The ticking time bomb regarding professional communication

Geschreven door Marijn de Geus | February 21, 2019
The tight labour market pushes employers to the limit in order to fill their job openings. They have to pull out all the stops to find enough people. More often, it is even more urgent than whether the candidate has all qualifications for the job. Because of this, employers in some sectors are taking huge risks. Is it possible to defuse this ticking time bomb?


There is a considerable lack of qualified workforce especially in construction, ICT, transport and logistics, and health care. 46% of job openings are hard to fill, according to the most recent poll of social benefits agency UWV, filled in by over 2000 employers. Employers have to be creative. Job requirements are changed in order to address a new group of employees. Employees come from various directions; from abroad, from other sectors or directly out of college, with or without degrees. These employees are often unqualified for the position.


Dangerous territory

In some sectors, employers are venturing into dangerous territory, for example, if specific professional communication is required for the job. Train drivers who communicate with traffic controllers for example, doctors who provide medical information to patients, or financial service providers who counsel customers. Professional associations set specific quality requirements for this type of communication and they may address members who do not meet these requirements.

Making mistakes

Mistakes in communication are being discovered more often. Society demands more transparency. The ease with which conversations can be recorded might be in conflict with privacy agreements, but for the public, the end justifies the means. Not only for contact with customers or patients, but communication between colleagues as well.

At least investigate if a new employee is capable to execute the critical communication required for the job.

The employer’s responsibility

Of course, employers use creative solutions to make up for the labour shortage. But at least they could investigate if a employee is capable to execute the professional communication required for the job, despite lacking the right degrees. There is no need for a costly and time-consuming assessment anymore. A trustworthy online test, custom-made for the specific profession skills, is an appropriate alternative. The recorded results establish the employee’s skill level. If they are not yet at the right level, there is no need to spend a lot of money or time to upskill the employee.

Prevent mistakes

The ticking time bomb has to be defused and testing and training are the necessary and right tools for it. Mistakes made due to faulty communication can have major consequences for those affected, for the reputation of the sector and the organization itself. And last but not least, the employee himself. The employee has been lured in for the job, and has unknowingly made a mistake. A test could have prevented this, and employers are responsible to facilitate such a test.

Case study: Safety on the train track

Safety first; this is of the utmost importance for the Dutch Railroads (Nederlandse Spoorwegen). Train drivers cannot afford to make mistakes. Hence, a lot of attention is given to clear and unequivocal communication between train drivers and, for example, train traffic controllers. Despite that, Dutch Railroads noticed that information did not stick. Read how they approach this problem in the case study.


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