If you have an account with us, login below or click here to register.
Member email:Password:

Strategy: Bridging The Skills Gap

Posted on Thursday, 04 August 2011 10:24AM
Alex Gallon
Bookmark & share:

Bookmark with Del.icio.us Digg This!Post to Reddit Share on FacebookPost to StumbleUponPost to KaboodleBookmark with Yahoo Bookmark with Google Share on TwitterPost to MySpace
Google Map Go back »
Company Name: Profile H.R.D. Address line 1: The Long House Address line 2: Potash Nursery Town: Drayton Parslow County: Bucks Postcode: MK17 0JE Telephone No: 01296 720045 Email Address: please click here Website Address: please click here
Details:
Overview: A lack of basic skills can cost a medium-sized business over £150,000 a year while a failure to invest in staff skills results in higher operating costs, lost orders, poor customer service and a loss of business to competitors; on top of this and contrary to popular belief, staff turnover is much lower for companies that invest in training, since this investment makes employees feel valued by their bosses.However, many organisations spend a lot of time and money on training that neither links to their business goals, nor focuses on the core skills the business will need in the medium to long term.
Author Biography: Alex Gallon FCIPD has spent many years designing and implementing training solutions that meet business needs, more particularly solutions that add value to an organisations competeitive edge.
Alex is a human resources professional with experience in senior HR management roles for a wide range of organisations.

Specialties:-
Organisational Development. Employee engagement strategies, Investors in People, Management Development, Management Training & Performance Management
Article:
A lack of basic skills can cost a medium-sized business over £150,000 a year while a failure to invest in staff skills results in higher operating costs, lost orders, poor customer service and a loss of business to competitors; on top of this and contrary to popular belief, staff turnover is much lower for companies that invest in training, since this investment makes employees feel valued by their bosses.However, many organisations spend a lot of time and money on training that neither links to their business goals, nor focuses on the core skills the business will need in the medium to long term.

Frequently this training attempts to empower people without having addressed their knowledge, skills and engagement needs. Organisations need to identify the gap between where their people are now and how they intend to educate them about and for the future.

Knowledge

What do successful organisations do to bridge the skills gap?

Encourage their people to take responsibility for their own development

The skills we have are part of us, they are part of our identity and we can learn to acquire new ones as long as we are made to feel we have the capability to do so and that the place at which we learn them is broadly supportive of us acquiring those skills.

It’s important for the individual to understand the pattern of acquisition of the skills they’ve learnt as well as those they haven’t that is how life experiences and their own views of themselves have conditioned their learning.

To begin with, people need to be helped to identify what skills they have, which skills they want to develop and which ones they are happy to live without. As people change, their values and specific needs also change. Organisations and in particular, management within the organisation – need to understand and work with these changes to re-align the needs of the worker and the needs of the organisation.

Most of our education system does not deliver a skilled worker, schools are learning that they must change and recognise modern learning theory. Academia provides a variety of products with little tailored to real organisational needs. This will take time to change so the onus must be on organisations to develop the ‘knowledge manager’ and the ‘knowledge worker’ themselves.

Carry out a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) linked to business objectives

Start with your own personal values, and look at what you believe is right for you and your organisation. You will need to encompass the competitive element (what makes you different from the rest), along with those values, objectives, standards and targets you need to achieve for the future success of your business.

A Training Needs Analysis should/will be carried out on three levels:
organisational-wide
team
individual

And will thus prioritise your company’s needs on this basis.

Identify their management capabilities for the future

One of the key components in both encouraging your people to take responsibility for their own development and the carrying out of the TNA, is being able to develop the capability of management to understand, encompass and lead the organisation’s direction.

It is important that the future capabilities of management are clearly defined, specifically measured and a development programme offered to support the acquisition of those capabilities.

Implicit in developing a knowledge worker will be the requirement of management to create and manage a climate of continued skills assessment, appraisal and development.

Even the Chief Executive/MD cannot be excluded, as Peter Drucker describes it for us in what he calls the lesson of *stepping out*

The corporate leader will need to adapt his/her knowledge by:
walking outside their organisation
working inside their organisation
building cross-functional teams
communicating priorities
benchmarking, being confronted with diversity and challenge
“Managing for the Future – 1990s and beyond” – Peter F. Drucker
Acquire and maximise government funding (particularly SMEs)

There is a range of European Social Fund and UK governmental support available to organisations to develop their own strategies to tackle these issues. Funding support is being aligned to meet the skills shortages at a strategic, tactical and practical level.

Many organisations are ‘punch drunk’ with initiatives, most of which merely provide a tactical approach to the perceived needs of the organisation.

What is really needed is an internally-led strategic management approach which forces the organisation to meet with, work with, and share with, people who work for different organisations and who do things in different ways. The answers are out there for your organisation. Try ’Stepping Out’ – consult, listen and learn.

It will be important that organisations take a real and serious interest in the strategic support that is available first.

Look at using the Investors in People framework as a benchmark

Coincidentally, the revised Investors in People standard, now available, presents us with an opportunity to develop an internally-led strategic management approach.

Tackling the potential skills gap is a must.

The bottom line is that taking a strategic approach to bridging the skills gap will inevitably lead to a more skilled and motivated workforce, thus creating a more productive and better-managed organisation. This in turn will produce a more profitable and stable business and will help create a workplace that will attract and retain staff and can become an Employer of Choice.
< Back to top >