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What Your Workforce Doesn’t Have Should Drive Your Development Strategy

Employers already are at war for talent. In a recent Deloitte survey, four out of 10 CFOs of large companies reported being “barely able” or “unable” to meet the demand for talent their businesses require.

Today’s global talent shortage is the worst since 2007, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In the United States, the fire has been fueled by several post-Great Recession forces:

  • a lower unemployment rate
  • an improving economy
  • the retirement of baby boomers, hitting 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day

What’s an employer to do? For starters, teach.

No, we don’t mean leave the boardroom for the blackboard. We mean enact a plan of training for the employees you already have so you can not only retain them, but attract more of their kind to join your organization.

Knowledge is power

The good news: Today’s employees – particularly millennials – genuinely want to learn.

The bad news: A disparity exists, as 87% of millennials say development opportunities are “very important” in a job, yet only 17% of companies are increasing their training efforts accordingly.

Because a talent shortage works in the talent’s favor, bridging that gap is more critical than ever. And don’t think younger workers don’t know it – in a Gallup survey, 60% of millennials reported they currently are looking for their next opportunity, so if your organization fails to meet their needs, they’re prepared to jump ship.

In other words, leverage knowledge to keep the door from revolving.

Skills to pay the bills

Research shows that among applicants in our current job market:

  • 19% of them lack experience
  • 19% of them lack hard skills
  • 11% lack soft skills

Some of those skills can be taught as part of an organization’s onboarding process, unique to the demands of that employer and industry.

But don’t stop there. Among your new hires and veterans alike, survey them to find out areas in which they want to grow. CIO magazine reports that millennials “want to feel interested in their work, with a sense of purpose, and they want to know they have opportunities to advance,” which can boost your retention. Thus, by tailoring a training program to addresses their needs, you address your business’s needs as well.

For those employees with superstar potential, start them on that path today by enrolling them in courses designed to shape them into a leader of tomorrow. This can help your organization be proactive, not reactive – and bolsters its chances for continuity and longevity, even if the talent shortage balloons to the predicted 85 million people.