Okanagan Staffing Tips for 2018

How many times have you heard about the Okanagan not being an easy place to find employment?  They say that there is a “Sunshine Tax”, yet recent reports suggest that that there are more jobs in the Okanagan than there are workers.  Earlier this year, it was reported that staffing shortages plagued the Oliver Hospital in the South Okanagan.  Another staffing shortage is being experienced by the RCMP in the South Okanagan where multiple business cases have been submitted asking the provinces for additional officers based on the new Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver.


More recently, School District #83 in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, like many other districts, has been going through a hiring boom as enrollment is up and staffing needs increase.  In Vernon, local shelters are feeling the impact of a worker shortage in the North Okanagan. In this article, co-executive director Kelly Fehr stated that the John Howard Society has been struggling to hire enough workers to consistently run its emergency mat program in recent months causing shortened hours and burnout of some existing staff.

There appears to be no shortage of jobs in the Okanagan these days.  Good problem to have right?  Well not so fast.  As witnessed above, various businesses across a variety of industries are feeling the impact of the worker shortage in the Okanagan.  If you are an employer who is looking to hire in the near future, you might want to consider these tips knowing that there is a current worker shortage.


Okanagan Staffing Tips for Hiring in 2018


Like many employers in the Okanagan, if you are having difficulty in finding employees to join your team, you may need to get more creative with your recruitment practices. Here are ten staffing tips when hiring in the Okanagan.


  1. Be Proactive in Recruitment – In a hyper competitive market for experienced talent, the early bird just might get the worm. As part of your staffing strategy be diligent in forecasting your hiring needs.  If you know that you will be looking to add staff to your organization, be proactive with the following:
    • Preparing the job posting(s)
    • Setting aside time for screening and interviewing candidates
    • Securing a recruiting agency to help you with your staffing needs
  2. Don’t be picky – If your job posting asks for everything under the sun in terms of experience and requirements, potential applicants may inadvertently think twice about applying. Lower the demands of “the ask” while trying to acquire a potentially less experienced candidate that can be trained or coached on the job.  Don’t scare applicants away by asking for too much for too little.  Be clear of the job requirements, and consider applicants who have the right attitude and work ethic while maybe not having all of the qualifications.
  3. Offer training opportunities – In some cases you may have to lower the expectation of the talent that you are looking for. Offering training opportunities may help entice applicants who may not otherwise apply for the position.
  4. Sweeten the pot – The fact is, nowadays you have to pay for top talent. The Okanagan has been traditionally known as a place where good paying jobs are hard to come by.  It’s time employers in the Okanagan start changing this stigma by offering competitive wages and benefits.  Sometime you just have to sweeten the pot to attract experience and talent.  Quite often in the long-run this can prove to be beneficial to your company than not. It cannot always be about cutting the costs.  Revisit your hiring budget and consider developing a more competitive compensation package for candidates.
  5. Share employment success stories – In the Digital Age, chances are potential applicants will be researching your company on your web properties. As a result, it is a good idea to have testimonials on your website from current (or past) employees as to the benefits of working in your organization.
  6. Create clear job descriptions – So many organizations create job descriptions that are either too in-depth or not clear on the specifics of the position. In order to generate interest about vacant positions, be sure that you are creating clear job descriptions that speak to potential candidates.
  7. Set clear expectations – Be clear in your communication about the role, benefits and your company.
  8. Promote from within – You’ve built your organization on your people. It’s never a bad thing to promote from within.  Especially if it means that your hiring needs shift from requiring a ton of experience to requiring less.  Less can be more.
  9. Plan for the future – Similar to tip #1, planning for your hiring needs can help with the staffing process. Know when you need to hire and don’t wait for candidates to come to you.  Start the process early if possible.
  10. Work with an experienced staffing agency – No this is not a shameless plug, but staffing agencies like Aspire Recruitment Solutions have a strong understanding of the job market in the Okanagan and beyond. Why not take advantage of this knowledge and work with an Okanagan staffing agency to develop a strong recruiting and staffing strategy.

  From an employer perspective, staffing in the Okanagan can be a challenge.  Competition for talent is fierce.  However, following the tips above can give you a bit of a head start when it comes to fulfilling your staffing needs.

For more information on Okanagan staffing solutions, contact us today [link to: http://www.aspirehiring.ca/contact/] to set up a consultation.  Speak with one of our experienced HR consultants and begin preparing for your 2018 staffing needs today!