According to SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD., "We are in the second great business revolution, this time not an industrial revolution, but a digital one. Jobs will be lost and skills become obsolete—not due to the economy, but do to this subtle but profound revolution of knowledge over muscle, sophistication over rote."
Employees Are Jumping Ship
"Seventy-seven percent of manufacturers and distributors are facing challenges finding skilled workers for new positions and to replace those workers who have left," points out Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. in Claremont, CA. "This statistic from a survey conducted by my firm in conjunction with APICS Inland Empire exemplifies what I’m seeing across-the-board at my clients. As key employees are more comfortable with the economy, they are beginning to jump ship for better opportunities and retire.
"Additionally, with advances in technology, low-skill jobs are limited yet there is an increasing demand for high-skilled, top talent. Those executives who want to take advantage of this opportunity will not only prioritize the retention of key employees but they also will aggressively hire top talent to prepare for long-term success," she said.
Employers Need to Leverage Employee Strengths
Gayle Lantz is founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.workmatters.com) a leadership consulting firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. She advocates strengths based approaches in her work with organizations. "The skills gap will put more pressure on employers to find and develop the talent they need to compete most effectively. Smart organizations are not only looking at gaps; they are also looking more closely at leveraging employee strengths. This means they are working harder to identify and assess a broader range of skills and strengths among their talent."
She indicated that many companies now require surveys that measure employee talents, skills and strengths. According to Ms. Lantz, "The potential for growth in individuals and organizations is greater when they build on strengths as opposed to correcting deficiencies. The key is seeing the issue as a shared responsibility involving both the employee and the employer."
Cash Flow Management is a Missing Skill
Many middle market companies have not invested enough in training or processes in basic areas of strategically using their cash flow projection processes as a forward looking indicator of business change, says CPA/MBA growth and enterprise risk management expert, Gary W. Patterson, the FiscalDoctor®, author of Million Dollar Blind Spots: 20/20 Vision for Financial Growth.
With growth comes the need for expanded financing capabilities. Without that, leaders have to pass on lucrative growth opportunities which stretch their current finances. Addressing this skill gap will rapidly spotlight your million dollar blind spots to dramatically accelerate profitable growth and increase bankability.
Adult Education and Retraining are Critical
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach and workplace expert specializing in emotional intelligence and mindfulness-based leadership development, notes "it is impossible to ignore the skills gap that exists in today's labor market. Thousands of job openings go unfilled because far too many individuals lack the requisite skills to perform these jobs. The best jobs—jobs that pay well with benefits are often in health care, high-tech and finance—all require advanced training or years of school. The challenge is to find workers with the right skills, or quickly provide those skills, to support the economic recovery and lift the long-term unemployed out of an ever-deepening hole.
"One hopeful spot—public and private partnerships for job retraining—offers a possible solution. Without public and private investment in job retraining, workplace experts warn of a permanent underclass of workers trapped in low-skill, low-wage jobs. Colleges, employers, federal, state and local governments need to collaborate to expand education and training programs that connect adult learners to jobs. At a time when our nation is focused on job creation and economic recovery, addressing adult education is critical. These programs should be viewed as an important investment in people and our growing economy."
Planning Ahead is Critical
"We are seeing the need for a new set of skills and capabilities in the workplace," according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates. "For example, the emphasis on measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, as well as integrating large data sets (Big Data) into ongoing marketing initiatives, requires a different set of competencies for marketing professionals than in previous eras.
"Retraining is important, but even more critical is understanding the new capabilities that will be required moving forward, so organizations and educational institutions can begin the process of developing those skills in those coming up the ranks. We need to plan ahead now to avoid losing competitive advantage in the future," she said.