Hard Facts: The talent gap is crippling the woodworking industry. Our most experienced workers are ageing out and the pool of new talent is shrinking rapidly. These problems stem from reasons such as lack of available applicants, lack of experience and lack of technical competencies/hard skills.
So how can a woodworking business address the most important part of its shop, the workforce?
Here are the 5 steps to developing a workforce talent pool:
- Focus on building a talent pipeline.
- Great companies are relentlessly focused on supporting and driving talent development.
- Great leaders recognize the importance of talent management.
- Embrace the skills gap and work on it like you would on a sales gap.
- Implement a TRM – Talent Relationship Management
- Use a CRM-like tool to create a talent pipeline.
- Assign the pipeline to someone with “Sales”-like ability and set goals and objectives like you would for a salesperson.
- However, the ultimate responsibility of the Talent Pipeline must rest with top management (Owner/President/CEO)
- Raise awareness in your own localities
- Develop a relationship with local educational facilities for potential employees.
- Help erase the stigma of woodworking being an “Alternative education”
- Engage young workers
- Inspire young talent in your business.
- Make your facility more attractive to young people.
- Prepare for the ageing out of the baby boomers.
- Each one, teach one – Assign people looking to retire in the next few years the responsibility of finding their replacement.
- Demand that they be accountable for spotting, developing, and retaining the next generation of leaders.
This solution isn’t glamorous, but it works. The multi-billion-dollar woodworking industry employs millions worldwide and we need to recognize the importance of reaching the next generation to address the skills gap our industry is facing. Woodworking executives must invest in management and professional development to find and develop the right people to execute our vision and strategy.