Five Steps for Tech Support Leaders to Bridge the Digital Skills Gap

7 min read

January 2, 2022

A critical issue for tech support leaders, IT functions and technology organizations is the current shortage of digital skills. This is a key challenge with 76% of IT leaders reporting skills gaps within their function, resulting in difficulties attracting the right talent.

The lack of digital skills is a global problem, but it keeps tech support leaders in particular awake at night. How do they support new products and services based on emergent waves of technology like AI and AR / VR now and in the future? How do they attract the right people within tightening budgets and high competition for in-demand talent? And how do they prevent a present-day challenge turning into a future crisis as the demand for digital skills continues to ramp up?

Our new insights paper “How tech support leaders can thrive while dealing with increasing competition for talent and skills” uncovers the practical steps that tech support leaders can take to meet the skills gap challenge head on, principally by focusing on reskilling and upskilling their current workforce through a data-driven approach. The paper explores the pressures technology organizations face through the rapid pace of change and constant need for agility. It shows how reskilling and upskilling is a realistic and pragmatic approach to thriving in a highly competitive business climate.

Let’s explore five of the paper’s steps that tech support leaders can take to bridge the digital skills gap.

1. Start asking the right questions

Tackling the digital skills gap in an effective way that will have a sustainable, long-term impact requires clear thinking across different stakeholders. The most successful conversations often start by asking the right questions about the skills needed to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In the report, we suggest the kinds of pragmatic questions that stakeholders need to ask when exploring these issues and help to define overarching objectives and plan the best way forward:

· How can we onboard the right people, and match them to current and future requirements?

· How do we go about recognizing which groups of people within our existing staff are the right ones for a particular upskilling or reskilling initiative?

· How can we design initiatives so that they a) work on an individual level, and b) address actual demand for tech support?

2. Form a skills and career strategy for your organization

The discussions and details you have need to be articulated into a strategy that will define your overall objectives, but also provide a detailed plan that’s going to get you where you want to be. This may incorporate various considerations such as the need to ensure there are the necessary skills to support the cumulative waves of digital innovation arising from AI and automation, the frequency of product rollouts, the expectations of customers and the rise in remote and hybrid working. A key consideration may also be aligning your tech support function’s approach with wider reskilling and talent strategies across other functions.

Defining, documenting, and agreeing a formal skills and career strategy may also require a business case for investment in additional solutions such as Talentwize, as well as for the training involved in upskilling and reskilling your workforce.

3. Discover the skills that you already have

In bridging the digital skills gap, many organizations fail to draw on the skills they already have across their internal workforce. The main reason for this, is tech support leaders simply don’t know what skills are already available in-house. Digital is an area where an employee might have extensive experience gained in past roles, more complex projects and even “side hustles”, but this is not usually recorded, let alone rewarded. Discovering the digital skills that you already have across your workforce is a necessary starting point to properly ascertain where your skills gaps are, putting you in a position to plan your upskilling and reskilling program.

When you have a validated breakdown of skills in your organization, and the digital skills of individuals are uncovered, you can:

· Better plan for future opportunities and react more quickly when you need to draw on the skills of your talent pool · Understand who can more easily upskill or reskill to cover new roles and projects.

4. Take a data-driven approach to upskilling and reskilling

When you know the digital skills across your workforce and there is a formalized and consistent approach to recording and validating these skills, you can take a data-driven approach to upskilling and reskilling. This allows organizations to drive longer-term value from skills initiatives by ensuring programs are both strategic and sustainable.

Taking a formalized, data-driven approach means you can design an upskilling and reskilling program that meets the learning needs and styles of every individual, while also narrowing skills gaps. Getting this balance right is not always easy but having the right approach to recording performance data and driving personalized learning journeys will put you at a significant competitive advantage over other organizations with a less mature approach.

5. Focus on transparent career paths

Reskilling and upskilling initiatives aim to improve talent retention, keeping your top performers and reducing attrition costs. Linking skills and training to a clear, transparent progression pathway is essential if you want to drive retention; reports suggest that 70% of employees regard training and development opportunities as a factor in their decision to stay in a position.

When the business formalizes skills and individual learning pathways showing a transparent career path, the value for each person is clear and they will actively want to learn, changing the whole dynamic. This improves internal talent mobility, increases average length of tenure and even boosts areas such as employee advocacy and organizational culture. You will have a longer-term solution to your digital skills gap which will differentiate you from others when it comes to attracting and retaining the best people. It will also allow you to continue taking a data-driven approach to recognizing top performers and even identifying people who are at risk of leaving so you can address their circumstances.

Download our free insights paper “How Tech Support leaders can thrive while dealing with increasing competition for talent and skills”

About Talentwize

Talentwize is a talent growth solution that gives you a strategic way to know, grow and retain world-class teams through personalized learning journeys and career paths.

It shines a light on precisely which skills you already have across your teams. Our assessment tools reveal any skills gaps so you can easily develop the competencies you need to meet changing business needs. With insights into what already exists, you can establish upskilling and reskilling initiatives to address skills gaps at scale. And you can enable personalized learning journeys for every employee to boost loyalty and reduce attrition.

Put simply, Talentwize is a talent growth solution that helps you know your people, grow your people, and retain your people.

Request a demo now