An article from SmartBrief's leadership series caught my attention recently. It discusses what employers need to do for themselves to address their own workforce challenges. This resonated with me because, as you know, I'm all about what employers need to do better to attract, retain and engage their best workforce.
The post, titled Is the problem incompetence or lack of training?, starts out thusly:
"One of the common complaints you’ll see today is executives saying how there isn’t enough talent out there, not enough people with the right skills or even the willingness to learn. They say that people -- almost always “young people” -- are too eager to jump ship."
Yes, it's so easy to blame those people over there. If only they had a better work ethic...
The article continues:
"... these problems have the same root cause: The organization is not taking responsibility for training people, placing them in a position to succeed and following up by holding everyone to account."
While "workforce" is external--and our natural inclination is to put the blame externally on things that are outside our control (i.e., "it's not our fault")--my best advice is to turn our attention internally to think about the things over which we do have control. What can we do about those things? And those things, it turns out, are our "people practices."
We spend an awful lot of time, effort, and money training job seekers for employment. Yet we do nothing to "train" employers for job seekers. That is a mistake. It's hard to see how we'll make any progress unless or until we address both sides of the employment equation: job seekers and employers.
Yes, I agree job seekers often do really stupid things. I also know it to be true that employers equally often do equally stupid things. And yet we do nothing about it.
Wait, what? That doesn't make any sense. If we're going to solve the problem we need to solve the whole problem. If job seekers are one half of the problem, that means employers are the other half. We need to "train" employers, too.
First on the curriculum is ensuring businesses know how to implement effective people practices: hiring and onboarding, training and engaging, leading and managing, measuring and rewarding.
Happily, effective people practices lead to quantifiably better business outcomes: increased productivity and increased profitability. So it's in our collective best interest to make this happen!