Recruiting Supply Chain Talent: Three Considerations for Food and Beverage Industry

By updating your organization’s recruitment, onboarding and engagement processes to appeal to an evolving candidate pool, you can enable a future-facing business strategy.

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The supply chain talent market faces a significant shortage of skilled professionals, which will worsen in the coming years. According to data from MHI, hiring and retaining qualified workers (57%) and the talent shortage (56%) were the top supply chain challenges cited by survey respondents. In fact, most worldwide companies (87%) say they have a skills gap or expect to in the next few years, according to McKinsey.

While the talent gap has existed for some time, the pandemic and increased demand for consumer goods magnified it -- especially in the food and beverage industry, with nearly half (49.4%) of food companies citing labor and talent management among the top challenges the food shipping industry faces today. These factors, coupled with today’s market uncertainty, have made it difficult for organizations to attract and retain the workforce they need to position themselves for the future.

To close the talent gap in the food and beverage industry, organizations must:

Tackle the low-hanging fruit to attract supply chain talent today

The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion people in the next 30 years, according to the United Nations. As the population continues to grow, the need for workers - from processing and packaging machine operators to procurement and distribution professionals, project managers, and data scientists - will also increase.

To get ahead of competitors and attract qualified workers, organizations need to update their talent acquisition strategies from the start of the hiring process. This involves revamping job descriptions to enhance their brand story and appeal to potential applicants from diverse backgrounds, including women in what has traditionally been a heavily male industry.

Employers must meet talent where they want to be found and advertise open positions on relevant job boards and social media platforms. Further, organizations need to look at the data to evaluate where they’ve had the most success in recruiting and explore new, creative ways to uncover hard to find talent such as partnering with industry and trade associations, minority organizations, trade schools and universities and adopt more grassroot approaches.

Lastly, organizations must be more transparent about compensation, benefits, and perks they can offer and explore staff augmentation solutions from trusted partners to fill open positions.

Keep the best supply chains professionals in your organization engaged

There’s no question that employee engagement affects a company’s bottom line, as high employee turnover can impact every aspect of the supply chain industry. More than half (54%) of all supply chain organizations report that an inability to access talent has interrupted or curtailed business activities in their organizations during the past year, according to Gartner.

In response, supply chain leaders must deliver on the employee promise throughout the employee’s lifecycle with the company. This requires providing mentorship opportunities and creating onboarding experiences to make the role feel rewarding and meaningful for new hires from the start. To further engage valued workers, organizations must also implement enhanced, modern performance checks and refresh employee referral programs. Employee referral programs should focus on building relationships with potential candidates not looking to make a move just yet, encouraging workers to stay in close contact for the future.

Additionally, companies need to focus on developing career paths for current employees and invest time and resources in new hires. This involves offering continual learning and development opportunities, setting clear expectations for each role, celebrating the successes and creating a culture of recognition and development for those that go above and beyond the day-to-day. Establishing career ladders allows organizations to look internally to reduce employee turnover, address potential skills gaps and create the workforce of the future.

Build a successful employer branding strategy to improve your talent

In today’s highly competitive job market, a positive employer brand can help create and facilitate interactions with job seekers. Yet, these interactions are only effective when companies rethink their approach to recruitment and start to consider the needs and wants of prospective applicants. This is especially the case if you’re trying to appeal to, recruit and retain diverse candidates, including veterans, women and younger, tech-savvy workers.

Building a positive employer brand can help organizations stand out and attract and hire the right people faster. But it’s not something you can go out and implement and getting it right presents challenges for organizations resistant to change. To be successful, leaders need to develop a talent brand strategy that effectively communicates the company's values and culture, and positively “markets” the organization to attract talent.

With 75% of active job seekers likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand, proper branding is imperative. An employer brand needs to express to potential employees that your organization has a culture that supports its people and their career development. This includes communicating what your organization can offer like your employer value proposition, workplace culture and unique employee experiences.

Preparing for the future

Developing a positive employer brand can boost brand awareness and improve ROI for recruiting methods. Take a leading industrial food processing manufacturer for example. It brings in an employment branding consultant to create a comprehensive talent brand activation strategy. In doing so, this organization was able to increase their hiring by 50% in just three months and save $150,000 through optimized job board spending.

With company valuations increasingly weighted toward intangible assets such as reputation, culture and values, organizations have been forced to take a fresh look at how they appear to prospective employees. By updating your organization’s recruitment, onboarding and engagement processes to appeal to an evolving candidate pool, you can set yourself apart from competitors and enable a future-facing business strategy.