This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 19, 2006

Employers will become more active skill-builders

What does it take to motivate employers to accept the skills shortage and take action? In spite of increasing difficulty finding, recruiting, and hiring skilled workers, many employers are still in denial. Indications from a few recent public and private surveys suggest that only about half the employers surveyed are serious about overcoming their shortages of employees with the skills they need.

The half that do understand their predicament are taking a number of aggressive steps to build their current workforce capacity and prepare for future needs. Some strategic human resource professionals are future-focused enough to engage in workforce planning, as an in-house exercise or with the support of outside consultants. These staffing needs studies identify exactly what positions will be needed at various times in the years ahead, using their corporate strategic plan to guide their anticipated requirements.

Armed with greater insight into what their needs will be, the forward-looking employers are taking a number of steps to assure that they will have the workforce they will need to meet client expectations. Much of their developmental work is centered around academic preparation. According to the 2006 Access to Human Capital and Employment Verification Survey, recently released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 59 percent of organizations responding to their survey reported offering undergraduate educational assistance, 48 percent provide graduate educational support, and 48 percent provide graduate educational assistance. These numbers reflect a significant investment in the company’s future…and in its people.

Employers who understand their situation will expand training for job-related skills. Some of that training will be delivered by company personnel; more will be presented by professional contract trainers. We’ll see more internships, too.

Will employers invest all this money in training because it is the right thing to do? A few will, but most of those who understand the economic benefit will know it’s a matter of survival. They will be consciously upgrading their capacity to provide the services needed by the customers they serve.

Hiring foreign nationals is not seen as the preferred solution, so training current and future indigenous employees will be emphasized.

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