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. Despite the shortage of talent, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that 74 per cent of businesses still attempt to recruit key talent from outside the organisation rather than looking to develop internal candidates to fill the gap1. This demonstrates that employers are focusing on rapid recruitment with minimal training time, and with the ever increasing talent deficit, are often finding this to be unsuccessful strategy.
It is clear that the challenge shows no sign of abating. Businesses should therefore consider that there may be an alternative to the ‘buy in’ option when it comes to talent investment. Organisations need to consider how they can align recruitment activity with an increased focus on internal talent development. Once employees are in a role, there is still a requirement for ongoing development to help achieve their full potential and meet ever-changing skill requirements, in turn helping to address talent shortages.
Utilising existing talent to tackle the skill shortage
To create a highly skilled workforce that will continue to drive productivity, business leaders should look within the organisation first. Ensuring existing employees are being taught the correct skills to develop them into high-level roles will not only boost employee performance but will demonstrate to other employees that opportunities are available in order to aid retention and future-proof the business. Under utilising people’s skills risks an uninterested and demotivated workforce, however with high-quality training businesses can make sure they have the talent required, along with promoting loyalty and motivation.
The right mix of technology and cultural mind-set can help to achieve this. 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 an existing talent pool waiting to be explored within their organisation.
Keeping track of that talent pool can be explored with the right IT infrastructure in place that allows past and present information to be stored and shared ensuring employee data can be viewed strategically. Having all employee information in one place, on an accessible, single system will allow businesses to work in an agile way. As the business landscape is focused so much on growth, there has never been a better time to tackle the skills deficit with talent development.