Resource managers often find themselves engrossed in perfecting their staffing strategies: either immediate optimal utilization or addressing urgent crises. Crises, such as when a significant portion of their team falls ill unexpectedly.
Often, a critical aspect of resource management remains overlooked: cultivation of an internal team equipped with the requisite skills. This oversight can lead to situations where team members are available for work but lack the essential skill sets for new assignments.
Adopt a fresh perspective to correct this oversight: rather than solely focusing on the existing capabilities of your consultants and teams, also consider their potential for skill development. A practical approach involves encouraging your teams to identify the top three skills they believe would significantly enhance their value within the organization. Meanwhile, keep a vigilant eye on the skill sets most frequently demanded by your projects and programs, along with any potential (or known) areas of deficiency.
Research strongly supports the notion that investing in the professional development of existing employees is a sound financial strategy. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) underscores the cost-effectiveness of enhancing the skills of proficient staff members over hiring untested newcomers. The expenses associated with recruiting, onboarding, and acclimatizing new hires, especially within their initial ninety days, can be substantial. Moreover, the untested compatibility of new employees with the organizational culture poses inherent risks.
By contrast, investing in the training and development of established team members, with whom you share a proven history, presents a viable alternative. While it’s true that there is always the specter of potential employee turnover, nurturing your existing talent can yield lasting benefits. Fostering long-term, loyal employees who appreciate your investment in their growth, strengthening corporate culture and enhancing the company reputation (attracting top-tier talent) – plus goodwill positive karma on top.
The ideal choice is often transforming good employees into exceptional ones through targeted training and skill development initiatives. This approach, grounded in research-backed cost-effectiveness and long-term benefits, positions resource managers to build a workforce that helps an organization thrive.
Danielle VanZorn, PMP, SPHR