As employers warn of a deepening skills crisis, Sylvie Ysambert, Corporate Communications Director at Talentia Software, explores how utilising technology to effectively manage talent will help UK firms alleviate the skills deficit.
UK businesses are facing the pressing issue of a deepening skill shortage, as the working population continues to decline and employers are recruiting from an ever decreasing talent pool. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) recently reported that the UK is facing significant skill shortages in 43 different sectors, from engineering and IT to health and professional services. In addition to this, technology is constantly evolving at a rapid pace and shifting the skills required for jobs as well as cutting the lifecycle of these skills when they are available.
Following recent events, the Brexit referendum has amplified the issue as potential restrictions on freedom of movement for workers means businesses who rely on skilled migrants could have difficulty gaining staff visas, resulting in weaker workforces. The major talent shortage could be a large threat to organisations, however, by adopting smart talent retention and recruitment practices businesses can ensure they are positively positioned to tackle the challenges ahead.
Keeping an organisation’s biggest asset on board
As the business environment becomes increasingly complex and technology ever more core to operations, it can be easy to forget what an organisation’s biggest asset is. In a service-driven economy, many aspects of a business lead to its people and its talent. This means effective management of the workforce is essential as recruiting new staff can be an expensive and disruptive process.
Early identification of the staff most likely to move on, which may be younger, highly-qualified employees with strong motivation and desirable skills, will be key. This should be undertaken in combination with assessing the impact of a member of staff departing. Deploying the correct IT infrastructure that has all employee information in one place and is accessible on a single system will allow businesses to work in an agile way. This will provide rapid actionable intelligence to the boardroom in order to identify and retain valuable talent and therefore stay competitive.
Managing talent effectively with continuous feedback
Managing and retaining existing talent in order to alleviate skills shortages can take many forms, one of which is effectively addressing the role of the annual appraisal. Times have changed and there is a positive momentum to transform the appraisal process from an annual matter, to a process of continuous feedback. Employees will often seek regular feedback; and an annual review can sometimes be too little too late.
Businesses must now focus on coaching, creating enthusiasm and providing development for existing staff that possess the talent required as organisations will only be able to retain high performers if they are managed effectively. The creation of a feedback-rich culture will motivate employees and provide an open environment that encourages progress and employee loyalty. As today’s workforce expects to be able to access information and manage HR processes online, the right technology allows employees and their managers to access and update the necessary information that is important to them.
Combining internal recruitment and talent development
Businesses are often looking for prospective workers that are able to fill a role right away with minimal training time. The shortage in available talent means organisations are increasingly unsuccessful, however, this is a problem that is readily solvable with the right mix of technology and cultural mind-set. Successful organisations will often combine recruitment with the development of their own people; this ensures they can be more adaptable in their evolving strategy to address the talent deficit.
Clearer longer term succession planning and better identification is required for employees that could fill vacancies with training, development and support. Businesses should adopt the attitude that new skills should not always equal new people, but that there is already a talent pool waiting to be explored within their organisation. Keeping track of that talent pool can be explored with the right processes and technology in place that allow past and present information to be stored and shared ensuring employee data can be viewed strategically.