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Labour shortage as an obstacle to success and growth – how to solve the problem?

Finland suffers from a labour shortage, and it can also be an obstacle to the success and growth of many companies. A labour shortage can be seen e.g., as a weakening of international competition and, above all, as a slowdown in growth, especially in the ICT sector. With digitization, the vitality of the ICT industry is important for the entire Finnish society, as it affects all industries, both private and public.

As one of Finland’s largest software houses, we at Accountor have also faced the challenges of the labour shortage in the ICT sector and have seen it necessary to seek solutions to them through various means. On the other hand, it has also encouraged us to develop solutions to help our customers that are facing the same challenges. We are constantly working to be an attractive and good employer to ensure that we have the best and most committed people in the field, so that we can offer our customers the highest quality expertise in the form of services and products.

Based on our experience, we encourage organisations to take the following actions to ensure workforce availability:

  • Development of external employer image
  • Development of internal employer image, sustainability and job satisfaction of personnel
  • Development of job-based skills and utilization of new workforce
  • When necessary, outsourcing of labour and tasks and utilization of temporary labour
  • Actions aimed at utilizing the international workforce
  • Using artificial intelligence to make the current workforce more efficient

Below I explain these themes in more detail – pick the most suitable tips for use in your own organisation!

Development of external employer image

Developing an external employer image is even more critical for a company’s success. Important factors are the company’s reputation and brand, which are based, among other things, on the company’s values, business practices, customer satisfaction and sustainable operations. The company’s work culture, leadership and the wellbeing of the personnel also affect the external image of the employer. External employer image directly affects how attractive a company is to potential employees, customers and partners. A strong external employer image helps the company stand out from its competitors and attract the best talent.

Communication and marketing play a key role in developing the external employer image. An organisation must actively communicate what it does, why it does it and how the operation affects society and the environment. The company must also communicate openly and honestly about what it is like as an employer and what kind of benefits and opportunities it offers its employees.

The recruitment process and applicant experience are also important factors. Openness and honesty during the recruitment process is the basis of everything. Applicants must also be given the opportunity to ask questions and get the necessary additional information about the position they are applying for, or the employer. In addition, active communication about the progress of the application process is important for applicants; it gives the impression that applicants are cared for and valued, even if they are not selected for the position. Salary transparency is also strongly under the radar at the moment, and many organisations have already switched to salary transparency in their recruitment processes, e.g., by publishing the salary range for the job position applied for. The new salary transparency directive will require this in the future, so organisations should already think about actions leading to it. A good applicant experience also promotes personal recommendations in the applicants’ own network, but also more widely, e.g., via social media. This also applies negatively to a bad applicant experience.

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Development of internal employer image, sustainability and job satisfaction of the personnel

The development of internal employer image, sustainability and personnel’s job satisfaction is also equally important, and the development of these issues requires a systematic and consistent approach. The company must examine all the factors that affect the internal image of the employer and the job satisfaction of the personnel. This includes, among other things, management methods, front-line work, work environment, remuneration system, career development opportunities, personnel development, working time flexibility and diversity. In addition, the company’s sustainability is an important part of the internal image of the employer and the job satisfaction of the personnel; the company must take care of the environment, social responsibility and ethical operations. Sustainability increases the company’s positive reputation and attracts potential employees who share the company’s values and goals.

Functional systems and processes are also key in maintaining a successful employment relationship. From the beginning of the employment relationship until its end, it is important that employees have clear and understandable instructions regarding, among other things, salary payment, vacation days, sick leave and the terms of the employment contract. In addition, good communication during and at the end of the employment relationship is important from both the employer’s and the employee’s point of view. Successful onboarding, other processes related to the employment relationship and open communication help to reduce unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts during the employment relationship. The company must ensure that its systems are up-to-date and meet the requirements of labour legislation, so that employees’ rights are fulfilled, important information is up-to-date and that it is processed securely. Efficient and automated systems help ensure that everything runs smoothly and they also e.g., reduce the manual work of personnel and the possibility of human errors.

The development of the internal employer image, sustainability and job satisfaction of the personnel should also be measured regularly. This helps you understand what works and what doesn’t. The measurements can be, for example, personnel satisfaction surveys and job satisfaction measurements. Monitoring development and making the necessary changes is easier and more efficient with the help of measurement results.

Development of work-related skills and use of new workforce

Digitization and the fast-paced development of technology require continuous renewal and renewal in the organisation, but also the development of employees’ work-related skills and the retraining of employees. Competence has indeed been identified as one of the key success factors at the EU level.

The needs of the labour market and skills are changing faster than ever, and that is why it is important to invest in future experts, especially in the ICT sector. At Accountor, we work closely with various educational institutions, e.g., in the form of various student projects and by participating in student events. We therefore recommend cooperation with educational institutions as one way to increase the company’s awareness among future experts and as an opportunity to build an effective way to recruit them.

Outsourcing of labour and tasks and use of temporary labour

In many industries, by outsourcing certain tasks and using temporary labour, the organisation’s operations can be made more efficient and the challenges caused by the labour shortage can be eased. Temporary work can be used to fix temporary shortages, for example a fluctuating labour demand.

Accountor offers, among other things, efficient software solutions for managing temporary work. In addition, we produce financial, personnel, payroll, legal and tax services to meet the changing needs of our customers. When organisations in different industries need support in growth, streamlining operations or management, with our services we provide them with the best experts in the field, the most effective practices and the most modern systems. You don’t have to or should do everything yourself.

Global competition for talent - actions aimed at using the international workforce

International labour is an effective way to ease the challenges caused by labour shortages, especially in the ICT sector, but with digitisation and remote work becoming more common, global competition for talent will only intensify. As companies, we can only benefit from international labour if we are able to compete on the international labour market. In addition to a strong employer brand and personnel benefits at an international level, this requires e.g., lowering language requirements, dispelling prejudices and systematic work towards a more inclusive business.

An inclusive operating method will be an absolute competitive advantage in the future. In addition to multiculturalism, inclusiveness also means, for example, taking older age groups into account in recruitment, the proportion of women in management positions, or the adaptability of work for individual needs. This has been tackled at Accountor, for example, with inclusivity training for the entire personnel.

Use of artificial intelligence in making the current workforce more efficient

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising working life on a global level. Many already use software that utilizes automation or some kind of AI, but the development of AI has been so fast lately that it will shape the way we work in nearly every field. AI can be one solution to the labour shortage, because AI can replace individual tasks or even entire job descriptions. The earlier organisations can harness AI into their workforce, the better chance they have to succeed.

At Accountor, we are aware of the potential of AI and strive to use it to make our customers’ everyday life easier. In addition, we enhance the work of our own personnel with the help of AI, and we see it as an even stronger part of our operations in the future. However, it is important to us that the use of AI is done ethically and securely. We want to be forerunners in the use of AI and at the same time ensure that its use is safe for both the organisation and its customers.

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