If You Don’t Plan, You’re Planning to Fail

If You Don't Plan, You're Planning to Fail

Once it was accepted practice to foster skills through apprenticeships, internal and external training programs, graduate programs and the like. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the unrelenting pressure to cut costs to improve the bottom line commonly resulted in a gradual decay of the training budget. A mindset emerged that when skills were required, it was easier and more cost effective to “go to market”. This was particularly the case in the food and agriculture sectors, where margins are characteristically small with limited options to improve them other than by lowering costs.

Past strategies poorly serve today’s market reality, where advertising frequently fails to yield candidates. Where once “head hunting” was a practice limited to filling senior roles, it is now a reality in filling many middle management positions as well. In today’s workplace, many companies are struggling to come to terms with this new reality in the market.

The more astute companies, however, have adopted a longer term view of their talent pipeline, introducing workplace planning. The process involves pinpointing internal skills which are critical to the value agenda of the business. Once such skills are characterised, future requirements can be forecast and an audit undertaken to determine if the organisation is long or short on specific skills. Initiatives can then be developed to retain, train or attract suitably skilled people into the future. 

Six Tips on Retaining and Attracting Critical Skills:-

  1. Adopting a training and development culture will act as a magnet for talent. Employees who experience personal growth and perceive that they have career advancement opportunities will be less inclined to seek out alternative opportunities elsewhere.
  2. Evaluate current employees and candidates not only on their knowledge and skills but also on their potential and capacity to learn.
  3. Invest in overcoming skills gaps by supporting internal training, coaching and mentoring programs and using external training providers.
  4. Encourage internal applicants to apply for vacancies. Even if they are not suitably qualified for the particular role, it is a valuable chance to reassure them of their career prospects and encourage their further development.
  5. Think beyond educational requirements. If degree qualified candidates are in short supply, a fast-learning tech savvy candidate, for example, may prove to be a good fit.
  6. Offering workplace flexibility will broaden the talent pool that you are drawing from.        

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Belinda Chung - Agribusiness Recruiting - Agricultural Appointments

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