Addressing skills gaps within organizations is no simple task. Whether you are looking to improve technical skills, like software or systems knowledge, or soft skills, such as coaching or leadership, there is no shortage of approaches you can take. From hiring and training to continuing education, these gaps in skill should be addressed from several angles to be effectively resolved. While bolstering skills is not a single approach undertaking, there are a few key areas of focus which can help a business make a big impact in a relatively simple way.
Cross-Training can be a great way to improve skill gap areas because it allows you to optimize resources that you already have in-house. Encouraging employees to become cross-trained in other areas where you have a need for talent will not only shore up the immediate shortcoming, it will leave you with more highly skilled talent across the board, so you can improve knowledge transfer throughout the business.
- Strategic Hiring
Employees with in-demand skill sets can be difficult to find and pricey to hire, so hiring strategically is key. By partnering with recruiters, schools, and associations, leaders can better position themselves to capture talent strategically. Practices such as hiring new grads with the training you need can help businesses bring in the in-demand talent without overpaying.
- In-house Development
Providing developmental opportunities in-house is not only a good way to ensure that you are bridging the skills gaps that are impacting your business, it can also help to improve employee engagement and retention. Developmental opportunities are important to employees, so investing in in-house learning opportunities can pay off in many ways. Developing training programs or curriculum is no small task, but it can be tailored to your business in order to take care of any skills gaps you may identify.
- Outside Education
In some instances, it may be cheaper or easier to look outside to provide developmental opportunities for employees. Many organizations are willing to foot the bill for employees to pursue certifications or degrees in order to bolster their bench strength as an organization. Even association conferences can be sponsored, providing a great perk to your employees and allowing you to improve the level of training in your business.
Fixing skills gaps is not generally an easy task. Whether you invest the time in undertakings like training employees and devising effective hiring strategies, or you invest the money in pursuits such as building a curriculum and enabling your employees to pursue an education, there will be costs to the company. However, these investments can pay off tenfold in the results your well-trained and knowledgeable workforce can provide. It’s a true win/win for everyone, since your employees will be grateful for the developmental opportunities, and your organization will be able to improve upon the skills it needs to be successful.
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