Many regions in Canada are losing more than millions of dollars a year in their economies because they cannot find talent. A recent joint report by Ontario and local chambers of commerce suggests that young people are either unaware of the job opportunities or lack a desire.

The Windsor Star recently reported that the number of Windsor area companies experiencing an inability to find enough skilled trades employees has doubled in just three years, from 26 per cent in 2013 to 51 per cent in 2016, according to the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This is a symptom of the shortage that exists across several other regions in Canada in the hospitality and tourism industry. However, there are solutions employers need to explore. While many employers in the industry have continued to focus on the youth segment, this is a demographic cohort that is in decline except in the aboriginal community. This community needs to be a focus for employers with more work and research needed to be undertaken to understand how we can attract and retain this talent source.

Another source for talent is the mature worker who continues to have a desire and need for ‘purpose’ in their life but who may want a more flexible schedule. Hospitality and tourism organizations need to get creative, rather than lazy, in their scheduling practices in order to create a flexible workplace that recognizes various talent segments require different schedules because of changing lifestyle needs. Gone are the days when a manager created a schedule in 30 minutes and posted it Friday on the workplace bulletin board with hours assigned without regard for individual employee needs. That old philosophy of a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach and ‘if you don’t like it … tough’ no longer works.

Scheduling is now a much more complex art and is a core management action that impacts the workplace and its culture. If done correctly, it can be a key ingredient in keeping your employees engaged and reducing costly turnover.

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