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HR: Winning Strategy Overcomes Skill Shortage


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The debate continues as to whether there are indeed skill shortages within the technical fields. One often hears organisations and recruiters complain about the difficulty in attracting candidates with technical skills. Are skill shortages really to blame or is it merely the wrong recruitment strategy that has been applied?

Nicolene Di Bartolo, MD of Nicolene Di Bartolo Management Appointments, says, “It really boils down to utilising a multi-dimensional recruitment approach, especially when you are seeking larger volumes of technically skilled candidates. If the strategy is right one can find the skills.”

This multi-dimensional type of strategy is proven in the delivery of 56 junior-to-senior technically skilled candidates to Kimberly-Clark in preparation for the launch of the state-of-the-art diaper machine, known as Project Disa, which was recently unveiled in Cape Town.

Ben Erasmus, Plant Manager at Kimberly-Clark says, “I don’t believe we would have accomplished our goals if it were not for the innovative approach proposed by NDB.

Di Bartolo says, “Kimberly-Clark and NDB, worked hand-in-hand to achieve recruitment objectives to tight deadlines, with both parties 110% committed to the success of the project.”

“As an international organisation, Kimberly-Clark, applies a global mindset on how they work with recruitment organisations. We did not work against each other, instead HR, Line Management and the Recruiter worked towards a common goal as a team. This was truly a refreshing methodology that laid the foundation for the success attained.”

Erasmus says, “The recruitment approach we utilised was very different, due to the large numbers of talent we required, including technical talent, in a very short period of time. NDB was commissioned to run the project and although skills shortages did pose a challenge, they proactively monitored the results and made recommendations on varying attraction approaches, advertising channels and media available. They really became a part of Kimberly-Clark during the process.”

Di Bartolo mentioned that another definite contributor to the success of this recruitment project is that all parties’ thinking were aligned in terms of the end-goal, competencies sought and the right organisational fit; in addition to Kimberly-Clark sharing the critical knowledge necessary to educate candidates effectively on the positive aspects of the varied roles. This enabled them to create real excitement around the opportunity.

“These talented candidates who have been appointed will experience enormous personal and career growth through the experience they will gain from Kimberly-Clark. Candidates that were appointed have already received training abroad, many of them travelling internationally for the very first time. The new technology introduced to South Africa means that South Africans are being exposed to global innovation,” says Di Bartolo.

“We are extremely proud to have contributed to the further employment of 56 South Africans through our involvement in the project; and to have disproved the myth that skills shortages cannot be overcome.”

Erasmus says, “We will definitely utilise this recruitment model within Kimberly-Clark going forward based on the results we achieved, the fact that we have created a great database of candidates and have further built the brand of Kimberly-Clark through the advertising campaign.”

The aforementioned certainly sheds new light on achieving recruitment objectives albeit within a scarce skills arena. A combination of working together, an effective strategy and clarity on the benefits of the opportunity can mean the difference in achieving recruitment objectives.

Di Bartolo said that maybe we shouldn’t all be so quick to pin everything on skills shortages, but reflect inward on the strategy being used. Be open to innovation; doing things a little differently

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