Resource managers are often so focused on perfecting their staffing strategy for immediate optimal utilization, or putting out four alarm fires when half their team comes down with the flu, an important part of resource management is often overlooked: building your team internally to have the skills you need. Frequently a resource manager is faced with team members who need to be working, but do not have the complete skill set for a new assignment. Start thinking about this from a new perspective. Instead of only paying attention to what your consultants and teams can do, pay attention to what they can learn to do. Have your groups write down the top three skills they feel if acquired, would help them to be more valuable. Now, keep track of your projects and programs most often needed skill sets and any areas of weakness. You may find a consistent theme here that’s worth exploring.
Trust me, it is far less costly to train a good employee to be more valuable than hire a new, untested employee that ultimately will have holes in their knowledge base as well.
If you have good people help to make them great people! Some will state that putting money and time into an employee can leave you vulnerable to losing them and receiving nothing for it. I will argue that hiring new always leaves you vulnerable – especially during those first ninety days. Not to mention their ability and whether they will fit with their new organizational culture is untested. The amount of money invested into a new hire is substantial! When you compare that to training someone in a new skill whom you have a proven history with, I’ll pick training my tried and true any day of the week.
Sure, you may lose employees down the road, but you may also build a valuable, long-term employee who appreciates what you have done for them and are loyal through and through. And hey – even if you do lose them, you’ve helped to better a person’s life, strengthened your corporate culture, improved your company’s reputation which attracts top new talent, and perhaps even brought on some good karma.
Danielle VanZorn, PMP, SPHR