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Developing a Skilled Workforce for the Upturn

As we are now unfortunately in a recession, the current focus for most businesses is unlikely to be on recruiting staff, but now more than ever there is a need for organisations of whatever size to ensure that they are are as efficient and effective as possible.

A critical key to this is having staff with the right skills, in the right roles within your organisation. You may have noticed politicians talking about upskilling staff affected by redunancies to find the new jobs. This leads me to two inter-related questions. 1. Do prospective employees know what skills they require in order to work within your organisation? and 2)Beyond the knowledge that you need skilled staff do you know what specific skills you require, such that anyone could readily be able to identify individuals that would be suited to work within your organisation?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, then I believe you as an employer are missing something, asemployers are known to complain that young people coming into the workplace do not have the required skills. Now is the time for you to stand up and clearly articulate your requirements so that individuals going out for retraining and the people supporting them can make sure that they will be able to fulfil your business needs.

This is also important for your current workforce as through schemes such as Train to Gain there is currently a considerable amount of financial support is available to help you to develop your Staff.

I would recommend that you seize the opportunity and take a few steps as follows:

1. Review your business objectives/ plan for the next few years

2. Identify the skills and competencies you are going to need to meet your business objectives. If necessary get help in doing.

3. Develop this into a framework of roles which identifies not just the skills and qualifications, but also the wider abilities and attitudes that enable effectiveness such as communicatin skills and confidence to undertake different activities.

4. Assess the abilities of your current staff against both your immediate and future requirements in order to identify where you can develop current staff to fulfil roles and where you are likely to have gaps going forward that need to be filled external.

5. Make sure that the processes that you use to identify staff for development and promotion are open and fair taking into account the views and interests of your staff. This is important in order to prevent any legal claims of unfairness, but it’s of equal importance to ensure your staff remain engaged and positive about working with your organisation.

6. Begin to think about how you are going to fill the gaps (when the need arises) by recruiting employees, contractors or possibly outsourcing.

If you miss this opportunity and don’t begin to prepare now, when we come out of this recession in a year or two or whenever it may be, you may be caught of guard in a reenergised battle for skilled employees.

Susan Popoola

Conning Towers HR Transformation & Talent Management Leveraging the Power of People Copyright 2008 This document is the specific intellectual property of the Conning Towers Consultancy. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated from content obtained from other sources and such content is referenced as appropriate.

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