A great workforce is the soul of any effective and successful company. And when your company is in tech, engineering, or other specialized spaces, it only becomes more important to invest in qualified employees who have the specialized skills that your work demands.
But building that workforce isn’t always easy. Nor is maintaining it. But if you stay one step ahead of possible problems and disruptions, your most important resources — your employees — will stay productive and keep your company on top.
Here are a few proven methods can lead to strong specialized workforces.
Train your team in-house
In today’s age of hyperspecialization, there are some skills that you have to let your employees learn while you pay them. Particularly when it comes to proprietary software and tasks related to closely-guarded competitive secrets and intellectual property, there is simply no real alternative to on-the-job training.
This is why engineering and tech firms need to invest in constant training and re-training. A properly run mentorship program or volunteer training sessions after-hours can help you manage this process by keeping costs down and quite literally letting your employees train each other. But you should still be investing in formal training too.
Hold onto your best
It’s common knowledge that the biggest raises come from switching companies and switching jobs. Your employees know this, too — which is why you need to work aggressively to hold onto the experts whose specialized skill sets you rely on.
Invest in quality benefits, which are often more important than salaries to many employees. Monitor company morale and invest in work-life balance measures that keep your team happy. And when push comes to shove, remember that matching offers and promoting from within are worth it to keep employee turnover low.
If your workplace demands a highly specialized workforce, then you may think that temps and staffing agencies just aren’t an option. And it’s true enough that major temp agencies probably lack the highly skilled and highly motivated individuals that you need. But that doesn’t mean you’re totally out of options.
You should consider specialized companies like engineering staffing agencies. Such agencies are all about their specific industry, not about general temp work. In fact, it’s not unusual to find staffing agencies that also offer custom design, R&D, and other outsourced services.
In a way, such agencies exist somewhere between staffing agencies and outsourcing firms. Either way, you get the skilled workers that you need and the superior results that you expect.
Analyze and plan ahead
When you rely on a specialized workforce, you are less able to absorb sudden departures than other types of businesses. That means you need more aggressive workforce management solutions, and you need to take a long view of your workforce planning.
Superior workforce planning is a hallmark of high-performing organizations. It’s something that you may want to hire a consultant to help you handle, because the details and the methodology matter.
When done right, workforce planning can help you map out the future of your company, streamlining the solutions discussed above into a unified plan. This helps ensure that you always have employees ready to step up and take over for departing staff.
Creating a specialized workforce isn’t easy, and holding onto one can be ever harder. A few key departures can disrupt your whole operation if you’re not careful. Plan ahead, be ready with alternative solutions like specialized staffing and outsourcing, and stay on your toes.
When your company relies on specialized skills, you need to have the skills to manage that.