October 25, 2010 Culture, HR, Management

Hard To Find Skills

I was at a leadership meeting recently and we were talking about recruiting issues. Some individuals were mentioning that despite unemployment numbers, they still had a hard time finding the right people for some critical positions that were open. And it wasn’t a question of technique, or pay or anything along those lines. It’s a situation where they just couldn’t find the right skill set. On the job training was certainly an option, but who has time for that anymore.  Workers in general do more with less these days and many managers have their own jobs to do in addition to managing, mentoring and retaining their existing employees.

So let’s say you’ve got one of these positions where there are a very limited number of people qualified for the role. You’re spending millions of recruiting dollars and you’re still falling short. What’s the solution?

Some recruiters would say devote more budget and more energy into recruiting.  At some point this can turn into diminishing returns.

How about looking at the broader picture? Maybe it is time to do a lock down on your retention efforts. Every person you lose not only means another search; it means a person with institutional knowledge leaving the workplace.

We all know in tough times training and education seem to be the first to go.  I am of the philosophy that in tough times training and education are essential in keeping employees engaged and motivated.  A little time out to learn or refine a skill and share experiences with peers is an effective way for a company to demonstrate that skills are important and they want to keep their employee skills strong.

All employers have people interested in moving into new roles but they may not have the skills they need. You can make it as easy for them move up by offering training classes, and education incentives.

Maybe it’s time for those companies that can’t recruit the skill set they’re looking for to consider: external programs; working with colleges, scholarships, adult educators.  Some of the positions and jobs that existed a decade ago don’t exist today and vice versa, so why not partner with a local technical college or a university to develop skills sets need in the employees you have or those that have the ability and want to learn. 

I can think of many success stories but would love to hear how others are developing and strengthening skill sets in their organizations.