There are now severe impacts to the lack of investment in skills and people development over the last eight years. Training programmes were the first to be cut from the expenditures side of the balance sheet as companies shrank their cost base to ensure their survival. With this shrinkage went many Learning and Development managers and their expertise was absent in the forward planning of people development. The lack of attention and investment in training, coaching and mentoring over this time has resulted now in shortages of skill, both technical, managerial and leadership.
Today, many of our clients are now reporting a major upturn in business, whilst experiencing skills shortages; either because they have not been recruiting at graduate or junior level and therefore growing in-house talent, or because they have not been attending to identifying and developing the talent they have had.
In a recent report titled ‘Full Scale Ahead’, published by Mills & Reeve – a highly regarded law firm – they reported findings from 500 interviews of managing directors, board members, CEOs and CFOs of medium sized businesses from across the UK. The report explores the internal and external issues faced by leaders of these companies and their recommended solutions for businesses and policymakers. It is not surprising to note that of the top 5 internal challenges to mid-sized business growth, three related to lack of skilled people.
Specifically, the challenges were
- Employing skilled people
- Lack of second-tier managers
- Finding and employing skilled leaders
These challenges are not just the privilege of mid-sized organisations however. Even very large organisations report lower skills-sets than ideally they would like. The good news is that this situation can change very quickly. Our talent development programmes can take a cadre of people with mixed abilities and with consistent application, practise and iterative experiential learning can increase their capability and confidence dramatically. This is as equally true with targeted management and leadership programmes.
The key is programmes, rather than one-off training, whether of one, two or three days. There is strong research to support the idea that training provided over time, where homework is given with the requirement to report on practical outcomes, where some of the learning is repeated and where groups of people have time to engage with each other and learn from each other is the most powerful and long lasting.
If your organisation is facing such challenges, contact us to discuss how we might help you address your skill shortages.
6 October 2015