Businesses have adapted swiftly over the past couple of years. Technologies were introduced to enable remote work. Processes were changed to ensure customers were not impacted. Employees’ responsibilities were modified to satisfy shifting needs. Lessons learned are invaluable for businesses to prepare for the future.
As market dynamics continue to evolve, employees would be challenged to adapt and learn new skills at a much faster pace. Talent retention and development are priorities businesses could not ignore. There are three key steps.
- Awareness of potential skill gaps
Business strategies that involve ideas such as digital services, technology investment, and process automation have broad implications on operations. These changes could modify customer interactions and how work is done.
The inevitable demand on new skills exposes your workforce to unfamiliar tools. What new knowledge and skills would your workforce need? Are the skills natural extensions of what they know already? Or would the knowledge require foundational training that is completely foreign to the workers?
The knowledge and skills gaps could create major execution challenges to achieving your strategic objectives. Spend time to identify the required expertise. The awareness forms the anchor for taking proactive steps to build the talent pipeline.
- Practical people strategy
Training the untrainable is a waste of time. Some workers are unwilling to change. While they might go along with the training grudgingly, the lack of commitment underscores performance. New skills that require foundational knowledge completely different from the background of the workers would demand major effort to learn. Non-committed learners usually fare marginally.
Consult frontline managers to identify high potential workers for development if that is the preferred option. Internal development is a great way to retain talent and incentivizes the right talent to advance their careers.
Otherwise, recruit external talent to fill the gaps. A fresh injection of skills and perspectives is always a beneficial move.
Determine what suits your business best and plan accordingly.
- Act with a sense of urgency
Enhancing and reskilling your existing workforce or recruitment takes time. Hence, you need to act with a sense of urgency.
Start with getting alignment from the leadership team on your people strategy. Then, develop a plan with a clear timeline for execution. Assign ownership of tasks.
Communication of the people strategy is a critical success factor. Timing and messaging affect how the information would be received and its potential impacts on the affected workers. If handled haphazardly, your business and customers could be affected negatively.
Ensure consistent messages are cascaded throughout the organization. Designate select leaders to address concerns immediately. In the event that there would be dramatic changes to the workforce, be prepared to manage potential confrontation.
A well laid plan requires tight execution in order to succeed.
Talent forms the engine of a business. The success of your business depends on great workers who are passionate and committed with the right mix of knowledge and skills. Get clarity on your talent needs and be prepared to implement the necessary changes.