Wednesday, 7 November 2012

How To Bridge The Skills Gap

Thursday 7 February, 2008
The best way to combat the skills gap is through skills development. By carefully researching your options, you can make the choices that will result in higher satisfaction for individuals, increased effectiveness for teams and, most importantly, significant productivity gains for your organisation.
In the not-too-distant past, jobs could be neatly compartmentalised - each worker fit into a defined, if static, position. Those positions have been washed away in a tsunami of change that characterises the new global economy.
Employees are becoming less dependent on the company; the company and its employees are now interdependent. The situation has been compared to that of a sports team. The company is creating a new team and offering employees a try-out. How the team performs and its future depends now on the players as much as the leaders. The only real security employees have is the chance to work together to achieve their goals and create a future.
To "make the cut" on this team, individuals need the right skills. The elimination of so many middle management jobs means that senior management must surrender responsibility and independence to non-supervisory staff.
Tremendous demands are being placed upon workers who previously just had to concentrate on following the direction of a supervisor. Not everyone is equipped with the skills to take on the new responsibilities. The result is a skills gap that threatens the future of many companies.
The key to tackling the skills gap is to develop your company's most valuable resources - its people.
  1. Focus training on the areas that require skill development - You must be able to identify a job-relevant skill deficiency for the individual or team. This often means measuring current skill levels, determining where skill gaps exist and prescribing the training solution.

  2. Focus training on individuals and teams - Teamwork is here to stay in today's interdependent workplace. There's no point in developing the skills of individuals if they are unable to apply these skills in a team situation.

  3. Clearly state the objectives of training and relate it to competent job performance - Research shows that learning improves when there are objectives stating what the employees will be able to do as a result of the training. Learners must know how their performance will be evaluated and what success will look like.

  4. Measure the results of the training - If you can't see evidence of the effectiveness of the training, can you justify the investment? As the saying goes, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Make sure you can evaluate the effectiveness of training and the ongoing development of individuals and teams.

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