People are the #1 topic on our most successful clients’ executives minds. That’s because these clients realize that even the best strategies and plans will fail without people. On the other hand, we have seen clients that appear the least likely to succeed overcome great obstacles to not only become competitive but also to gain a strategic advantage in the marketplace. The secret ingredient is people. As a former VP of Operations and Supply Chain, there was no doubt that my success was directly correlated to the strength and attitude of my team.
Since it is such a key topic to ensuring growth and profitability, we wanted to dig into the current state of the skills gap. As a follow up to our research several years ago when we found that 87% of companies were experiencing a skills gap, we wanted to understand the current state of this topic and how it has evolved as we are knee deep in the technology era. For example, there is quite a bit of discussion on the topic of people vs. robots. Do we need to think about the skills gap if robots can take over? In other circles, the talk is all about artificial intelligence (AI). Will AI transform the industry? For example, there is a concern about this happening in the accounting profession. However, it might just mean we all must trusted advisors to add value to what can be taken over by robots. That is certainly true in manufacturing environments. The skill requirements are changing. Perhaps we need people to interpret data? And how about to get people and technology to work together?
We ran a survey where we asked for your feedback into the following types of questions:
- Which skills do you need the most?
- Are technical skills enough? Or do you need a savvy communicator as well?
- How do you find your best talent?
- Do you offer incentive to keep top talent such as rewards and recognition programs, performance management programs (tied with compensation systems) etc.?
- How have you seen these requirements changing with the hot bed of technology?
A few highlights from what we’ve seen at a cross-section of clients across closely-held businesses to private equity backed companies to global enterprises:
- Broad skills: Companies are looking for a broader base of skills. It is no longer sufficient to be an expert in a specialized area
- Presentation skills: Those who can present ideas effectively succeed whereas the most talented resources will struggle if they can’t get their ideas across.
- Technology overload: Although everyone is interested in the latest technology, we are overwhelmed with all the options. Selecting just enough technology to advance a key point is often the best course of action.
- Your network is your most valuable asset: It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a new hire, sourcing a supplier or getting just the ‘right’ trusted advisor at just the ‘right’ moment, the best way to find these resources is through your network. Are you nurturing your network?
The bottom line is that the most successful companies pay close attention to their #1 asset, their people. This idea extends to your customers, suppliers, trusted advisors and more since your face to your customer will be inclusive of each of these people. As rubber meets the road, navigating your skills base will be of paramount importance.