to obtain my FREE E-list of 10 Tips on How to Help Your Team be More Creative and Innovative. You can put these ideas to work at your next team meeting.
So, the next time you hear someone complaining about how bad the economy is, ask yourself if this person is the kind of person who is an innovative and creative thinker and doer? If not, make the suggestion that they may want to “quit complaining and get some training.” If they say they can’t afford it, ask them how long they want to stay in business? If their response indicates that it would be for more than one year, remind them that, chances are, they can’t afford not to learn how to be more creative and innovative. 
Tom Borg is owner of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. , 734-404-5909.
Click here to listen to one of SBAM’s free audio seminars featuring Tom talking about improving employee communications.
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