Learning leaders are continually challenged to meet the changing needs of their internal learners and business partners. There’s a constant need to evaluate and balance learner needs and prioritizing learning and development programs that drive meaningful business results. With unemployment at a 30-year low, many organizations are struggling with attracting and retaining talent. Immediately and in the many years to come, Chief Learning and Talent Officers will need to shift their focus on cultivating talent internally to developing and executing on strategies externally.
While many organizations may have strategies and resources dedicated to college campus or trade school recruitment, a new focus of developing a talent pipeline through high school relationships and apprenticeships is essential. There is value in exposing high school students to career pathing and/or apprenticeship programs early-on as there is a potential to combine work-based, on-the-job learning with relevant technical education in the classroom. Students who participate in these programs may graduate with a high school diploma, real work experience, and in some cases, earn college credits, and industry credentials. They also start on a career path that continues after high school graduation – whether that is a continuation of their employment, along with college, college only, apprenticeship only, or other full-time employment.
LEADING WITH STRENGTH
Vi invests heavily in talent development with the goal of leveraging Vi’s commitment to a learning as part of the company’s value proposition to attract and retain talent. In fact, many of Vi’s leaders joined the company in high school and have taken advantage of the company’s front-line Management Development Program, tuition reimbursement program, and certification programs to pursue careers in hospitality, nursing or general management. Nonetheless, with the growing challenges of hiring hospitality and healthcare talent, Vi has shifted efforts and strategies to cultivate interest in health care and hospitality careers with high school students leveraging and refining Vi’s strengths in learning and organizational development.
WHY WAS THIS SHIFT NECESSARY?
As the population in the United States ages, the senior living industry will add nearly 350,000 jobs by 2025 and senior living employment will exceed 1.1 million according to Argentum, the nation’s largest senior living industry association. To meet these needs, Argentum states that the senior living industry will need to recruit 1.2 million new employees by 2025. And this is just one segment of the healthcare industry. According to the Work Institute, the healthcare industry employs over 12% of the U.S. workforce ratio of health-care job openings to available health-care workers of 2 to 1. Additionally, Vi competes heavily for culinary and dining services professionals to serve Vi’s residents. And, with 14 million U.S. restaurant workers, there’s simply not enough applicants to fill jobs.
Working with Vi’s culinary and nursing teams, Vi developed career ladders for culinary and entrylevel nursing positions. Vi’scareer ladder allows existing employees to drive their own career path by achieving specific skills through company-sponsored training programs and mentoring. An employee’s ability to progress through the career ladder is not limited to an open position — rather achievement of defined and demonstrated skills by role. Vi’s career ladder alongside the company’s Management Development Program and tuition reimbursement program provides Vi the value proposition necessary to be potentially be relevant to high school students.
Towards cultivating high school talent, Vi has created a specific career page and recruitment materials to not only paint a clear picture of career paths at Vi, but to also spark interest in meaningful work of making a difference in the lives of older adults. Vi intends to expand community outreach to high schools and continue pursuit of apprenticeship programs.
IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS – NOT ALONE
With the growing labor shortages, Chief Learning and Talent Officers do not need to tackle these challenges alone — leverage professional organizations and associations.
Vi joined Argentum’s recently launched “Senior Living Works” along with other senior living organizations. Senior Living Works is designed to support recruitment, retention, and training needed across the senior living industry — also known as “Careers in Caring.” “Senior Living Works” initial launch included a website and a Recruitment Engagement Toolkit, with a range of resources to support connections with high schools,technical schools, community colleges, and universities.https://seniorliving.works/
Talent leaders should also consider organizations such as the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with more than 40 years of experience in workforce learning, including 30 years of experience working directly with employers of all sizes across multiple industries to create and deliver effective talent management strategies. From developing best-in-class career pathing software, to creating career and education advising programs for employees, to targeted consulting, CAEL works with leading companies across all industries to help them maximize their investments in learning and talent management for their entire talent pipeline. CAEL has worked directly with employers to plan and deliver innovative and impactful learning and talent management strategies that target all employees — including the frontline and mid-level workforce. Companies use CAEL’s services to recruit, retain and engage their employees, and ultimately benefit from a pipeline of “right-fit” workers prepared to support their growth strategies. https://www.cael.org/
COLLABORATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
We’re at the intersection of talent acquisition and talent development. While many learning leaders have developed leading learning solutions to increase productivity, sales, decrease expenses, accidents, improve quality, and/or develop leaders, it’s clear the labor shortage isn’t going away anytime soon. Collaboration between an organization’s chief Talent Acquisition and learning leaders alongside their business partners is now more important than ever to cultivate and develop talent.