How to Thrive Amid the Global Talent Shortage
If it seems like the pool of quality job candidates is getting shallower, you’re right.
According to projections by the McKinsey Global Institute, there will be a global deficit of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers by 2020. Most human resources and business leaders consider the talent shortage a big problem.
Regardless of the industry, companies need smart, highly motivated and qualified employees to succeed. For many organizations, finding, recruiting, and retaining top-notch talent is becoming increasingly difficult.
What leaders may not realize is a simple solution to the talent shortage is already within their reach: better training for their current workforce.
CEOs Tell All: 3 Survey Findings on Demand for Talent
After innovation, most CEOs identified human capital and digital capabilities as top business priorities, according to PwC’s 2017 global CEO Survey. Despite fears that the rapid pace of technological progress and automation will supplant demand for human talent, 52% of CEOs said they planned to expand staff in the next 12 months, up from 48% in 2016. However, the vast majority of leaders (77%) see the availability of desired skills as the most significant threat to their business.
Companies cannot control the quantity or quality of the talent pools from which they draw candidates. But they can proactively enhance the skill sets of the people already on their payroll with excellent training and development.
You Don’t Need Top-Tier Talent if You Have Effective Training
Don’t wait for the perfect employee with all the right experience to walk through your door and ask you for a job. If you do, you could be waiting a while.
Instead, identify your driven, high-potential staff who have already expressed a desire to learn new skills, and teach them. In doing so, you’ll simultaneously expand the capabilities of your workforce, become more competitive, improve employee retention and boost company morale.
No company is completely immune from the talent shortage. However, with the right approach to training and development, leaders can cultivate a qualified workforce in-house.
Consider these 4 employee training and development tips to help fortify your workforce and gain an edge on competition.
1. Forget About Rote Training Methods
Different job functions call for different teaching models. But whether you’re onboarding a new employee or training existing staff to use new software, training methods that focus on memorization will have a minimal effect on learning.
Instructor-led sessions, instruction manuals, how-to videos, and webinars could supplement employee training, but these approaches should not comprise the primary education structure.
The reason? Research shows that real learning — embedding new knowledge into long-term memory storage versus short-term retrieval — occurs from the practical application of new information. In other words, people learn by doing.
For example, employees might think they understand how to use a new software system after viewing several demonstrations. However, once outside of the education setting, they will likely struggle to remember what to do.
You can prevent the forgetting curve by giving employees hands-on experience with the tool for specific use cases during training sessions. Guarantee effective training with digital support tools that provide context-sensitive guidance at the time of need.
2. Map Out Employees’ Growth Trajectory
One aspect of employee development that managers often overlook is showing workers how the company can help them advance their careers.
Few employees would be happy to remain in their current position forever. They want to see their potential for growth within the company, and know exactly what it takes to be promoted. Being ambiguous about employees’ potential future won’t do much to motivate performance, and it certainly won’t help retention.
Clarifying employees’ growth trajectory is especially important when it comes to developing millennials (people born between 1980 and 1996), whose desires regarding the pace of promotion, work-life balance, and purpose of the work tend to differ from their older counterparts.
Millennials now make up the majority of the U.S. workforce. However, most millennials (55%) are not engaged in their jobs, leading all other generations, according to Gallup’s latest annual millennial report. Many reported feeling indifferent about their work. This means if they find what appears to be a better opportunity elsewhere, they’ll take it; 60% of millennials said they are open to a new job opportunity, according to Gallup.
High turnover is not only costly, it exacerbates the talent shortage that your organization may already be dealing with. Give your younger employees a compelling reason to stay — make it clear how working for your company can be a boon to their careers.
3. Alleviate the “Learning Burden” With Training Tools
With proper training, your employees can drastically expand their skill sets, become equipped to train others, and improve overall company performance. However, getting training right is no easy feat.
Let’s go back to the software implementation example. Traditional methods of training employees to use new software could work for some of them, but for many others, there will be low knowledge retention, long time-to-competence, and poor adoption rates. This can be a significant detriment to employee productivity and performance levels. It can also lead to frustration and even contribute to turnover.
There are solutions companies can adopt to make training simple. WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) instantly simplifies any user interface by providing real-time, context sensitive nudges to guide users through any task. DAP accelerates onboarding, increases knowledge retention and productivity, and helps you ensure successful software adoption. A fail-safe training tool like DAP helps you protect your software investment and yield a positive ROI.
4. Make Employee Development Continuous
If your goal is to raise your workforce to the next level, you must be willing to commit long term. Training for discrete projects, such as adopting a new software system, can end once employees become proficient in the technology. But employee development is an ongoing endeavor.
Continual development is an essential factor of individual employee and overall organizational success. By investing in your employees, you’re showing them you want them to succeed and that you believe they have the potential to rise within the company. In turn, companies with robust development programs have higher retention, productivity, and employee engagement levels.
Effective approaches to development are personalized to individual employees’ current roles and goals. They include regular feedback and in-person meetings with the manager. They can include internal resources, like mentors within the company, and external resources, such as attending conferences or taking a course.
The talent shortage is an obstacle, but it’s not an impassable one. With training and development, organizations can improve the skills and performance of their current employees while improving retention and boosting productivity.