Find the Right Employees Through Storytelling
Originally posted from SME Strategy
The British Columbia Construction Association states that ‘Even though the youth unemployment rate in BC is 14.5%, only 1 in 85 graduates enter the trades directly out of high school. We need that statistic to be 1 in 5 to fill the workforce gap.’ An amazing static, considering how lucrative and innovative careers in trades can be. So yes, there is a skills gap, and figures like this make it nearly impossible to deny. Also evident is the drop of the price of oil and the fall of the Canadian dollar. Both of these drivers push more people to diversify their career choices and explore options that may not include punching the clock at 9:00am, and again at 5:00pm. Or so we thought.
We need to change the way the experience of the job is externally articulated in order to attract people to jobs that may not fit the traditional ‘American Dream’.
The Forestry Products Association of Canada recently undertook a comprehensive industry-wide study that was designed with the help of Gen Y Inc. to better understand the perspectives and values of the people within various forestry and pulp industry jobs, as opposed to talking about the skills they have or the products they create. What was discovered is that different demographics value different things about their careers. Let’s take Aboriginals for example: Aboriginals in forestry felt a much higher degree of pride in their position, as compared to Generation X employees, who saw more value in making tangible difference in their careers. Telling the story of the individual proved to be much more effective than trying to blanket a prospective generation.
Too often we see career tabs that state that the job ‘will offer open communication, leadership development, have an open door policy, and infinite potential to grow within the organization.’ Great, but this doesn’t tell the prospective employee really anything about the job. Instead of an ambiguous statement that could really apply to any industry, consider telling the story of an individual in the position, and how they feel about the job they are doing. More importantly, discover ‘why’ they are there and tell that story.
Yes, there is a skills gap. We see it across numerous industries, and we are just now beginning to discover how to combat it. We at Gen Y Inc. feel that if values are told before skills, and that jobs are communicated based on experiences and stories instead of skills and requirements – which are still important of course – that we can attract people to industries that are lacking in the necessary supply of talent.