In December 2017 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the national unemployment rate was an astonishing 4.1%. This low rate means that many companies have unfilled openings because there simply aren’t enough people looking for jobs. More likely, though, they’re struggling to fill open positions because the type of people those companies want or need to hire are already employed by their competitors.
In the current employment market, whether your competitors sell the same products or services that you provide is irrelevant. The important thing is that they're competing with you for talent. If they're hiring the people you need, that action has the same negative financial impact on your business as cutting into your customer base.
After all, you need good people to make your company run. If you can’t continue to produce and distribute your products or services because you don't have enough employees, your business is in danger of failing. In this situation, what can you do?
There's actually only one viable option: to make your company more attractive than those that are competing for your talent. Essentially, you need to steal your competitors' talent. (That sounds a bit ruthless, but it's not called a "war for talent" for nothing!)
The key is to offer more attractive options. Start by looking at issues such as pay, working environment, perks, and schedule flexibility—all areas that can make or break a candidate's interest in an organization. Find answers to the following questions: Why did our top performers accept the job with us? Why do those employees choose to stay with us? What advantages (real or perceived) do our top talent competitors have over us? Let that information guide you in crafting your own incentives.
Unfortunately, this isn't a problem that has a quick fix but one that requires commitment to a long-term strategy. If you want to win the talent war, 2018 needs to be the year you step up your hiring game.