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How to address skills shortages within your organization


by Charlotte Gurney

Identifying and addressing skills shortages is vital for businesses looking to develop their staff and grow their services. According to the 2020 World Economic Forum, more than one billion workers worldwide will have to be reskilled by 2030. That's one-third of the global workforce. In lieu of this, workforce planning strategies need to be targeted towards upskilling existing staff, as well as acquiring new talent to fill the gaps. With this in mind, the first place to start addressing this problem is with a skills audit.

Why might your business need a skills audit?

From shortages of staff in areas such as IT & Tech, to the impact of the pandemic on company finances, there are many different factors that could be hindering the effectiveness and current skillset of your existing workforce. By carrying out an internal skills audit, you be able to assess where your business stands, in terms of the skills you already have internally, and how training, recruiting, upskilling and contingent workforce support could help you to plan more effectively for the future.

How to carry out a skills audit

Create a skills database: It’s likely that your HR systems will already have captured information about skills within the organization, especially when it comes to new joiners and around appraisal time. You can test the validity of this information by randomly selecting employees and comparing the skills already recorded against the latest information that line managers have.

Introduce a competency framework:
​A competency framework lets management within your organization establish a clear understanding of what skills your workforce possesses. It will typically include the integrated knowledge, skills, judgement, and attributes that are required to perform a job effectively. An effective way to do this is to speak with employees individually about their role and uncover what they perceive their strengths and responsibilities to be.

Carry out a skills survey: This is a very simple way to get accurate insight into the current skill sets that you have within the business. Make sure you include survey questions covering the current skills that staff have, as well as those they feel like they don’t have but would like to acquire. Focus on a very wide range of skills, from technical skills to language skills etc. If you’re struggling to motivate people to take the survey then make it clear that it will form the basis of upskilling and training initiatives that the company will put in place going forward.

Understand your employee traits: Identifying soft skills within your workforce, such as leadership, problem solving and communication, can in some cases be more important than hard skills. This is because some of these skills can’t be taught, and are instead developed independently by staff as they grow into their role. In addition, research has shown that hard skills are becoming obsolete faster, again reinforcing the need for a skills audit to assess your business’ current standing.

Creating internal opportunities

Once you have a clear picture of the skills - and the skills gaps - in your business, creating a simple way for employees to access training and mentoring resources will help to improve internal mobility. This can include something as simple as a training and development portal where staff can see all the current opportunities available, or access to external training providers in order to broaden your workforce’s understanding around a certain service area.

By carrying out a skills shortage audit now, you’ll be able to future-proof your business from being caught short when it matters. To discover how the team here at Volt can help you in procuring new talent to meet your organization’s requirements, please visit the ‘Client Solutions’ page on our website for more information.