How To Overcome the Skills Shortage
Contributed by Bruce Anderson, Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison
Talent constraints are negatively affecting the performance and profitability of organisations – innovation initiatives are stalling due to talent shortage, while talent related costs are going up significantly.
It is evident that there is a growing need for strategic and effective talent development and retention in well-functioning organisations.
There are two ways CEOs can tackle skills shortages and the need for talent. They can either look within or outside of their organisations to fill knowledge and expertise gaps. While both strategies are worthwhile to consider and have their own merits, this article will focus on internal talent development.
From an expenses point of view, organisations can cut costs by investing in existing talent, rather than spending money on recruitment and induction. Another benefit of internal staff development (if done correctly) is higher engagement, job satisfaction and loyalty to the organisation.
Three Strategies to Internal Talent Development and Retention
1. Succession planning
Through new workforce planning processes, organisations are better able to predict positions where the needs will rise over the next four years.
These predictions should be used to drive succession planning efforts and to help leaders decide which staff should be trained to become the future leaders.
Part of workforce planning means involving valuable members of the staff in training and development of high potential staff. For example Baby Boomers have a lot to contribute when it comes to the creation of future leaders. Seek their knowledge, experience and expertise before they retire.
2. Define key leadership roles and identify resources
Traditional roles of leaders are being transformed with an increased focus on the ability to think and act strategically, drive change effectively and communicate intentionally.
Identifying team members who are creative thinkers, agile in ambiguous environments and readily adapt to new practices is key to success.
These individuals are:
- Energised about finding new approaches to increase business performance in cost effective ways;
- Competent and confident in leading change;
- Driven to provide exceptional customer service; and
- Communicate in multiple languages to service international markets.
Once potential leaders have been identified, an organisation can begin planning a training and development approach that resonates best with their talent.
For example organisations should consider one on one coaching, team coaching or blended learning and determine which approach will be the most effective in helping staff to achieve their full potential.
3. Engagement and training for all existing employees
Engaged employees are more productive and more involved in the business. Engagement is about having a personal or emotional stake in the business, rather than just coming to work to get paid.
Increasingly, employees are demanding a clear and consistent understanding of what they have to do to get ahead in their careers and expect complete transparency in the process.
One of the best ways to create meaningful and long-term engagement is to align organisational goals with the career goals of each staff member. Knowing that their personal aspirations are important to their employer, will give staff a reason to provide a meaningful contribution to the business.
Remember that while some of your staff aspire to senior and managerial positions, others will not be interested in taking on more stress and responsibilities. Each individual’s needs are unique and must be considered by the employer who wants to maintain high levels of engagement across the board.
The talent challenge has had a noticeable effect on organisations. Skills shortage and hiring difficulties are likely to impact business growth and innovation initiatives. In an economic environment where hiring is difficult and talent related costs are rising, organisations should shift their focus towards internal talent development to help them combat skills shortages.
About Lee Hecht Harrison
Lee Hecht Harrison offers talent development solutions throughout the entire employee lifecycle – from onboarding, through career and leadership development, engagement and retention to redeployment and transition. With over 270 offices worldwide, Lee Hecht Harrison is the global talent development leader.
Lee Hecht Harrison is a part of Adecco Group, the world leader in workforce solutions with over 6,600 offices in over 70 countries and territories around the world.
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