Webinar Recap: Closing the Skills Gap—How to Cultivate a New Generation of Experts

Jan 11, 2016 11:51:00 AM | Posted by Ram Ramamoorthy

webinar.jpgWe hope that those of you who were able to attend our Closing the Skills Gap webinar found it informative and insightful. For those who couldn’t make it, we’ve put together a quick recap of what you missed. Speakers Ramkumar Ramamoorthy and Rachel Moore explained how to home-grow the knowledge you need to close your skills gap for good. Here’s what they had to share:

How the Skills Gap Happened

About 7 or 8 years ago, when the economy slowed down, a lot of organizations realized that key skills were concentrated within a limited group of employees. Those with the most knowledge were also the most experienced. Now nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs need to be filled in the next 10 years, and as many as 2 million of those won’t have experienced workers available to step in and fill them. To prepare for this shortfall, we have to start building our benches now.

Making Smart Hires

The first step is to establish a game plan for success, which starts with getting buy-in from everyone within the organization. Once you have that, it’s time to start bringing the best candidates aboard. Partnering with local tech and engineering schools is a great way to attract the right talent. But demand for top graduates is competitive, so the benefits and opportunities you offer should be too. You have to invest in your new hires if you want them to stick around. 

Homegrowing Critical Skills

The next step is to establish an onboarding program that prioritizes training. Keep it as simple as possible. You can leverage the skills you have in-house to develop training modules, and then use new hires to pilot the program. This approach not only helps preserve tribal knowledge; it also promotes operational consistency.

Create a skills assessment questionnaire to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps identify subject-matter experts who can then train those who lack skills in that area. In return, the trainee develops training documents for the expert to review. The training documents can be refined with each new hire and augmented with embedded how-to videos, easing the burden on the expert while strengthening each trainee’s practical knowledge.

Evolving Along with the Industry

Balancing critical skills and providing cross-functional training are essential to future flexibility. By spreading skills across your organization, you create skill overlaps and redundancies rather than relying on only a select few individuals. The smartest way to do this is by emphasizing training and fostering strong trainee-mentor relationships.

The webinar concluded with a question-and-answer session whereby attendees could receive insights and advice from the speakers. We hope you’ll join us for future webinars so you too can take advantage of this unique opportunity to interact with industry experts.

If you were unable to attend Closing the Skills Gap—How to Cultivate a New Generation of Experts, please click here to download the webinar recording—which includes the entire question-and-answer session.

Topics: New Grads , Plant Floor 24 , Mentoring Programs