As technology develops and replaces certain types of work, the skills gap in the workforce only grows larger. With artificial intelligence and robots and automation taking over the “low-skilled” tasks, employers are struggling to find workers who can perform higher-skilled jobs, resulting in industry slumps that can easily progress further unless employers do something about it — starting in their very own companies.
Closing the skills gap in the workforce can be a difficult and time-consuming process. By applying these strategies, however, employers can close the skills gap within their ranks much easier.
1. Promote continuous learning
Continuous learning is a crucial skill in life, especially when it comes to improving one’s career. That said, employers that promote continuous learning within their organization can find it easier to have higher-skilled employees without having to hire new ones.
There are many ways that employers can promote continuous learning to their workers. For one, they can learn through diplomas that are recognized in Singapore and provide practical training to potential employees, much like an internship, except the student receives a diploma after completion of the program. Or they could also sponsor post-graduate certifications or degrees to help employees build their credentials while remaining in the workplace, which effectively increases the quality of their work altogether.
2. Identify skills gaps properly
Identifying the skills lacking in the workplace can be tricky, as there is a lot of subjectivity around it. Nevertheless, employers can identify the technologies and skills that they truly need — both in the future and the present — by making an in-depth analysis of their workflows, operational standards, market segments, and goals for the future.
For instance, if your company needs people to handle business automation in the near future and none of your employees have that skill, it is high time to train the people they have or hire someone else. However, for the latter option, the skills that are lacking should be important enough that it is more cost-effective to invest in another employee than just training the people you already have.
3. Provide learning tools
Another great way to promote continuous learning in the workplace and close the skills gap at the same time is to provide learning tools and materials to employees. Doing this also promotes a learning culture in the workplace. That can not only benefit the company but also help employees reach their full career potential.
The first step to this approach is by giving employees what they need to learn: learning tools, content, and opportunities. Then, employers should incentivize employees to pursue self-improvement on their own time using motivators like promotions, bonuses, monthly rewards, and so on.
4. Hire a professional trainer
Self-learning can only go so far when it comes to learning new skills. And for very technical skills that require formal training, having employees learn on their own will probably not do the trick.
For skills that need to be taught by someone who possesses them and can effectively relay them to others, employers need to hire a professional trainer. Or, more specifically, a professional trainer that specializes in that skill and teaching it to others.
Sometimes, employees need to refresh their knowledge and skills to maximize their full potential at work. In this case, employers can help close the skills gap by retraining employees. Not only does this help refresh employees’ memories, but retraining also gives employers the opportunity to introduce new information such as modified SOPs, new quality standards, upgraded business strategies, and more.
With that in mind, retraining should not be seen as a sign of weakness, as it most often is in the eyes of both employers and employees in the country. Instead, retraining should be viewed as an opportunity to further enhance employees’ skills and incorporate updated information into their knowledge base at the same time.
6. Partner with educational institutions
Aside from work-study diplomas, employers can partner with educational institutions to provide internship programs to graduates and be the first in line to hire highly-skilled professionals right after graduation. It can be difficult for older employees to catch up with the skills and technologies that have emerged after entering the workforce. Hence, hiring new talent can address this gap and help senior employees gain familiarity with emerging technologies.
Closing the skills gap is no easy feat, and it is often an ongoing process that never ends unless new skills or technologies stop developing. Nevertheless, these strategies and more can help employers identify the gaps in their company, close those gaps effectively, and improve the career outlook of their people all at the same time.