The experience gap has been widening and many companies haven’t noticed until it’s too late. Today’s skills gaps are causing many organisations to take expensive and inefficient temporary solutions while they scramble to accelerate five years of development for a new employee to offset the 40 years of experience from the other one heading out the door. Instead, they should be looking to start closing the experience gap permanently and for good. All you need is the right technology.
Experience Gaps are years in the making and are a result of decisions made long ago. They essentially arise from not having the talent that should have been nurtured over a decade or more to fill the gaps now emerging as skilled and experienced employees retire.
This may be because management never hired the right talent at the time or because the talent wasn’t retained before it was time to pass the mantle. There are many reasons why either of these cases can occur, but here’s a look at the top trends that have been identified as the main drivers of today’s skills gaps in many industries:
Refining the number of roles and positions has long been a way to cut costs or improve process efficiencies, but it can also lead to dangerous experience gaps. In the last two decades in some industries, many entry-level and early career roles were eliminated for this very reason. Unfortunately, today it means there is no talent pool to draw on to fill the experienced roles that current employees are retiring from.
The baby boomer generation saw significant growth in our global workforce. After decades of development, these skilled workers are now ready for retirement, but the generation behind them isn’t big enough to fill the gap. While the up and coming workforce in their 20s is bigger again, there is currently a large experience gap between our smaller 30s and 40s workforce and retiring baby boomers.
Economic downturns at various stages have led companies to make painful but necessary job cuts and hiring freezes. Almost all industries have experienced this at various points and others have suffered even more. The oil and gas industry, for example, have had to go through this process at least twice in the 1980s and then again shortly after in the 1990s. These periods, especially being so close together, means the talent needed to fill today’s experience roles either weren’t hired or were necessarily laid-off at the time. Unsurprisingly, oil companies are now amongst those seeing the worst experience gaps.
For many industries it’s not just experience; there is also a large physical aspect to the work. Many companies are underprepared for the fact that their experienced workers, while mentally able to continue with their work, are physically ready to retire. There is an urgent need to close the experience gap and have the right talent ready and waiting before this critical point.
There are many succession best practices and specialised strategies you can employ to close the experience gap long term, but it should all start with having the right technology.
All the practices and strategies needed to create a long term succession plan to handle the experience gap challenge are extremely time-consuming and difficult. Utilising technology such as analytics and other special tools that can help you with everything from automating admin work to forecasting strategies will be essential.
Technology like SuccessFactors can handle the end-to-end employee experience is critical to success in this area. With the ability to synchronise recruitment, training, performance, workforce planning, succession and analytics, SuccessFactors can help you create a cohesive development and succession strategy to make experience gaps a thing of the past. Here’s a quick look at what it has to offer.
With a clear insight into your top performers and specialists, retirement expectations and career paths, your HR team and managers all over the company can identify experience gaps early to get ahead of the curve. This takes you beyond just monitoring your current needs and enables you to start planning for the future to ensure you have everything you need to meet your requirements.
Do you even know all the specialised skills, competencies and qualifications of your workforce? While you may track what skills and qualifications they have received in their role, you also need to be able to see what other skills and capabilities they have so that you always have the best possible chance of finding the right talent for the job. As a self-service portal, SuccessFactors enables employees to create and maintain their own talent profiles to list and promote everything from languages they speak to technical proficiencies.
Managers and HR can then search for candidates by any number of years of experience, expertise, performance or career attributes so they can find the right employee. This is perfect for avoiding experience gaps in situations where you may need to quickly pull together a specialist team or overseas projects and much more.
Competency-based search capabilities and side-by-side comparisons of top candidates also means managers can fill roles quickly, perfect for ensuring that you close experience gaps as soon as an employee decides to leave or retire.
Career development plans are great for employees and the company. Ensuring every employee has their own career development plan ensures that the right steps are being taken to train, develop and otherwise nurture the talent your business will need in the future rather than leaving it until the last minute in a crazy scramble to find the right experience.
It also means employees have a clear idea of their ultimate goal and career path so they can take the right steps individually to meet these goals. It means that when the time comes, they’ll be ready.
SuccessFactors Learning is a powerful LMS that can enable you to train employees on both hard and soft skills. Create a personalised learning journey that aligns with your business goals and their career development plan for an easy and automated way to ensure employees are skilling up to meet your future experience needs. With an intuitive self-service portal, handy notifications and a range of creative ways to deliver learning including quizzes, guides and more, SuccessFactors is the best way to make training engaging, efficient and effective.
Talk to us today about how the SuccessFactors suite could help you ensure you have the right talent at the right time. From training and development to succession planning and analytics, SuccessFactors provides everything you need to make accurate, data-driven decisions with a personalised edge. Contact us or book your demo today and see it in action.