Richard Shea, Managing Director, EMEA Search at Futurestep

The age of disruption powered by technological advancement is seeing business models, industries and working practices transform. The questions is:

To keep up with the industry, will businesses embark on a hiring spree, or will we see a shift in how business leaders approach recruitment?

Although the latest Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) figures have once again confirmed strong employment growth up and down the country, the challenge remains competing for the right staff with the right skills to get the job done.

Indeed, with businesses increasingly relying on digital strategies to progress, outgrow competitors, and keep customers happy, it is alarming that more and more sources still reveal that company leaders are concerned their organisations lack people with the right knowledge and skills to deliver their digital strategies.

In recent years, the job market has been tougher than ever.

An entirely new set of skills and expertise is now becoming vital across all industries, as the UK rapidly moves towards a digital-first business environment.

Despite this, we’re not moving fast enough to ensure the talent of today and the future is properly equipped. So much so, it was the Local Government Association (LGA) which reported that the current skills gap could cost the UK a staggering £90 billion.

Of course, there are measures business leaders can implement to future-proof their organisation and ensure they are fostering the right talent for the role. And a more strategic approach to talent acquisition is key.

The importance of next-gen talent

While traditionally education institutions were burdened with the responsibility of equipping young talent with all the necessary skills for the modern workplace, our rapidly changing economy is challenging the status quo.

The skills required in the modern workplace are changing so fast, which means more needs to be done to upskill teachers and provide government funding in the skill areas that need it most.

As such, it has never been more important for private and public sector firms to work together to promote the uptake of relevant skills, and encourage young talent to explore new roles.

That’s why, both the introduction of T Levels, together with the government announcement in May to take measures to equip teachers with the necessary support they need to teach pupils skills such as coding, computer programming and cyber security, was very much welcomed.

Bridging the skills gap is a fundamental for the future of UK economy, and the collaboration between industry and education is paramount to help better prepare younger generations to enter the workforce.

Invest in your business by investing in your employees’ skills

An organisation’s most valuable asset is its people but often when it comes to looking after existing employees many businesses focus the majority of their time, energy and budgets into sourcing new recruits over retaining its existing talent pool.

But, with a Korn Ferry Hay Group research showing the cost of replacing a manager within 6-12 months of their hire, costs a business almost two and a half times the person’s annual salary, getting the hires right, and helping future leaders flourish simply makes business sense.

Staff retention isn’t a complicated formula – often, simply by considering different ways of further improving employees’ skills and knowledge, businesses can make a significant impact on employee success, and implicitly, staff retention.

It is also important for businesses to focus on the lifestyle their organisation to boost retention rates, whether that be flexible working policies, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or an innovative company culture.

In today’s economic climate, organisations who demonstrate commitment to their workforce’s wellbeing and development will reap the rewards.

Talent management and fostering a leadership pipeline

By evaluating the skills, traits and motivations of current employees against a focused talent strategy - employers can ensure all staff are provided with personalised development plans to help them progress.

Not only does this allow individuals to improve their competency set, upskill and ensure their career is on track, but it allows organisations to benchmark this data against the qualities of current leaders within the company to identify existing employees who have the potential to be developed into a leadership roles.

One of our customer for instance, telecoms giant TalkTalk Business, implemented a number of talent management tools to help improve the internal progress of staff.

This included the integration of online dashboards to provide near-real-time data about important internal recruiting activity to match existing team members to new roles opening up within the business.

As well as encouraging internal mobility and preventing staff from seeking opportunities outside of the business, the initiative allowed TalkTalk Business to monitor career progression of all employees and support development through relevant training programmes.

Final thoughts

It’s no secret that businesses face a time of uncertainty. There huge political and economic shifts taking place at a regional and global level.

But to stay ahead of competition and make profit, businesses must make talent acquisition a business priority – after all, it is good talent that contributed to business success.

Richard Shea, Managing Director, EMEA Search at Futurestep

Copyright © 2018 FE News

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