Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 54 - Page 35

EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
DAVE BIRCHALL , CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER AT NODE4

The first – and perhaps most obvious – way that enterprises can tackle the recent skills shortage is through recruitment . A crucial but often overlooked recruitment strategy is to turn to the next generation , rather than those with years of experience . Although these employees won ’ t add huge value to the business until they are trained up , graduates and apprentices make up a huge proportion of the talent pool , so provide ample opportunities to expand the workforce . This is also extremely valuable to businesses because candidates can be specifically trained to plug any skills gaps within your organisation . Graduate and school career fairs are a great opportunity to meet these potential candidates and inspire them to join the industry . Offering work experience and placement opportunities can also be very valuable in actively engaging the next generation .

The Node4 Academy aims to do this by providing professional development and training opportunities from sales and product knowledge to more general skills , such as time management , prioritisation techniques and public speaking skills . Bringing in homegrown talent is also valuable in terms of retention – another key part of tackling a skills shortage . This is because it builds a sense of loyalty by creating an emotional attachment between employee and employer .
Also key to staff retention and preventing the skills gap from widening is providing career progression opportunities . This can occur by introducing pathways that do not automatically progress people upwards into leadership positions but that allows talent to move deeper into their expertise and become specialists in their field . This ensures that the people with the correct skills don ’ t move away from the ‘ doing ’ to the ‘ managing ’ – losing the required skills and widening the skills gap . It is important that enterprises promote and recognise their employees without taking valuable skills away from essential jobs .
Finally , it is increasingly becoming clear that people want to be a part of something , not just an employee in a business . Therefore , to retain skilled staff , enterprises should have robust employee engagement incentives and offer additional benefits to make their employees feel included in the wider culture of the organisation , but also that they are
making a valuable contribution to society . At Node4 , we take part in charitable work with the Trussell Trust to make that difference . To demonstrate how we value our employees , we send appreciation gifts to every member of the team and organise reward and recognition programmes to celebrate individual successes . To form and strengthen relationships , we host internal quizzes and competitions , which give our colleagues time to bond outside of the work environment . After all , a happy , diverse and united team is a productive workforce and promoting such perks will attract the skilled and ambitious candidates that everyone is desperately searching for to plug the gap .
A crucial but often overlooked recruitment strategy is to turn to the next generation , rather than those with years of experience .
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