The word on the street is that we're in a skills shortage. Companies’ bottom lines are negatively impacted by employees who don’t have the increasingly complex skills needed to consistently perform their work and positively influence customer loyalty. It's not a supply problem, people say, it's a skills problem.
It seems to me that the power of performance has now shifted into the hands of those who really are in a position to address the skills shortage and amplify employee performance. In other words, today's workplace educators have never had such a good opportunity to affect their company's bottom line.
So here are three ways educators can step up and produce better company results:
Refocus on Bottom-Line Skills
Identify which skills in the organization have the greatest bottom-line impact, then assess the organization’s proficiency level with these skills. Develop subject matter experts in these areas and refocus the learning curriculum around the most significant or most challenging skills instead of on generic business skills (like communication, time management, and customer service). Connect bottom-line impact to specific skills and ensure the organization’s training focuses on these skills.
Develop Skill Proficiency Assessments
Create high-impact "skill assessments" to help HR better qualify job candidates during their interview process. As Lauren Dupont and Gabriela Burlacu of Successfactors write in their whitepaper, “Preparing for a Shortage of Skilled Employees,” many jobs are becoming ever more complex as technology evolves in the workplace. A better initial or interview assessment will help to bring in stronger candidates who are better-equipped to handle that complexity.
Though education and HR are synergistic partners, today’s workplace calls for a tighter alliance between these departments, both in the candidate assessment process, and once hired, in employee skill development.
Build and host programs on mentoring
As today’s older workers retire (there are fewer than expected but still enough to create a vacuum of required skills), educators and HR should again work together to help senior employees mentor their younger colleagues. Older employees may know their roles well, but sharing what they know to advance and accelerate learning by a new generation requires education, guidance, and practice. Creating and implementing a powerful mentoring program can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
Each day we're greeted with more change. Not so long ago, as the recession first hit, many education and training departments were the first ones on the chopping block. Now, smart organizations see that success relies on what an employee does in the workplace with what he knows — and that the more he knows, the more valuable he is. This elevates educators into the role of profit driver. They, along with HR, have an increased role in transforming human capital into financial capital. This is critical to advancing performance and business sustainability.
Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user Mr Wabu.
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations — their leaders and managers — in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. Follow him on Twitter.