Bridging the Skills Gap and Investing in Human Capital

Whether you work in for-profit or in nonprofit like me, your organization may be preparing for a recession. That means making difficult decisions that make the most sense for long-term business success. As costs go up, you may feel the stress of budget cuts, especially at year-end.

No matter where you are in the world, many industries are already facing challenges, including the Great Resignation, staff recruitment and retention and end-of-year hiring freezes. At times like this, you should bolster your commitment to helping your people grow. And they need to know that your company values their career progression and supports their engagement.

Make no mistake. Investing in your people takes time and money. However, upskilling existing talent is business case positive and is less expensive than hiring it. 

Consider the steps below as you prepare a plan to address your company’s learning needs:

  1. Start at a high level. Your C-level leaders have a vision for the organization, and you need to understand how that impacts the workforce. Your employees may be asked to do new jobs or follow different processes. Depending on their skillsets, they may wonder where they fit in. Have conversations with company leaders to determine business priorities and how skills needs can help bridge the gap between where the business is and where it could go. 
  2. Consider employees’ personal goals and needs. Confer with your teams, and evaluate their skills gaps and goals. They may need help determining the most beneficial training for their role. You may have others who are hoping to earn specific credentials. Think about how you can aid their employability and productivity via new credentials, certificates and badges.
  3. Do your research and build relationships with educators. Once you’ve determined your company’s needs and budget, start looking for a vendor who can help. Ask what they recommend for your employees. Take a look at their reputation, track record and presentation style. Ask them about group discounts and special programs that best fit your company’s needs. Look for one-offs too. For instance, we work with a panel of coursework developers, including in-house developers, to create a range of resources that fit a wide array of professionals.

I lead the People and Internal Communications team in my role at AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. My colleagues and I are hyper-focused on developing the Association staff who train the worldwide accounting profession for precisely this disruptive and uncertain environment. Because we know that people are the heart of the accounting profession. And it’s those people who will drive economic and business recovery going forward.

Hopefully, with some of these suggestions above, you will find options that fit your organization. When you invest in your people, your business will not only adapt to disruption. It will thrive. 

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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