Strategies to Close Skills Gaps: How Your World Is Impacted

FiveSkillsGaps482237917BlogIn this series, we focused on defining and analyzing the causes of individual and organizational skills gaps, including the technology, workforce and business disrupters that force rapid change in role requirements. We’ve also discussed strategies and processes necessary to measure and close those gaps.

Today we’re going to sum it all up with specific examples of workforce transformation solutions. But first, let’s address one more challenge with disrupters — skills gaps can force change across the organization, including senior management.

A positive example is the rise of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or the Chief of Customer Experience (CX). Representing the voice of the customer and customer-focused opportunities, the establishment of the CX role provides many opportunities to offset the disrupters we have focused on throughout this series.

Because the CX is responsible for managing and improving the customer experience, the business need is clear. The potential challenge is crossing practically every “stovepipe” in the organization — from the back office to the front office. Successful CXs are matrix managers by definition — practically every resource that they need to optimize, from sales to IT, are already “owned.” Think about the number of dotted lines with potential examples:

  • Imagine a financial institution that integrates technology, partnerships and customer data to provide a brunch lover with a 15 percent discount notification as they drive near a restaurant mid-day.
  • Or imagine potential customers receiving a significant jewelry discount notification as they walk through a mall the week before their spouse’s birthday.

The potential competitive advantage and differentiation is clear; however, the need for relationship management, security and integration across the entire organization is also extreme. The organization that brings in a CX to optimize risk and benefits, to get the most out of the organization and convert disrupters into opportunities, is very likely to understand skills gaps at the highest level.

However at this point, disrupters are more likely to force negative change. As organizations thrash in response to a lack of agility, it’s not unusual to take the short term view and simply instruct IT to become customer-focused or to order a business unit to reduce workforce turnover. The potential for failure is high; failure often leads to management changes, and once the disrupters start lining up, it can be very difficult to get back on top.

So why add in executive-level skills gaps this late in the conversation?

The reason is simple — successful workforce transformation requires a plan. If you are in a position to drive strategy across the enterprise, you’re off to a great start. Analyze the gaps, build the learning paths and prioritize.

But the process works exactly the same on practically any scale. If you aren’t part of enterprise change, think like the CX in your space and figure out how to add value at the level where you do have influence.

Last time, we talked about the steps to close skills gaps, so let’s add some best practices to your plan:

  1. Start small — build little wins quickly
  2. Chose measurable goals — track skills that impact the bottom line
  3. Get help — add an external perspective for a balance and to build traction across the rest of the organization
  4. Think iterative — connect dots over time, and loop back to the start

So now it’s time to move from theory into practice. What’s going on in your organization?

Do your business specialists needs a better understanding of technology to plan?

If so, consider:

  1. Generic cloud certifications: Understand the advantages and limitations of cloud implementations.
  2. ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library): Connect business to technology though understanding the technology life cycle, from strategy to continual improvement.
  3. Analytics/Big Data: Identify customer opportunities and respond rapidly.

Or, do your technologists need a better understanding of the business?

  1. Business analysis: Identify and improve business processes in your organization through requirements gathering, analytics, communication skills, and data modeling.
  2. PM-PMP®: Add value with projects can be on time, meet specifications, stay within budget, and result in higher quality products and services.

Or, are you challenged with larger organizational skills gaps?

  1. Do you have a workforce succession plan that allows for the integration of tribal knowledge, onboarding the next generation and bringing them up to speed? Who’s going to manage your business critical applications 10 years from now?
  1. Is your enterprise already undergoing change? Are they decentralizing all that was centralized? Perhaps adding B2C to B2B, expanding customer-facing roles, increasing transactions, and integrating data across the organization? Maybe they’re trying to get the workforce in line with a new plan?

If you said “yes: to any of these questions, you would probably find value in Global Knowledge’s Business Transformation Services (BTS) packaged consulting and learning services that close workforce skills gaps. Get help from our experienced solution specialists and instructors who add value to the entire workforce transformation process:

  • Analysis: BTS provides flexible guidance to analyze needs, roles, skills gaps and opportunities, leveraging predefined consulting frameworks that are easily adapted to decrease implementation time.
  • Design: BTS brings the knowledge, skills and proven ability to plan the workforce transformation process, building customized competency development, onboarding learning path, and career path programs based on proven best practices.
  • Change Management: BTS projects solve your specific skill gap challenges, from analysis to education, with end-to-end “problem-solved” engagements. Cost and timing is transparent, defined upfront, and our subject matter expert (SME) base provides the guidance, insight and experience that workforce transformation demands.
  • Learning Services: BTS taps into Global Knowledge’s deep and broad education portfolio, building on our SMEs and foundational knowledge, which increases implementation speed and decreases costs. Customized as needed, delivered in classes or whatever repeatable process that best fits your needs, BTS content covers everything needed to transform your workforce — from technology to business, and from soft skills to advanced

If you’ve been with us through the entire series, it’s likely that you are ready for change; as an individual, as a workforce manager or across the enterprise. Global Knowledge is the world’s leading IT and business skills training provider and we want to help you close the gaps and increase productivity, so give us a call.

And much thanks to everyone who responded to our questions! Your input is extremely helpful as we continue down the learning path together, better understanding your challenges and how business transformation closes skills gaps.

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