by Heidi Riley
Eddie LeMoine recently spoke about the new reality of labour shortages at the 2022 Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defense Association (ACADA) Sea to Sky Conference in Brudenell.
“Attracting and retaining talent is every industry’s biggest concern right now,” says Eddie, who is an expert on employee engagement, changing demographics, diversity, and performance development. “Things are never going to go back to the way they were before the pandemic.”
“There are currently more than one million unfilled jobs in Canada. Since last year, a lot of changes have affected the supply of labour. COVID-19 restrictions are coming back, and inflation has risen sharply. Global air travel is in disarray. Tourism and hospitality businesses are being forced to scale back their hours of operation.”
The pandemic’s effect on the labour shortage
Eddie says that during the pandemic, Canada lost about 1 million people from the workforce. Currently, 50 percent of those who have come back to work full time are working from home or in a hybrid work environment, and they do not want to change.
“That statistic has a big impact on the hospitality industry, which is really struggling right now. During the pandemic, 237,000 people in Canada moved out of that industry.
“Employers who have a policy that forces people to come back to the office to work must realize they have cut themselves out of 50 percent of the available labour market.”
Where is everyone? – Changing demographics
Eddie says that an aging population is another cause of the labour shortage. During the pandemic, many people who were over 65 and still in the workplace decided to retire. Soon there will be only two persons working for every person retired. That is not sustainable.
“New hires in Canada are overwhelmingly from the Z Generation (those born after 1996) and from immigration. The younger generation is going to school longer and changing jobs much more often. Employers hiring a Z generation person can expect them to stay for just 18 months on average.
“In Canada, there are 14,000 vacancies for headhunters. Companies want to lure people away from their present jobs.
“Last year at this time, Canada’s jobless rate was 7.8 percent. Now, a year later, Canada’s jobless rate is 4.9 percent. It means that the people still looking for work most often do not match what employers are looking for when hiring.”
“Every new job created in this country must be filled by someone who is currently not living here. All our future growth will come from immigration. This must be part of every company’s plan.”
In the first year of the pandemic, 184,000 immigrants came to Canada, compared to 341,000 the year before. But 190,000 people exited Canada during the pandemic to go back to their home countries. In 2021, only about 220,000 new immigrants moved to Canada.
“Employees are happier when they are engaged, have less stress in their lives, have a good work/life balance, and like what they are doing,” says Eddie. “Engaged employees stay at the job longer, give better customer service, come to work on time, and help the company to be more profitable.”
Eddie divides the workforce into three groups:
- 27 percent of employees are engaged. “These are your best people. They do 60 percent of the work. They contribute much more to the company than what they are paid.”
- 59 percent are not engaged. “These people also do 60 percent of the work, but it takes twice as many people to achieve that number.”
- 14 percent are actively disengaged. “These people take away 20 percent of a company’s productivity. They tear a business down.”
“The more you can move people into becoming engaged, the less likely they are to leave, and the more capacity you can get out of your business.”
How to engage employees and build capacity
- The biggest reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t like what they are doing. Look for tasks that people don’t like to do and outsource or automate them. Use automation to improve the human experience. Automate dirty jobs, dangerous jobs, and disengaging jobs.
- People stay if they like the people they work with. Improve relationships between managers and co-workers and communicate with people in a way that works for them – eg. by phone, email, text, or WhatsApp.
- Pay people a competitive wage.
- Make sure the job description is accurate, and that it does not ask for more qualifications than are necessary.
- Be flexible and open to new ways of doing things and allow people to work from home if possible.
- Be open to preparing people to find a new job.
- Be extremely clear on what your goals are and align those goals with the strengths of each employee.
To connect with Eddie LeMoine, call 902-943-4501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org