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May 2008

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The focus of this month's newsletter stays on people and how to use them effectively in your organization to drive business results. In these times of low cost technology and talent shortage, your people are your key differentiator between you and your opposition. I know this point is often stated. However, how many of us truly believe it and use it to our - and our employees' - mutual advantage?

Our feature article this month is from our senior associate, Jennifer McCoy. Jennifer examines the changing nature of work and what you need to do about it. Faced with an ageing workforce, the difficulty in keeping Gen Y and the endemic skills shortage, are you asking the right questions? Read on and find out.

New Products

Thank you to our customers that purchased our newly released leadership succession planning tool: Succession Planner. We released this easy to use tool at an opportune time as a recent Chandler Macleod survey revealed that 49% of all organizations have no succession plan in place. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think of our new tool.

Recently, we upgraded our two most popular products: our Training Management Template Pack and Training Projects Template Pack. With improved User Guides and new template additions, we're sure that they will generate a lot of interest. Buy one template pack and save 40% on the second pack. Click here to buy at the special bundle price of US $112 for both packs.

This month, keep an eye out on our Home page for our upcoming Training Evaluation Toolkit. Measuring the effectiveness and ROI of company training programs has been talked about for a long time. However, many HR and training professionals have been afraid of quantifying the benefits of their programs. This toolkit contains all of the guidance, templates and worksheets for both the novice and experienced professional alike.

Coming to Grips with the New Workplace: Exploring Skills Shortages

Have you noticed how your workplace has changed? You may be struggling with the skills shortage. Or coming to grips with Gen Y, the group attracting all the media attention and frustrated conversations over dinner. Or you may be dealing simply with the pace of change and the increasing pressure to deliver. Whatever is most obvious to you, certainly the pace of those changes seems to be accelerating.

Perhaps you've assumed the problem was localized. In fact, the problem is far wider. The challenge is that skills shortages are global and the situation will probably get worse before it gets better. We're running out of skilled people. The pool is diminishing and that "war for talent", predicted in business articles, is already here. In a world where technology is a leveler, highly skilled, creative people provide the sole competitive edge for a business. Talent and skills plus innovation drive business success, if not survival.

The dearth of people is fairly simple to explain. Declining birth rates from the second half of the 20th century, combined with the ageing of existing populations, are rapidly distorting the traditional demographic picture of society across the industrialized world. This is equally true of some of the emerging economies like China and India. There would seem to be an incongruity between accounts of an overpopulated world and the realities of declining workforces. However, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affaires has captured the realities of an ageing population globally in a pictorial map showing the percentage of the population that will be aged 60 years or over in 2050 - around 30% across these nations. Skills might be scarce now, but as our populations age the situation will become more acute.

The problem is a little more complex though. We're also losing people because we don't know how to keep them - the young, talented Gen Y with the world almost literally at their fingertips. We're discarding others because we don't know how to use them effectively - the Baby Boomers with their lifetimes of experience but, sometimes, outdated technological skill. If we're going to solve the problem for the long term we're going to need to learn how to keep people at work and work collaboratively with everyone in these new workplaces. We're going to need to ask some more questions about the way we work with people and then seek some interesting solutions.

Since skilled people are so much in demand, critical questions for business surely must be:

"What do we need to do to develop the potential of all the staff we've got now?", and

"What can we do to keep these people?"

An even better question to ask is:

"What do they need from us to enable them to be creative and to come up with ideas that will serve us well or give us a competitive edge?"

Unfortunately, it would seem these questions are not asked frequently enough.

Read the full article

About This Month's Author

2 Way Feedback available for download Jennifer McCoy is a senior associate with Business Performance Pty Ltd and has been working with both small and medium-sized organizations. Jennifer specializes in generational leadership and workplace communication. Through her coaching practice, she assists businesses build leadership skills, improve communication and develop teamwork. She is also the author of 2 Way Feedback - How to build more effective staff relationships through a culture of constructive feedback. To find out more about how Jennifer can help your business, contact us at office@businessperform.com

In This Issue
New Products

Coming to Grips with the New Workplace

About This Month's Author
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