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Bridging the Skills Gap

Four tips on how to combat them.

Bridging the Skills Gap

Have you recently struggled to find a new hire with the information technology and computer skills you need to help drive your business forward? If you found it challenging – or even downright impossible – you’re not alone. As many as 83 percent of organizations have run into problems finding new employees with the right IT skills and experience.

Technological disruption, demographic change and the evolving nature of work created a skills gap even before the global pandemic. According to a study by the National Skills Coalition, about 45 million workers, or one-third of the U.S. workforce, lacked even the most basic digital skills leading into the pandemic.

Now, with the vast workplace disruptions and rapid digital transformations stemming from the impact of the pandemic, the skills gap is becoming a chasm.

So what can you do?

We have four tips to help you:

1. Identify the skills you really need for your core business. First and foremost, you need to reflect on the core skills your business depends on to be successful. Identify what is mission critical and what your company’s strategic selling propositions are. Be specific. If you run a retail operation that now needs to boost its e-commerce capabilities to adapt to new consumer patterns, for instance, what are the skills you need to make that happen? Don’t neglect essential but often overlooked soft skills, such as creativity, leadership, and critical thinking. Determine also which technical skills you absolutely must have in-house and which you can outsource to a certified Managed Service Provider so your employees can focus on the business.

2. Develop a talent strategy. Once you have outlined your requirements, look closely at the team you have in place and map their experience and capabilities against your needs. Develop, and commit to following through on, a talent strategy to support and develop your employees’ skills. What IT and other skills do they bring to their jobs? What are they interested in learning? How can that capacity be expanded – or should it? And, most importantly, what skills can you help your team build that will be helpful to them and to your business over the long term? Having a strategy in place will buffer you against future disruptions while also ensuring you can meet the needs of your business today. Your primary goal should be to make sure your employees are ready to face the immediate challenges of the modern workplace – including the imperatives of remote collaboration and virtual environments – and are well-positioned to pivot as your business continues to evolve.

3. Create a learning culture. The global pandemic has forced rapid transformation upon businesses the world over. Services are being delivered virtually, employees are working together using tools like Microsoft Teams in new ways, and customer needs and expectations have changed. Employees have had to adapt and learn quickly. This is the time to support them with formalized digital and industry-specific training. Create a continued education journey for your organization with emphasis on closing critical skill gaps to help you to build capacity from within. At FSi, for instance we offer Microsoft training and certification to every single one of our employees to help them build their skillset and stay current on the latest products and services. To help improve your training delivery models, you might want to consider an internal learning portal such as FSi’s Continued Learning Portal which is available to our Managed Services clients to provide ongoing continued education through unique and immersive training experiences.

4. Bridge the IT skill gaps by utilizing a strategic relationship with a skilled Managed Service Provider. Even with a carefully crafted skills development strategy and training, you will likely still have gaps within your organization. A Managed IT Service Provider such as FSi can help by giving you access to skilled IT specialists with expertise you need, freeing up you and your team to focus on your business. As an experienced and professional MSP, we can deliver innovative IT solutions and strategy, going far beyond helpdesk support and day-to-day IT tasks such as maintenance, updates and patching. We pride ourselves on providing strategic enterprise-class Modern Workplace IT solutions that engage your employees and accelerate productivity and collaboration while optimizing your environment securely. Services can be customized to your needs, adding up to greater savings and efficiency.

It’s more beneficial than ever to outsource IT support and more complex strategic planning and management to a professional MSP. By all means, help your teams strengthen their skills and their resilience through a combination of talent skills planning and training. But also get the help you need from the outside. Investing in skills in a multitude of ways, both in-house and outsourced, lets you take advantage of the promise of technology, and confidently build your business in an ever-changing world.

To learn more about what to look for in a Managed Services Provider, check out our eBook here.

Start a conversation.

Ask us about integrating your tools & platforms together – with architectural coherence and extensibility. Designing, implementing and supporting Modern Workplace technology is what FSi Strategies specializes in. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses implement modern security strategies in support of their missions. We invite you to discover how together, we can leverage the intelligent Cloud for the security and privacy needs of your business.