If you are in business, at any level, chances are pretty good you are suffering a skills gap. This is the gap between the skills you and your organization have now and those you need in order to flourish.
The gap is caused by rapidly changing jobs, by demographic changes (aging and retiring workforce, fewer new workers), by educational systems that aren't producing people with the skills needed to thrive in today's business world, and by a lack of investment in training and development by businesses.
The skills gap is likely depressing your productivity, hurting your ability to attract and retain great people, reducing quality, frustrating customers and demoralizing employees.
Do you want to cross the chasm from confused and suffering to King of the Hill?
- Understand your organization's strategies and key performance measures.
- Figure out what skills and capabilities your organization will need to have in order to deliver on those key performance measures.
- Compare what you have to what you need in order to clarify what's missing - the skills gap. Prioritize the various elements that make up the skills gap.
- Set goals for closing the gap and map out a plan to reach those goals. Decide things like who needs to learn, what they need to learn, how fast the learning needs to happen. Decide whether to hire the skills, build them internally (through learning initiatives), or outsource the work to others that already have the skills.
- Execute the plan. Think of this "bridge the skills gap" project as you would any major strategic initiative, and run it with just as much rigor as you would a major capital investment, acquisition of a competitor, or entry into a new market.
- Measure the results of your learning initiatives and adjust as needed.
In its 2007 study of the training industry (available only to ASTD members, so I can't give you a link), the ASTD reports that the best companies (those that get the greatest return from their training) report the following benchmarks:
- 44 hours of training per employee per year
- Training expenditures ($1531 per employee per year) at 0.72% of revenue, 7.5% of profits and 2.97% of payroll.
- Visible C-level support of training and development
How does your organization stack up?