ICYMI: Closing the Skills Gap

July 05, 2022 8:00 AM | Colin Hahn

In April, members of the Milwaukee Tech Hub coalition shared with our chapter why their businesses see reskilling as a critical need.

On June 28th, we continued that conversation. SEWI members Celeste Cuffie, Colin J. Hahn, and Camille Parham presented to the Reskilling Commitee of the Milwaukee Tech Hub on "Closing the Skills Gap": how their businesses can best leverage their talent professionals to address this pressing challenge.

If you missed the conversation, we hope that these highlights can help you collaborate within your organization to close your skills gaps.

  • Colin shared research from Salesforce's Global Digital Skills Index that demonstrated the prevalence of skill needs: only 44% of US companies feel very prepared with their digital skill needs, and anticipated readiness drops six points over the next five years.
  • Given the statistics Colin covered, imagine what the cost of the status quo will be on your organization.  The magical thinking that the people with all of your required skillsets are out there might not be effective in the long run. 
  • Tech is unique because it is moving/changing so quickly.  It requires subject matter experts that are often much different than what exists in traditional talent development roles.
  • The collaboration between the business units and talent development (wherever it resides) is critical. 
  • Business leaders may need help understanding the reason why they may need to make a shift in their culture to foster the changes needed. This is so personal to their people.  Many feel vulnerable.  The need for psychological safety can not be overstated.
  • It is critical that managers are trained to identify the portable skills in others AND help them see those skills in themselves so that they believe they will find success in re/upskilling.
  • The concept of stretch goals includes a component about what you need your staff to DO but also how you expect them to GROW and why.
  • Reframe “feedback” as “feedforward” so that teams continue to grow. 
  • The timing of feedforward sessions is informed by the needs of the individual you are developing.  This looks different for everyone.  
  • The key learnings published by the MMAC as part of the MMAC Region of Choice Summit aligned well with the panel.  Keeping an eye on the metrics associated with the “employee journey” at your organization is critical if you want to retain the diverse talent you have been able to attract.  The presentation from Mercer does a deep dive into how to remove bias in your performance review and compensation process.

Thank you to Milwaukee Tech Hub and Laura Schmidt for leading this collaborative series of conversations with the SEWI-ATD chapter, and to Celeste Cuffie and Camille Parham for sharing their experience with the Tech Hub coalition.

This is a critical challenge for our organizations, so please reach out if you have suggestions for how to advance these discussions or resources to share!

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