The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap

Anne Fulton, CEO and Co-Founder of Fuel50, recently sat down with IBM’s Global HR Innovation LeaderEric Bokelberg, and Job Skills & Competency Solutions Subject Matter ExpertDavid Shaw, to discuss the Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap.

IBM, although a technology company, also provides extensive consulting and operational services for talent and transformationEric Bokelberg highlights, “This runs across the employee lifecycle, so from sourcing and attracting employees up through employee services and talent development is a big part of that.

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QuestionWhat was the catalyst for the study on the skills gap? 

Our clients would come to us with a problem, such as it’s taking too long to hire people, or we’ve got an attrition issue. As we discussed it with them and unlayered that problem, it always came back to the skills. 

Even though senior leaders and HR were starting to see this as a challenge, they were still using old approaches to try to address it and those weren’t enough. 

So, we wanted to look at the data we had and do some additional interviewing to see whether what our experience and what we were hearing from our clients was that consistent across the market, and it turns out it was. 

QuestionWhat do you think about automation and how it’s contributing to the skills crisis today? 

Every job is going to be impacted by automation because it’s going to change the way we work. 

  1. The workforce demographics have reached the point now where there is a greater demand than there is supply. 
  2. As companies have gone through this digital transformation, they’re finding that they need people who have more digital skills,more advanced skills, and even some of the soft skills as well. They’re finding that their employees don’t necessarily have the skills that are going to take them from where they are today to where they need to be in the futureEric Bokelberg notes, “I think that is contributing more to the skills gap than the effect of automation currently. 
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QuestionCan you talk about the recommendations from the study? 

We have three primary recommendations that came out of the study: 

  1. Making it personal

Your employees are looking for a career path. They are looking for opportunities that are specific to their own abilities and their aspirations. In a large enterprise, you need to figure out how you can give them that type of personal recommendation or guidancewhile at the same time scaling that so everybody gets this sense that it’s a personal path for them. Fuel50’s powerful tool helps with that. 

  1. Turn up the transparency

Make sure people understand what the core skills are that are important to your company. Make the ability to learn those skills more transparent. 

  1. Looking inside and out

Recognize that there a lot of resources available. Some of those resources are going to be inside the enterprise and in some cases, you’re going to have to partner with companies, like Fuel50, to get the capabilities that are going to help build those skills. 

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QuestionI’d love your lens on the importance of personalization 

We have found personalization to be paramount. It’s the key thing. Make it important to them and their job and their career. 

Our consumer lives are very personalized now — Netflix tells you what movies you want to watch, Amazon tells you what you want to buy. Most employees are looking for a similar type of personal experience inside the enterprise as well. 

Let’s give people the information that’s going to enable them to achieve what they want to achieve. 

QuestionWhat are your thoughts around why we need to be transparent with our workforce? And what are the critical skills associated with that transparency? 

Some organizations don’t really know what skills are important. They don’t know what skills their employees haveAs a result, transparency for them (while it may be an objective) is not possible because they just don’t have the capability for that yet. 

In other companies, internal mobility is restricted because managers want to hoard their employees and so they’re not going to make those skills transparent. 

What we’ve found is that’s not going to get you anywhere. 

If you really want employee engagement and to drive employee experience, it’s about helping your employees understand the opportunities that are available to them inside your enterprise. 

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QuestionWhat were your learnings from the study around inside the organization vs. out? 

The skills gap is so pronounced that you can’t hire your way out of it. You aren’t going to be able to hire enough people to fill these skills, and so you must look inside your enterprise to see where are the people that you can develop to fill these positions that you need. Companies need to be looking internally for people. Plus, they also need to be looking externally for the courses, the types of education, the types of software platforms and even the certifications that you can leverage that also help to develop the skills that are important for your company. 

Fuel50 crowdsources the information from your organization around some of the skills in demand and delivers transparency around that. 

Learn how to rebuild the career architecture for your organization, leverage best-in-class career frameworks, and utilize Fuel50’s FuelArchitecture™ tool to fast-track the process! 

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