A Workforce Development Strategy Component You May Not Have Thought Of

Christina Metcalf
Christina Metcalf
Published on 08/21/2023

Since the pandemic, small businesses have had a lot to be concerned about. This has left chamber pros lamenting about what role they can play in helping businesses with their top concerns: inflation, rising interest rates, revenue, and supply chain disruptions. These are national business challenges and local chambers can only do so much. However, there is a local problem that many businesses are facing—hiring. The hiring challenge is within the chamber wheelhouse. Through workforce development programs, including upskilling and reskilling the workforce, chamber pros can make a big difference in their members’ lives. Fostering a skilled and talented workforce not only benefits local businesses but also fuels the growth of the entire community. But it requires strategy with an eye on the long term.

It's critical to have a workforce development strategy these days and most chambers are making this a priority. However, there’s one component of an effective workforce development strategy that may be ignored. And that’s the role that technology can play in developing a workforce. In this blog post, we'll explore the untapped potential of using technology to streamline tasks and provide actionable insights for amplified results.

Importance of Workforce Development in Chambers of Commerce

Workforce development isn't just a buzzphrase; it's a critical factor in shaping the economic landscape of your community. Chamber pros play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between businesses and talent. By equipping local organizations with a skilled workforce, you contribute to job creation, economic growth, and the overall vibrancy of your region. A robust workforce development strategy ensures your business community remains competitive and agile in the face of industry changes.

A Workforce Development Strategy Component You May Not Have Thought Of—Technology

While the traditional approach to workforce development involves job fairs, training programs, and partnerships with educational institutions, the potential behind using existing and adopted technology often goes unnoticed. Technology not only streamlines your workforce development activities and amplifies your chamber member's networking capabilities but can also drive your workforce development initiatives to new heights.

Strategies and Tools for Utilizing Technology in Workforce Development

  1. Virtual and In-person Job Fairs: Encourage virtual job fair participants to use your networking referral software. This can help job seekers track opportunities with businesses but also enables business participants to track job seekers and contacts. Other technology that can be used in virtual job fairs includes e-card apps, job fair event management software, and tech that provides access to scannable resumes/profiles (such as a QR code).

  2. Networking Programs: Part of helping employees find work involves encouraging them to network and teaching them the importance of building connections. Use referral networking software to help them see the value in their connections.

  3. Job Postings with a Twist: Encourage the sharing of jobs through referral networking software. This can help employers find candidates who are connected to their employees. A known connection is often a higher value candidate. Additionally, Online Job Portals can help participants find relevant job opportunities in their area, connecting them with potential employers.

  4. Skill Development Webinars: Host webinars on video conferencing technology like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These remote workshops, webinars, and virtual mentorship sessions are more likely to fit into viewers’ schedules than in-person events. You can also use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide online training courses, workshops, and resources to help individuals develop relevant skills. This software tracks progress and offers certifications upon completion.

  5. Data Analytics and Reporting: You won’t know if your workforce development program is working or not without analytics and the easiest way to do that is with technology. Ensure you capture the start point (and/or historic) data and compare it to after you’ve begun implementing your program. Report on your findings. Then fine-tune your programs and identify areas for improvement.

  6. Connecting Your Community: Creating online communities and utilizing social media platforms can facilitate knowledge sharing and networking among business and employee participants. These communities can also serve as a type of R&D area to understand the conversations going around involving workforce.

Tech Focus: Unlocking the Power of Networking and Referral Group Software

As mentioned above, referral and networking software can be used in chamber workforce development initiatives. It’s not just for sales leads.

Building Connections

While traditionally people think about referral groups in reference to sales leads, you can also encourage members to share leads of different kinds. If your member is having difficulty hiring or, conversely, is looking for a job (or knows someone who is) networking/referral software can provide a platform for businesses and job seekers to connect directly. This real-time interaction enables your chamber to curate tailored connections, aligning the skills of job seekers with the needs of local businesses.

Expanding Referral Networks

Referral software allows your members to improve relationships with others and expand their networks. Larger, more strongly connected networks lead to better opportunities for those looking for work and those who want to hire. By tapping into the chamber's extensive network, referral group members can identify hidden talent pools and match them with job openings. Depending on the need in your community, it may even be advantageous to include a recruiter or make workforce needs a part of each referral group meeting.

In a world where technology is transforming the way we do business, embracing technology like networking and referral software as part of your workforce development strategy is a game-changer. By harnessing the power of these tools and others, chamber of commerce professionals can build a thriving ecosystem where businesses flourish and individuals find meaningful career opportunities. Leveraging technology as part of your workforce development initiatives is a catalyst for shaping the future of your community's workforce.

About the author

Christina Metcalf

Christina Metcalf is a writer who loves stories and specializes in assisting small businesses and chambers of commerce to tell theirs.


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