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How Low Can Upskilling Go?

Hire graduates or experienced job seekers? Spend 2 years or two weeks training? In this month’s HR Round Table, we began cracking the skill gap puzzle.

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Hire graduates or experienced job seekers? Spend 2 years or two weeks training? In this month’s HR Round Table, we began cracking the skill gap puzzle.

Industries today are constantly evolving. HR managers can no longer afford to only serve a supporting function - they must now primarily become an enabling one. HR departments have long been a supporting team but with the agility needed for young organisations and the ever changing landscape for corporates they have become an integral piece of long term business strategy.

At our HR breakfast event held on 22nd March, a diverse group of people in HR and entrepreneurs came together to begin a conversation triggered by skill gap data produced by Fuzu. The highlights of this data is that:

  • Job seekers with less than 2 years experience have reporting knowledge and research planning which they are equipped to do in university but lack the practical aspects of sales strategy and brand management that can only be learned on the job.

  • Job seekers in junior roles (2-7 years experience) lack the skills desired for middle management such as project management and monitoring and evaluation.

  • (7+ years experience) are able to manage projects but now do not not possess the skills to strategise and implement projects

So the question we posed to the group was a deceptively simple one; how do you upskill employees at various stages of their career in your individual organisations?

For organisations with smaller teams or are startups, the common theme was to hire recent graduates or people with less than 2 years experience with the goal to train them on the job (OTJ). The fast changing environments of these types of organisations demands raw talent that can be moulded. The catch? The talent has to be sharp enough. Hence, some organisations mentioned compressed learning cycles to train and rigorous recruitment processes to suss out the best. Why is this important? Because younger organisations have neither the time or the luxury to do what corporates do and that is lengthy and expensive graduate training programs.

These programs, though, have their place in upskilling employees. Where variables allow, employers are able to run 2-3 year programs to help these job seekers acquire the necessary skills to take the organisation to the next level. Upskilling and training looks different for various organisations. Some organisations use heavy mentoring and coaching models while others depend on OTJ training for almost 100% of their learning and development needs.

The big takeaways

Fresh graduates can be valuable to organisations provided the environment is conducive for learning and the new employees are fast, dedicated and agile. This may not  always be the case as technical roles (pharmaceutical, software development industries) do require a fair amount of experience. Still, best practice dictates that learning is a continuous process no matter what stage of career your employee is at.

Learning styles shift and change depending on the demands of the organisation, department or even team culture. For HR managers leading the strategic development of organisations, this is remains the most important point; adapt or become extinct.

Do you want to be at our next HR Roundtable? Join the Fuzu Roundtable group on Facebook for constant updates.

Written by

Linda Kimaru

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