You Must Address People and Skills in Digital NOW!

You Must Address People and Skills in Digital NOW!

The bad news!

People and Skills are not high enough priority

As the critical dependency for digital and technology related specialists increases, the demand creates skills shortages, with employers fighting to attract and retain top talent. Organizations must work hard to show they are an employer of choice through showcasing their commitment to professional recognition and development, or risk losing people to more attractive competitors.

Although most organizations are starting to recognize that there are some skills shortages in the critical digital and technology-related specialisms that they increasingly rely on, many are flirting with disaster by putting off any action in the people and skills area – often because they have technology projects and digital transformation to complete, or sometimes because they don’t really know how to start, and therefore revert back to the comfort zone of technology systems and projects.


Most technology failures are people and skills related

Looking at the increasing number of technology failures that make the press, it is clear that the majority are due to not having the right people with the right skills and competencies, in the right place. No matter how clever we are with technology, we still need experienced professionals to design, build, implement and support the technology.


People are leaving for better opportunities

Unfortunately, the message is very clear and very stark – if you don’t take people and skills seriously, you are going to lose some of your top tech talent to competitors who present a much more attractive proposition. You will also fail to attract the limited skilled resources that are out there and be unable to replace those leaving. People often cite a lack of development opportunity as the main reason for leaving, closely followed by lack of professional recognition and being treated as nothing more than their current job description.


It will bite you if you put off taking action

Those who think they can take the gamble of putting it off for now, are likely to find the problem biting them long before we get to 2023!


The good news!

It is easier than you think!

Using a tried and tested approach means that this can be achieved in a few weeks, and there’s support available, so you can pick what you need – tools, training and supporting services. The pace of change means that old ideas about doing an assessment against your current job description once every few years, and trying to do it in a spreadsheet, plus having job descriptions that haven’t been reviewed and updated in years, need to go out of the window. Instead, adopt a much more dynamic and simple approach – make it easy to capture current skills, update skills profiles and skill requirements whenever things change, compare to role/job/project/sprint/task requirements, and create/maintain a focused development action plan (at individual, team, department and whole organization levels).


Common globally language

We already have a common language for describing digital and technology-related skills and competencies, SFIA, which is used in nearly 200 countries around the world. Think of it as the maps, place naming conventions and satellite navigation systems combined – which you can just pick up and use rather than having to create your own skills taxonomy. SFIA guidance is provided on how to best approach assessment and development, so you avoid the common mistakes.


People are more than their current job description

Find out about all the skills that your people have, not just the subset listed in their current job description. Without a complete skills profile for each individual, and thereby a skills inventory for your organization, you will undervalue your existing people and miss opportunity to benefit from their existing skills. Even worse, those existing skills will go out of currency if they are not practiced and kept up to date – use it or lose it! Many organizations hire contractors or vendors to provide skills that they already had internally but didn’t know about – making it even more likely they will lose disaffected and undervalued employees.


Recognize your professionals for their core specialisms

The SFIA Assessment Scheme provides international recognition for professional competencies, moving beyond the myriad of training certificates and accreditations which only confirm theoretical knowledge. Knowledge is important, but the opportunity to apply the knowledge in a working environment is required to turn that into a proficient skill, and on to a fully developed professional competency. Employers can have their own Assessors trained and become accredited, or they can use external SFIA Assessors.


Provide transparency of the development opportunities

Getting a clear baseline of current skills is the start of a much more focused development journey, giving the ability to recognize and utilize their existing core specialisms, and plan targeted development actions based on chosen career path and organizational priorities.


Become an employer of choice

Your organization will be recognized as an attractive employer, through your commitment to recognize individuals for their professional competencies and give them the opportunity to maintain currency for these specialisms and develop new skills and competencies.


Get started now!


It will only take you 10-minutes to answer a few questions. This will confirm where your org is now and provide free guidance on how to address this area and the options open to you – everything you need for the business case!

Click here to do it yourself online or book a call and we’ll help you do it.

Matthew Burrows