Editor’s Note: This Article Has Been Updated May 2, 2023
In late 2021, Forbes published an article about the difficult state of hiring for businesses around the world. The article stated that 54% of companies globally reported talent shortages in what proved to be a 10-year low for talent availability.
Just months later, ManpowerGroup published an infographic showing that number had risen to 75% of companies around the globe reporting that they’re having difficulty finding talent. Things haven’t gotten any better since then.
In the world of government contracting, we know that this shortage is hitting us especially hard. Not only do we have to find the talent and hire them, but we often have to have our employees undergo various background checks for clearances. On top of that, some people just find working as a government contractor to be intimidating.
But that’s also a good thing. It means that GovCon companies are used to having to work extra hard to attract talent, and now is the time when all of that experience is being put to the test.
Below, we’ll present some tips to help out those government contractor CFOs who are really feeling the struggle these days with finding, and keeping, new talent.
Re-Examine Your Benefits
Like most modern companies, yours is probably dedicating a significant amount of cash flow into benefits for your employees. And that’s a good thing! But how sure are you that the benefits you provide are what your employees actually care about? More and more companies are discovering that their benefit packages aren’t doing anything for employee retention simply because the employees don’t really care about them.
So, what do your employees actually want in terms of benefits? How can you shuffle around that money you’re spending to include benefits that matter? Well, a good place to start is working with HR to determine which benefits your people want. And you could always try asking your employees what they want.
Creating a benefits package that is actually appealing to your people will go a long way towards helping you attract new talent as well as keep the talent you already have.
It’s Not All About Salary
When employees leave, the tendency for a lot of companies is to blame the salary. And, well, it’s true that GovCon salaries aren’t going to compete with the commercial sector a lot of the time. For example, an engineer working at a nuclear lab that supports submarines isn’t going to make as much as an engineer working for Westinghouse.
But the reality is that it’s not always because of the salary. In fact, salary is usually only one of several things that cause an employee to leave a company. More commonly, things like opportunity for advancement or a lack of flexibility on the employer’s part are cited as reasons for leaving.
Look at what it is that causes people to leave your company. Try to reverse-engineer what makes people leave, and that will help you create solutions that will instead attract new employees. It really could be something like just offering more flexibility in areas that interest the people who work for you. People like to grow and learn throughout their careers, and helping them do that will be a major step in the right direction for your quest to find new talent.
Sometimes, You Just Have to Compromise
How did your company handle the return from lockdown? Are your employees spending 40 hours a week in the office? If they are, why? There are some business leaders out there who are very resistant to the idea of allowing a work-from-home or even hybrid schedule. They want to keep their employees in the office, and that’s that.
Look, things are different now. The talent shortage means that the power is with the talent. The ball is in their court. In effect, job interviews more than ever have become a way for employees to have their opinion as well, and you’re going to have to compromise a bit if you want to reach the best people for the job.
In terms of the example above, you’re going to have to consider a hybrid work schedule. Your competitors certainly are. If you simply can’t do hybrid working schedules because of the nature of your business, that’s okay. There are other things that can help too. Build a strong company culture, and provide great benefits and learning opportunities. Do what you have to do because the talent is only going to come to your company if you make them want to.
BOOST LLC Can Help You With Talent Acquisition
We understand the challenges so many government contractors are facing in the midst of this global talent shortage. We also understand the work it takes to overcome those challenges and bring great new people on board.
If you’re a government contractor and you’re struggling to hire, maybe it’s time to think about recruiting services for government contractors. Contact Us today and let’s talk about how we can assist.
About Stephanie Alexander, BOOST’s Founder & CEO
Stephanie Alexander has spent more decades than she wants to admit supporting high growth government contractors with an eye towards their bottom line. She is the CEO and founder of BOOST LLC which supports back-office functions for government contractors. She is a co-founder and Partner at govmates, a free teaming platform and technology scouting tool to connect business across the federal landscape.