VA Ready Business Partner Summit – October 2021
As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, businesses across the state are struggling to keep doors open. It’s all because of the continuing labor shortage that is impacting a wide range of industries.
It’s not only employers that are struggling, however. Thousands of Virginians are still out of work and unable to land an available position because they don’t have the necessary skills to fill open jobs.
Businesses across Virginia convened to discuss the issues and potential solutions to this continuing labor shortage at the semi-annual Virginia Ready Partner Summit Meeting on October 20th. VA Ready CEO Caren Merrick opened the conversation between the thirteen attending business partners, which included BAE Systems, EY, Genworth Financial, Northrop Grumman, Sentara Healthcare, SAIC, and Verisign, companies that employ many VA Ready Scholars.
“If we think about the really innovative way that Virginia Ready is providing access to education and job opportunities, it actually aligns perfectly with SAIC’s business strategy, which is focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and bringing more skilled talent into the workforce,” said Michelle O’Hara, Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer at SAIC.
During the summit, O’Hara and two other recently elected board members led the conversation on how business partners can improve their efforts to find and retain the right talent for their companies.
1. Offer clear career pathways
The current labor shortage has shown companies that they need to invest in their employees in the long-run to avoid staffing issues down the line. A great way to do that is by providing clear career pathways. Companies should map achievement pathways for all different levels of employment with the company so that employees will be able to envision the path they must follow to achieve success in the workplace.
2. Identify available workers in your talent pool
Identifying individuals with the skills needed to succeed has become harder than ever during the labor shortage. A partnership with the Virginia Ready Initiative can help companies find people that are interested in working in their field of work. Not only does the partnership match companies with future employees, but it gives future employees the avenues to success that they’re looking for.
“We’re creating a pipeline and an understanding of the candidates who are out there and making sure that we give priority to individuals in these programs so they don’t feel lost in the process,” said Becky Sawyer, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Sentara Healthcare.
3. Improve recruiting efforts to connect with the right people
The Coronavirus pandemic forced many companies to send employees home to work online, forever changing how businesses operate. That change also impacted how companies connect with potential employees. Companies are now implementing more virtual career events which are actually easier for connecting potential employees with hiring managers. Some of Virginia Ready’s partners utilize these changes to better connect with their Scholars and help them land a job after they’ve finished their reskilling programs.
The changing landscape of the business world has propelled companies to make vital changes to their recruitment and hiring efforts. Partners of the Virginia Ready Initiative recognize that these changes need to be made in order to hire more employees and combat the continuing labor shortage.
Now is the time though for Virginians to take advantage of the positive changes occurring at these companies. Virginia Ready’s partners want to invest in their employees, just as Virginia Ready has invested in the education of their Scholars to help them land an in-demand job. It is never too late to make a career change, especially with businesses like Virginia Ready helping Scholars to succeed.