One thing is clear – the skills and competencies needed by organizations to help propel them into digital transformation and survival are just not going to be available in the numbers and time needed! And the number of computer science students at universities globally has been reducing over the past 5 or so years! The only recourse left to organizations is to have a well-defined and managed IT Career and Competency Management system in place.
Over the past few years, as in previous years when specific scarce skills are required, organizations, even large, well-governed organizations, have resorted to “poaching” to get the skills that they need. “Skills Poaching” can be seen as when “an organization recruits and hires an employee from a competing organization”, and it happens all too often in the IT industry and other industries that rely on having IT competence inside the organization for competitive and productivity purposes.
But is this really a “winning” strategy for addressing scarce skills? We think not.
- Doesn’t increase the skills pool. For one thing, this practice does not in any way increase the skills pool. It merely recycles skills between a relatively small group of organizations with little or no benefit to the industry as a whole.
- Increases Human Capital costs. As employees move from one organization to the other, they ask for, and generally get, a higher remuneration package. We have seen what we call “grade creep” happen over the past 10 years where jobs have “crept” up two or more levels just to be able to pay new incumbents more. This ultimately drives up the Human Capital costs of ALL organizations – to the detriment of all.
- Create potential for Workforce instability. The practice creates instability in the workplace. Firstly, if the employee left a competitor to join your organization, it is more likely that they will leave and do the same at some stage. And secondly, it demotivates the current incumbents and especially those with aspirations to the positions be filled through “poaching”.
On the other hand, if we view employees as “assets” and not “expenses”, and we create constructive career paths and opportunities for the organizations employees, costs can be contained and large savings can be made over the longer term – as the graph below from HCMI research depicts.
This specific example is for Customer Service representatives, but can be applied to virtually any range of positions in your organisation. As can be seen from this graph, significant savings were gained over time based on having a career path in place. A well-constructed Career and Competency Framework that is well managed can lead to significant savings rather than increasing costs to the organization.
Competencies and career paths are the currency for Human Capital professionals working with organizations undertaking any form of digital transformation.
 HCMI (Human Capital Management Institute, www.hcminst.com.