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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Investing in Skill

6:11 PM Posted by Deepak Nayal No comments
It is very important for a company to have skilful employees in order to grow. A high performance organization invests in skills in two different stages, first at the time hiring and second during employment.
  
At the time of hiring such organizations make sure that they either hire people who bring the right set of skills to the organization or hire people which have ability to learn and employ those skills effectively. 

During employment, such organizations make sure that they regularly train their employees to keep upgrading their knowledge and skills. High performing companies understand that this is not just a requirement for their line employees but also for supporting functions. They also understand the need of cross-skill training. These trainings can be for either hard or soft skills. 
In addition to the above mentioned characteristics of a high performance organization there is one characteristic that sets it way apart from the other organizations. A high performance organization on a whole is distinctively known for a particular skill; for example, Apple is known for its amazing marketing style, Southwest is known for is unconventional customer service, Google is known for its innovation. Such organizations build this prime skill over a period of time and use it as a lever to maintain their lead in their respective markets.

Such organizations are also good at “weeding” out old skills and “bringing” in new ones as required. Note that this does not mean that they stop having the previous skills but that they increase their focus on the new ones which are more apt for the then market conditions. An excellent example of this is Apple. In the beginning, the company had its focus on high end computer technology but later on it started to “shift” its focus on branding and marketing which has now resulted in cult like following of the company’s products.

The key impact of developing such a skill is that the entire company starts thinking with that skill in mind. The employees understand what is important to the organization and their activities get tuned in that direction.

To become a high performance organization and improve on your skills, you need to ask yourselves the following questions - 
  • Where are we placed in the market?
  • What skill(s) do we currently have?
  • Where do we want to place ourselves in the market?
  • What skill(s) is required for us to reach there?
  • If there is a gap between these skills, how do we fill it?
  • How do we measure and monitor our skill(s)?
Answers to these questions will help the organization develop its skills and train its employees on the required areas.