21 May 2024

Is your ‘best new hire’ already in the office?

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Woman addressing a training course

Quiet hiring can benefit both employers and employees by focusing on internal talent mobility without increasing headcount. Photo: Pitch N Hire.

Dan Schawbel examines the case for ”quiet hiring” – investing in the retraining and upskilling of existing workers rather than battling in a competitive labour market.

In today’s tight labour market, there can be a mismatch between what the workforce can currently offer and what employers need.

With the advent of green-energy jobs, along with artificial intelligence and other digital strategies, the demands of the workplace are growing and shifting at a rapid pace, and workers are fighting to keep up.

To address these challenges, executives are increasingly turning to ‘‘quiet hiring’’ to meet the shifting demands of current and future jobs.

Quiet hiring can benefit both employers and employees by focusing on internal talent mobility without increasing headcount.

It allows organisations to offer upskilling opportunities to employees and leverage contract and freelance workers where their skills would be most impactful.

In a new survey from software platform isolved, human resource leaders agree that new approaches are needed. Nearly two-thirds say recruitment will continue to be difficult in the coming year, underscoring that there is no end in sight to the growing hiring challenges of recent times.

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Leaders report the top-three threats facing talent acquisition are a shortage of qualified candidates, remote-work expectations, and a lack of professional development opportunities.

HR leaders are also finding that retention presents challenges, identifying ‘‘retaining top talent’’ as the main concern for their organisation. Furthermore, 43 per cent see a skills gap within their organisation, highlighting that there’s both a need and an opportunity to cultivate new skills within the workforce.

Quiet hiring is an important tactic HR leaders can use to tackle retention and acquisition challenges, but how should they approach this process and ensure that their employees are well positioned for the future of work?

Here are six key areas.

Conduct a skills gap assessment

A crucial first step towards narrowing the skills gap is to identify the critical skills needed for your organisation’s current and future success, and then to assess whether your employees’ existing skills measure up.

By pinpointing the specific gaps that need to be addressed, HR leaders will be better equipped with the data needed for the next steps.

Offer team and individual training

Team training fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and alignment with organisational goals.

Individual training can provide more personalised skill development.

By aligning these two approaches with organisational strategy and skill requirements, HR leaders can set employees up with multiple pathways for advancement.

Leverage existing expertise through mentorship

Employers can turn to experienced mentors within or outside the organisation to provide personalised guidance to less-experienced employees.

Experienced mentors offer invaluable insights and real-world expertise, facilitating skill development more efficiently than formal training programs alone.

Mentorship can also cultivate a culture of continuous learning and collaboration, encouraging knowledge-sharing.

Invest in a learning management system

Learning Management Systems (LMSs) provide a centralised platform for delivering training content tailored to individual employees’ needs.

These systems enable accessible, flexible development opportunities for employees while also offering robust assessment and analytics for HR leaders as they address the evolving skill requirements of their workforce.

Develop employee career paths and ladders

These guide employees in skill development and advancement by outlining potential career trajectories and required competencies.

Individuals are then empowered to take ownership of their professional growth while allowing HR leaders to strategically align training initiatives with organisational goals and skills development objectives.

Provide resources for continuing education

Employers can help their workers access continuing education by offering tuition reimbursement programs and subsidising professional development courses or certifications.

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Organisations can also provide resources to attend conferences, establish partnerships with educational institutions, and more, helping their employees remain skilled and adaptable to evolving demands.

As we move forward in the ‘‘decade of upskilling’’, employers have the opportunity to help employees acquire new skills, enhance existing ones, and stay competitive in the job market.

In the process, they foster skills that not only benefit their organisations, but the broader needs of global society as they cultivate the workforce of tomorrow.

Dan Schawbel is a bestselling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, a research and advisory firm helping HR adapt to trends, drive performance and prepare for the future. This article is part of his Workplace Intelligence Weekly series.

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