Flipping through the recent copy of Human Resource Executive magazine I stumbled upon the results of a recent survey with the headline, “Aggravating the Skills Gap.” An organization recently surveyed 494 employed adults and found that only 35% had received training and development to better perform their role within the last six months.
Why are so few receiving training and how does it affect the alleged talent shortage occurring in the United States? As I have mentioned in my past articles on this subject, I’m not fully convinced a talent shortage exists, yet I can’t deny that organizations’ increasing reluctance to train people will further exacerbate the talent shortage over which many of the same organizations are currently crying. So though I don’t believe talent is as scarce today as many people seem to believe, I certainly foresee a problem in the future if companies continue to act so selfishly.
I will explain. As Peter Cappelli, a Professor of Management and Director of HR at Wharton notes, companies are less willing to pay for training these days. Why pay to train a candidate only to have them hired away by a competitor who avoids the expense?
This stingy attitude brings to mind a poem shared with me by Teresa Turner, the Founder and President of Synchronized Resources Inc, entitled “The Cold Within”. Teresa, an affirmative action consultant, has been sharing this poem for years to emphasize the detrimental outcome of discrimination. I believe the poem’s additional themes of selfishness also apply to the current philosophy on not training employees.
As the story goes six individuals are sitting in the black and cold around a dying fire. In each of their hands they hold a log capable of sustaining the warmth and also their lives but because of their prejudices they ignorantly refuse to help those toward whom they harbor resentment. Below are the last two stanzas from the poem.
The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
Now picture six competitors sitting around a fire, each unwilling to give help to the other unless the other gives first. Does this not echo the statement above about companies hesitating to train employees?
In my world of recruiting, more and more companies want fully trained employees right off the conveyor belt as though there is a factory somewhere spitting out employees matching every one of their mandatory qualifications. Do you not see the conundrum here? Where are companies going to find fully trained employees if they and their competitors are unwilling to provide the necessary training?
As more and more withhold their logs, I see the fire dying out and a very chilly future for America’s workforce.