You can’t buy your way out of a skills gap



You can’t buy your way out of a skills gap

When I talk to business owners or CEOs about their skills gap they almost always react with a story about their latest problem. They paid too much for a person with the skill they needed – and then the person left shortly thereafter for even more money. This highlights the problem with skills gap, there is always someone with more money then you. If your skills gap strategy is money based then you are starting on a path of frustration.

When I was a VP of Human Resources for a service company we had several service lines and almost all of them had a skills gap. There were less people with the skill then was needed in the marketplace. So we were just like everyone else – looking for people to fill our gap. First we focused on solving our employee turnover problem which led us to also solving our skills gap problem. As our turnover moved close to zero we were attracting a lot of talent from our competitors. Our strategy was to only pay what they made at our competitor if their pay rate was in line with our pay plan. Virtually always it was and so we hired them for what they were making.

How was this possible? Our competitors had several problems which we took full advantage of. We knew what their employees were unhappy about. We also knew several of these issues were not present in our company and several of these issues we took direct action to be very attractive to these employees. Their employees and our employees were routinely around each other and these issues would naturally come up in conversation. Their employees would complain about the issues while our employees would relate how it was not an issue in our company. This led to a flow of resumes and hires which only got stronger with time as the competitors’ employees saw and heard the issue did not exist with our company. As their employees moved over to our company there was lots of communication between these new employees and the employees of their former employer confirming the issues did not exist at our company.

To solve your skills gap you have to get off of the pay treadmill and discover the strategies and processes which will cause a real long term decline in your skills gap.

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