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Study: Only 30% of Companies Say Their Employees Have Needed Skills, but Few Understand Workforce Capabilities Today

27% of organizations feel LinkedIn knows more about their employees than they do

As the “Great Resignation” begins to affect the ability to retain and attract top talent, organizations may want to first make sure they understand what talent they already have. Data collected by human capital research firm Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) – from more than 1,300 HR and business executives across 80 countries – shows that not only do most organizations not know the skills and capabilities within their workforces today, but that they also have a lack of knowledge on what is needed in the next one-to-three years.

“The ‘talent tsunami’ is certainly beginning to hit hard,” said Thomas Stone, i4cp research analyst, “with a full 72% of organizations anticipating at least a moderate talent exodus in the months ahead. On top of that, our most recent survey shows that only 30% of organizations feel they have the necessary skills for the future. Yet, it’s hard to ascertain how they really know this because a mere 10% have an employee skills database or inventory today with profiles for all employees. When you combine all of this with an already strained labor market, it adds up to business leaders and HR executives looking to the future with desperation in their eyes.”

While future workforce planning is typically focused on external talent, immense opportunity exists within every organization’s existing workforce. But, knowing how to identify internal skills, database them, and effectively manage workforce capabilities are questions most don’t have answers for.

Among the respondents with 1,000 or more employees:

  • A mere 12% consider upskilling or reskilling efforts in their organizations to be effective
  • Only 15% indicate their organizations are highly effective at analyzing the gap between current workforce capabilities and future business requirements
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, 27% believe LinkedIn knows more about their workforces than their organizations do
  • Unfortunately, 39% say it’s easier for their employees to find jobs externally than internally

The silver lining is that high-performance organizations—those participants in the study that have better revenue growth, profit, market share, and customer satisfaction than their competition—are 2x more likely than their low-performing counterparts (47% vs. 21%) to indicate that their workforces are ready for the future.

In the new research report, Accelerating Total Workforce Readiness (available exclusively to i4cp members), i4cp uncovered the best and next practices in employee skill tracking, upskilling, and talent mobility that distinguish high-performance organizations. Six key findings emerged:

  1. Workforce readiness isn’t universally understood. Most firms are not clear about what workforce readiness means and most leaders don’t know their role in that equation. Additionally, 43% of those surveyed don’t have a process for analyzing workforce readiness.
  2. Most organizations are operating in the dark. Over half of survey participants said their organizations had insufficient data about the current skills and capabilities of the workforce, ranking it the number-one barrier to building workforce readiness. No wonder, as only 10% reported having an employee skills database or inventory with profiles for all employees.
  3. Beyond skills, true workforce readiness considers a broad array of capabilities. If the workforce is burnt out and disengaged, does it really matter how skilled they are? High-performance organizations consider a more complete view of their workforce that includes not only capability, but also well-being, level of engagement, and organizational culture health, among other aspects.
  4. Future success requires a change-ready culture. Organizations with high degrees of workforce readiness are 3x more likely to have company cultures that embrace change and 5x more likely to have leaders who embrace new ways of working.
  5. Talent hoarding is an impediment to workforce readiness. Tolerating or allowing managers to hoard talent (instead of encouraging continuous movement across the organization) is one of the most significant barriers to workforce readiness.
  6. Deconstructing work is an effective building strategy. Workforce planning must mature beyond basic headcount planning and talent sourcing to become a truly strategic enterprise function. High-performance organizations are 2x more effective at deconstructing jobs into individual tasks and skills needed, 2.5x more effective at forecasting the skills and capabilities the organization will need in the next one-to-three years, and are better at leveraging much wider, more diverse talent sources beyond traditional full-time and part-time employees.

i4cp members: download the Accelerating Total Workforce Readiness report now.

If your organization is not a member of the i4cp community, view our member benefits to learn how we can help your leadership team see around the curve.