To explain an inability to meet their business objectives or grow their organizations, CEO’s and HR executives routinely claim they can’t find enough skilled workers to fill mission-critical positions. Some blame our education system, others the lack of commitment by the next generation of employees.

We know that competition for people with the right skills and knowledge is, and will be fierce in the areas of technology, manufacturing, health care and education over the next years.

So what is the answer?

Most of us are not looking for government intervention. Instead we envision business leaders working with colleges and universities to improve and create relevant curriculum. But perhaps more importantly, companies need to recognize that they need to identify and re-skill their own high-potential employees to fill critical roles.

It’s time we take a serious look at what is available and what can be done in our organizations:

  • Investment in training and development when aligned to business needs and identified gaps is a step in the right direction.
  • There are validated assessments available to help you assess and identify your team’s needs and capabilities.
  • Training managers providing performance coaching to individuals on a regular basis instead of the annual review of their work will also increase engagement and productivity.
  • Stay interviews of key personnel will help you retain key people, thus reducing your hiring costs.

Accountability for the transfer of the learning, re-enforcement resources and performance coaching can lead to success for the individual and a strong return on investment for the organization. It will take effort, time and finances to achieve good results, but it will give you a competitive edge.

A recent U.S. Cornerstone/Kelton survey showed only 32% of employees in the group had received training and development to help them better perform their jobs, and only 34% reported any useful feedback regarding their performance. A quick telephone survey of key Canadian HR directors indicated that Canadian results would be even more adverse.

What about you – are you ready to invest?

About Dale

Dale Wilcox is co-owner of WATMEC. Dale is a respected board member, former volunteer of the year, and inaugural Chair of the Canadian Society for Training and Development.