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Why your workplace development plan must address digital skills

93% of tech companies believed that their businesses were being negatively impacted by a skills gap

Someone once said: “It’s Google’s world – the rest of us just live in it.”This illustrates the point that it is now a digital world and that all businesses – large and small, digital and non-digital – need to get to grips with this reality. All business need to have a digital skills strategy, without question and with no exceptions.

In a recent survey by techUK, 93% of tech companies believed that their businesses were being negatively impacted by a skills gap. If there is a skills gap in digital technology, all firms need to work out how they are going to address it.

There are three areas a company needs to look at: analysing the current situation, developing the existing workforce, and attracting people from outside.

In terms of analysing the current situation, a company should use a ‘talent analytics’ approach to understand the breadth and depth of the skills it currently has. By comparing this with the skills it expects to need in the future, both digital and non-digital, the company can develop a talent road map for the future.

A company can also use its talent analytics work to create plans to develop its current workforce and use it to optimum effect. In this regard. a company should consider cross-training or the redeployment of staff. This can be beneficial for both the staff member and the organisation as a whole, although there is likely to be some natural resistance from the departments or managers affected.

Career progression has been shown to be more important to millennials than money; in addition, there is an increasing expectation among millennials that they will have at least six employers in their lifetimes. A company can counteract this by looking for opportunities for people elsewhere within the business rather than losing them to other firms.

A skills gap not only means that you may find it hard to recruit new talent but also that you are at risk of losing the talent you already have. Given that millennials value career progression, a company needs to have a development plan for each employee that includes up-skilling, nurturing and building on existing digital interest or talent,

When it comes to attracting outside talent, it is important that a company takes care of its brand. Companies that engage with the trend for storytelling in marketing lead the way, such as Facebook, Apple and Microsoft; however, they also need to be consistent with their values at every touchpoint with the external world. If they want to project a fun, exciting image, or a caring image, or a professional image, this must be reflected in their engagement with potential employees.

One thing is clear – if businesses are going to grow and have a secure future, they need to grow and secure digital talent with immediate effect.

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