From an employee’s perspective, skills gaps are dangerous. You might be an incredibly accomplished network administrator and yet end up displaced by a cloud administrator who has less depth of knowledge, but a wider set of interpersonal and process skills necessary to support a broader role.
Or maybe your organization needs a strong online presence. However, you don’t have the analytics and big data experience to provide real-time offers. Or maybe you don’t have an integrated digital strategy as a foundation. In this case, the required business skills aren’t even part of the strategy and your entire organization could be at risk.
Employees and the business suffer in both cases. In the case of the network administrator, there was more than the lost job; the organization lost “tribal knowledge” as well as the established value of a dependable employee, and faced the cost of onboarding a new employee.
And if you can’t drive digital offers, measure success and understand customer needs — your entire business model could be in jeopardy. Competition is everywhere in the digital age.
The bottom line is that individuals and businesses must strive for agility if they want to succeed. You have to predict future gaps and close current gaps immediately or else a more agile individual (or organization) is likely to take your market share (job market and customers).
The challenges with skills gaps are not limited to the technology workforce — the need for agility and potential for skills gaps impacts practically everything:
- Transferring generational knowledge: As the Baby Boomer generation retires,
Gen X and Millennials need to acquire “tribal knowledge,” which is a great opportunity to document processes that are often undocumented.
- Mergers and acquisitions: Acquiring an organization adds skills and portfolio and is a common practice. However, skills gaps are inevitable if roles and responsibilities aren’t analyzed and aligned across the organizations.
- Attracting and retaining Millennials: There’s been a lot of mixed press about interests of the younger workforce. However, one aspect is undeniable; Millennials grew up with technology and know how to use it to hunt for cutting edge organizations.
To summarize, the need for agility increases the rate of change. Skills gaps are accelerated, roles and responsibilities shift, and the farther you get behind, the harder it is to catch cup.
So now it’s your turn. I would like to create an ongoing dialog to learn about skills gaps in your organization and talk about the potential for change. So here’s a few questions to get the ball rolling:
- Where do you see the largest skills gaps in your organization?
- Do you believe the responsibility for skills gaps closure is primarily organizational, individual or equally shared?
- Which industries and roles are at greatest risk or have the highest potential ROI?
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and would like to discuss strategic planning and opportunities to close skills gaps next time.