Dear Sizing Up the Future:
First, there really is a skill shortage. A recent survey by Accenture found that 46 percent of U.S. executives worry their companies won’t have the skills to compete during next year or two. This skills gap spans the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia. Although unemployment is high, people with needed skills are in short supply.
Here is a five-step plan for dealing with it.
1. Complete competency maps for mission-essential jobs. That will tell you which types of knowledge, skills, work attributes and experience people need to competently perform those jobs. Use the competency maps to conduct a competency assessment that identifies skills gaps. Use this information to develop career paths, succession plans and recruiting strategies.
2. Determine who could be moved to new positions and who must remain until the skills gap is minimized. After that, develop skill-acquisition initiatives to prepare talent for lateral or upward moves. These initiatives could include formal job-skill training as well as shadowing, mentorships, informal learning from peers, online forums and so on. You should have a mix of e-learning/mobile learning and instructor-led training to sustain engagement and interest.
3. After addressing internal development needs, look outside the organization for new talent. It’s possible to expand your talent pool by loosening the qualifying criteria. The current trend is to stop looking for the “perfect” candidate and hire based on potential and more generalist skills. You may also want to look for candidates from outside the core industry who have the aptitude to do well in yours.
4. Be selective when interviewing candidates, but look for opportunities to hire rather than reasons for rejecting. To help with selection, use online resources that are inexpensive and accessible. Do actual follow-up on references and request them to provide additional references.
5. Build your talent network. Many organizations are partnering with local colleges and universities, tech schools and trade schools to identify programs that can teach the skills needed to be successful in their business/industry. Talk with your local colleges to see what they offer and share what you need. Be open to internships that bring smart seniors or graduate students to your workplace to help with meaningful projects. Look to organizations that are closely related to yours that might serve as a talent source for you. Maybe they have someone who has topped out and is looking for more of a challenge, one that your company could offer. Rather than raid a competitor, become a partner who provides job opportunities that a smaller company might not have. It’s a good recruiting tool for them and you could pay them a finder’s fee.
SOURCE: Alan Landers, president, First Step Training, San Diego, April 3, 2014ASK A QUESTION
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