As organisations start the new year intent on implementing their business plans and achieving the goals set out for 2022, keeping track of workforce skills and managing skills upgrading with real-time skills intelligence have become a critical part of the strategy. Firms are increasingly focusing on upskilling their employees so they have the skills and knowledge required for the jobs of tomorrow, not just today.
Protecting against the Great Resignation
Having an effectively skilled workforce means that an organisation can continue to deliver on business promises to its customers into the future. However, effective employee skills management and planning goes beyond this one factor. Well designed, it also makes the workplace environment more engaging, a factor which helps to retain staff. This is especially crucial in this era of the Great Resignation, where retaining staff through remote work during the pandemic has been challenging and we have seen millions leaving the workforce to follow perceived better opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20m people quit their jobs between April and August 2021 in the US and the UK’s Office for National Statistics reported more than 1m open jobs in August 2021*.
The onus is on organisations now to move ahead of the curve and plan to manage skillsets within a rapidly changing workforce. Leaders must be proactive in strengthening their organisations to prepare for the future of work.
Why effective employee skills management matters to an organisation’s survival and growth
To combat the Great Resignation, organisations need to rethink their approach to skills development to work within the confines of the new reality. Developing an effective skills management strategy is critical today for the following reasons:
It keeps a company ahead of the competition – Investing in career development and training programmes will ensure companies remain competitive. These kinds of initiatives can be anything from formal course work or study to seminars and lectures at the workplace – as long as they’re relevant and engaging for those who attend.
It fosters a positive workplace culture designed to retain staff – When an organisation demonstrates that staff development is important, staff feel valued and are more likely to stay. Whether this means recognition for exceptional achievement, financial benefits based on responsibility level, or other forms of motivation within your budget, it’s important that workers know that their effort will never go unnoticed or unappreciated. Ensuring a hiring process that targets the skills needed and not just standard educational certifications will also help in finding a balance between skilled personnel and people who can adapt quickly and willingly.
It keeps an organisation agile to adapt to changing circumstances – No matter how good the leadership is at anticipating changes in the market or meeting the company’s needs for workforce skills, there will always come a time when next steps are not clear. But this shouldn’t be seen as an unsolvable problem; it should be viewed as an opportunity for innovation. Instead of trying to predict what might happen next, focus on staying flexible through effective employee skills management.
The new reality is that work has become more fluid, so all employees must have the opportunity to adapt and learn new skills to remain marketable in a rapidly changing job market. Companies that have an accurate inventory of current skills and can plot these against skills predicted to be needed in the future will be in a better position to secure the required skills in the workforce when needed. They will be able to adopt a range of measures including upskilling as well as career-path and succession planning to support mobility, build skills and retain staff. However, managing a large workforce in this manner can be a minefield if they don’t have a full lay of the land.
Read Also: Don’t underestimate skills management
Using digital tools and analytics to keep track of skills upgrading in the workforce
It’s one thing to want to plan effective employee skills management within an organisation, but it is another to deliver it meaningfully. Organisations need clear insight into the company’s workforce needs over time. These insights inform on human capital status such as skill sets needed for retention, knowledge sharing (what is working and not working), and which training programmes produce top performers.
Through digital tools that are affordable and easy-to-use, employers can gain key insights into the skills currently utilised, skills presently being underutilised and skills gaps in the current workforce.
Empowering employees to chart their own career growth
Such tools can also help employers become more transparent about what is expected from staff within different departments because they provide data that shows where efforts are being made, who has completed training courses and where there are gaps in knowledge. By giving employees such direct insight into where their skills need to improve so that they are in alignment with the company’s growth goals, employees are more incentivised to fill those gaps.
Organisations can also use these tools also help employees chart their own career pathways by outlining relevant courses available to them to upgrade their skills to remain employable within the workforce.
In short, planning effective employee skills management across a large organisation requires a 360-degree view of the workforce landscape to be able to identify skills gaps, incentivise staff to fill individual gaps, provide a comprehensive and relevant skills upgrade training programme based on relevant skills acquisition, and plan for recruitment and retention based on a projection of the skills needed in the workforce of the future.
It is now possible to view such insights on a single dashboard within Lithium, an AI-powered skills intelligence platform that can help manage skills effectively and empower business leaders with skills intelligence so they can make better decisions about workforce development in line with their organisation’s current and future needs.