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What are the benefits of developing the skills of your existing workforce?

What are the benefits of developing the skills of your existing workforce?

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You don’t always need to look outside your organisation for the skills you feel  it is lacking. Often, the talent you seek already exists within your workforce, just waiting to be discovered and developed.

Management insight is key to being able to pinpoint the talent you have and knowing what you need to do to develop it. Gathering accurate information about staff is vital to developing  the talent intelligence you need to support your wider goals. Up-to-date information on all aspects of the workforce’s experience, ambitions and performance levels should be captured as part of daily management tasks.

Here’s a quick guide to building a talent intelligence map:

  1. List your organisation’s main aims for the short-term, 1 – 2 years;  medium term, 3-5 years; and long term; 5-10 years.
  2. What skills are key to achieving these aims?
  3. What are the skill gaps between what you need and what you want? This is where you review your appraisal of your workforce’s qualifications, capabilities and aspirations
  4. Undertake a comprehensive training needs analysis to decide what training is necessary to address these gaps.

    Areas of training to consider will almost certainly include: customer service, computer skills, communications, quality initiatives and safety. Training should be directly tied, not only to corporate goals management, but also to individual performance reviews, career and succession plans to form a total talent intelligence map that is revisited and improved and helps employees develop as a matter of course.

  5. Review regularly, as part of your continually evolving development plan

So, what are the benefits of developing my existing workforce rather than hiring in new?
As we continue to slowly emerge from recession, employees who, until now, have been focused on keeping their job, start to think what’s available in the newly buoyant job market. 

These will almost certainly be the most driven and ambitious of your staff; the ones you least want to lose. Lack of opportunity to develop one’s career is known to be key driver of voluntary departure.

The loss of top talent can result in loss of business and valuable customer relationships. It can have a negative impact on morale, leading to reduced productivity and, often, the departure of other talent. Then, add into this the costs of recruiting and training new staff which essentially increase operating costs and cut into profits. 

Conversely, investing time and money in the future of your staff within your organisation brings with it a myriad of corporate benefits which include:

  • Best ever levels of customer service. Customer service is a battleground for market share. The fundamentals of excellent customer service start and end with your employees. Your customers want to be served by confident, knowledgeable staff, backed by supporting staff who are equally as skilled in their respective areas of expertise, ensuring the most effective supply chain possible and the highest value customer/client experience
  • An engaged and motivated workforce enjoying greater job satisfaction,  higher motivation and morale
  • Reduced absenteeism and employee turnover
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Increased productivity and efficiency  
  • Improved risk management in potentially highly litigious areas such as sexual harassment and diversity
  • A positive point of difference for customers looking  new partners/suppliers
  • A positive point of difference for recruits. Your visible demonstration of how prepared you are to invest in individual advancement for future success will be key to attracting top talent to your doors.

This recession has taught us that the need to nurture your talent has never been greater.  Being immediately able to redeploy talented staff as the demands on you change is as vital to survival in bad times, as in good.

Greater commitment from you in the form of your investment in career development builds trust with your employees and reinforces the connection between their professional accomplishments and your organisation’s success.

It’s a definite win/win situation for both you and your staff.