In today’s fast-paced business space where change has become the norm, worker skills requirements frequently shift. The result is not really a skills shortage, though media and many business experts use that term. Rather, demand is greater than supply at different times and for certain skills. In today’s market, this situation applies to many technology skills, particularly those related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. At another time the situation may apply to, say, project management or marketing skills.
When demand for new skills arises, a company has two choices:
- Search for and bring in new talent with the needed skills
- Implement upskilling/reskilling training for current workers
In the first choice, a company risks a constantly spinning revolving talent door: New employees come in while current workers leave. In addition to the direct costs associated with continuous onboarding, the organization stands to lose the value of institutional knowledge of veteran staff.
The second choice will likely be more cost-effective and also retain valued employees. Talent has professional development opportunities and the company retains stability while needed skills are added to the talent pool.
Adding and Refreshing Skills in Your Direct Sourcing Program
For the same reasons, upskilling and reskilling can be effective strategies in your direct sourcing program. While you continue to seek independent talent to fill skills gaps, you also have professionals in the program who are valuable to the company. Like valued employees, it’s better for the company to retain relationships with these workers.
Offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities in your direct sourcing program is an all-around win. To ensure an effective effort:
Conduct a skills assessment when needed
While you want to perform a skills assessment annually, ideally during the yearly planning cycle, be prepared to revisit it if needed. For example, new market events, a midstream strategic course correction, or other unexpected conditions may change your skill needs. In such cases, adjusting your skills assessment to align with the current state is important.
Stay up to date on business trends that impact skill needs
Anticipate changes in those needs and train current members of your direct sourcing program to ensure they can move in different directions.
Include independent talent in the company’s internal skills development program
Offer independent talent opportunities to upskill or reskill as part of their association with your direct sourcing program. The upskill/reskill strategies you pursue for your direct sourcing program may be similar to your employee training activities. If this is the case, dovetailing into the company training function can be most effective.
Keep your talent informed about anticipated skill needs and actively encourage the high-value independent professionals in your program (those you want to keep engaging) to pursue further skill development. In addition, stay in touch with hiring managers to get on-the-ground insights (to go with your trends tracking) about what needs they see ahead.