How online education can address company's skills shortages

Mark Talmage-Rostron
April 24, 2023 · 7 min read

The world is currently experiencing what many economists would qualify as a near recession due to many countries experiencing low growth figures. This is putting massive pressure on businesses to keep their heads above water, a burden not helped by large gaps between the skills that companies are looking for from employees, and the skills that those employees actually posses.

Vervoe Hiring Resources states in an online article that the skill shortage could lead to a collective $8.5 trillion loss in potential annual revenue in 2030. 43% of organizations face skill gaps already, and a further 44% expect a skills shortage within the next five years.

Unfortunately, Vervoe also says that in the past three years alone, the talent shortage has climbed significantly each year – to almost double pre-recession figures in 2022.

This alarming trend, and what is required to address how companies can take steps to close the skills shortages gaps was put under the spotlight in an enlightening Nexford University webinar run by Jennifer Bangoura, EdD, Nexford’s Director of Career Innovation, Olivia Mary Anaman, Group Head of HR for Allianz, Ghana, Lanre Ogungbe, the Cofounder and CEO of Identitypass, Gathoni Mwangi, Global Recruitment Manager at Pula Advisors, and Temi Dalley, Chief Human Resources Officer at Sterling Bank.

Olivia kicked off by saying that Allianz worldwide prides itself on putting its people first, as they believe that their staff are their most valuable assets. But first, for them to become an even more valuable and lasting asset to the company, she is under no illusion that the organization has to be seen to be constantly upskilling or reskilling staff with current technical, hard, and soft skills to allow them to excel in their positions in the company. Naturally this will be a win-win for all parties.

Expanding on that very point, Olivia went on to say, “We are very keen about the development of our employees, and also creating an enabling environment for people to learn, grow, and also contribute to the success of our company. Within four years of our establishment in Ghana, we've been able to grow from the bottom 20 companies in 2018 to currently part of the top 10 companies in the country. We put this down to putting programs in place to constantly develop and maintain a highly skilled workforce that have the competencies to more than just get the job done.”

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As a company that’s reason for being is to provide verification services for HR departments and companies that operate mostly in the financial space, including ecommerce, Lanre knows all about the importance of using a solid and trusted infrastructure to make precise decisions about who people are and the skills that they say they possess.

Proof of its capability is that Identitypass processes thousands of verification calls daily for businesses in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. Today they are the largest when it comes to verification services in the region, able to verify up to 23 different countries in Africa.

Vetting can lead to greater talent acquisition and retention

Sterling have said that virtual hiring may have gained traction due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, but 70% of talent acquisition professionals expect the virtual hiring trend or remote/in-person hybrid hiring to continue, thanks largely to time and cost savings. That’s the good news, the bad news is that virtual hiring is open to abuse as many companies are finding that some candidates are not really who they say they are, and may not possess the necessary skills to meet the job specification.

Someone who knows all about talent acquisition and retention is Temi Dalley, the Chief Human Resource Officer at Sterling Bank Plc., that has a workforce of close to 1,000 individuals across 180 branches. Out of anyone she knows that the key to businesses surviving in the modern workplace environment is to not rest on their laurels, but ensure that they have robust online training programs in place to close the skills gap necessary to remain competitive against not just businesses that compete in their sector, but businesses worldwide.

Upskill and reskill employees to be more effective leaders

Sterling Bank wanted to create a progressive work environment and culture. So by partnering with Nexford they invested in new technologies and upskilled and reskilled employees to help address the challenges of their transformation agenda.

Temi Dalley says, “Our people that have gone through Nexford’s MBA program have upskilled and through that we are excited to say that they have moved to new roles within Sterling Bank and taken on increased responsibilities. We're very deliberate about building the skills for the future.”

Companies tend to look at a host of key skills they require from their staff, but the main skill that they yearn for in an employee is leadership. The less people must be micromanaged, and the more that employees are empowered to lead themselves, lead teams, and lead the business, the better the productivity and profitability of a company will be.

With leadership, there are some skills that can be learned along the way, but those skills can be honed by doing a degree such as an MBA. The other reason for companies to invest in their staff and upskilling or reskilling them by sending them to do courses or obtaining full on degrees, is stakeholder management.

Project Manager says that stakeholder management is a process that consists of managing the expectations and requirements of all the internal and external stakeholders that are involved in a project. This all boils down to an individuals ability to develop project management skills.

So there's a lot of connecting the dots across the board. And for key members of staff to be able to run an end to end delivery process, they need to understand what the stakeholders they are dealing with need, and what's in it for them. This all boils down to taking ownership of their role in the process. Again some may be born with these skills, but those who aren’t and want to step up to the plate, upskilling is the only real process for them to get up to speed and lead from the front.

Improve and retain top talent!

The World Economic Forum reports that from 2025 to 2030, definitely by 2050, employees will have to every five years revisit what skills are essential to do their jobs better than anyone else and in accordance to company requirements at that stage of the game. It’s all about lifelong learning.

To stay on top of those constantly evolving demands of a company, Nexford for Organizations created a development program called Nexford 4 Talent, designed to train existing teams with the skills required to capture new revenue opportunities.

With a talent shortage predicted by 2030 that will see more than 85 million jobs go unfilled, businesses need to start future-proofing against the scarcity of qualified talent today.

Banking on building top talent

An organization that recognized this requirement, and acted on it, is Sterling Bank Plc., who invested in new technologies and upskilled and reskilled their employees to help address the challenges of their transformation agenda.

Lack of career development and opportunities is the number one reason that employees leave, and 94% would stay longer if they're with companies that help them learn. Sterling Bank are one of the future-thinking organizations that have elected to partner with Nexford to develop their employees skillsets.

In addition, Allianz Life Ghana have also recently started to enroll employees in Nexford’s programs for organizations as they also want to ensure that existing talent have what is required to achieve the organizations’ business objectives.

To make this all happen, Nexford offers courses, pathways, certificate programmes, and of course, undergraduate and MBA degrees. So whether companies have entry level talent, who are either degree completers, or who are looking for a certificate to upskill, or people who are looking to take it to the next level with their MBA, there's something for everyone.

And it’s really working. Adewunmi Oluremi, Group Head of Learning & Development at Sterling Bank says, “If we had not done this retraining initiative with Nexford, Covid would have hit us really hard and we would have been all at sea by not being able to cope with the stresses of remote working. We had to help employees adapt to the changing landscape of business. They needed to be more digitally savvy to cope with the challenges of the future and the future challenges of the workplace. There was quite a skills gap and Nexford helped us bridge it.”

A skilled workforce is difficult to attract, develop, and retain. Don’t miss out on the opportunity by partnering with Nexford. The university powers the most successful workforces on earth through competency-based training programs that align to the needs of industry.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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