Back to Work: Building Talent Pipelines Amid Labor Shortages

Amid ongoing labor shortages, business leaders like Barbara Humpton of the Siemens Corporation share the importance of meeting employee needs and building talent pipelines.

Air Date: October 26, 2021

Moderator: Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Barbara Humpton, President and CEO, Siemens Corporation

Even before the pandemic, finding qualified workers was a challenge for businesses in many industries. With today’s ongoing labor shortage, especially in the skilled trades sectors, it’s more critical than ever for companies to find innovative solutions to keep existing employees and recruit new ones.

In this recent conversation at the Talent Forward Summit 2021, Barbara Humpton, President and CEO of Siemens Corporation USA, spoke about how her company is working to foster more talent in order to respond to the workforce shortage.

Embracing Flexibility and Listening to Employees’ Needs

From shifting life priorities to health concerns to early retirement, there are many reasons that employees might not reenter the workforce. Rather than forcing employees to come back onsite or return to their old jobs, the Siemens Corporation has embraced flexibility for its team.

“You hear a lot of people talking about a mandatory ‘back to work’ — that hasn’t been our goal,” explained Humpton. “Our goal has been to give people the flexibility to work wherever they are most effective.”

As people have been discussing "the great resignation," she encourages leaders to consider how they could turn it into "the great reassignment."

“If it’s true that people have … searched their souls and decided they really want to be doing something different, maybe ‘different’ could be offered right here within the Siemens Corporation,” Humpton said. “It is a seller’s market for talent, so if we want to retain our very best, we’ll be wise to listen to what they’re asking.”

Closing the Gender Gap Could Help Solve Sector-Specific Shortages

Humpton also notes that closing the gender gap and granting more opportunities for women would help alleviate the workforce shortage in sectors such as manufacturing.

"I had the opportunity to talk to Carolyn Lee of the National Association of Manufacturers, and she points out there is a nationwide shortage of 800,000 people needed in manufacturing," Humpton said. "And when you start looking at the underlying data, you realize, wow, if we could close the gender gap by only 20%, we could close the overall hiring gap in manufacturing by close to 50%. In other words, there are women out there. And if we could only tap into their talents, we could take giant strides forward."