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As your business changes and evolves so too should your employee map.

This could mean some employees leaving, retiring, or looking for more responsibility in their careers, while new members of staff are joining your company.

Having a solid succession plan to deal with these changes in your workforce is vital, and perhaps the most important tool you have at your disposal in all of this is honesty.

Creating a culture of honesty will mean you can be up front with your employees about changes and they can be truthful with you about what they want and how they see their future, and what their concerns might be.

Leadership succession

This can be one of the trickiest areas to navigate as a manager or employer.

Leadership positions will become available due to various factors, but it would be a mistake to assume that the second in command will simply move on up into this role when it becomes vacant.

Your future leaders may well be working within your business right now, but that doesn’t mean they are ready for this leap.

Investing in training will be vital if you want to retain the staff you have and utilise them to their full potential.

Hidden gems

So, if the obvious successor to a role is not the right successor, who is?

Succession planning is important because it could be the best person for this job is a hidden gem, someone who is already an employee but isn’t the obvious candidate.

Talent management within your organisation is crucial if you want to keep on top of this issue and have a solid succession plan in place.

Know who your employees are, what they do, and who is the most vital to your business.

The most important employees often fly under the radar and you need seek them out.

Internal training and development

There are a few reasons why internal candidates are a better option for filling vacancies than external.

They already work within your business and understand the culture and practices. They have built up relationships and want to progress. It saves you the time and expense of employing externally.

But your internal candidates are unlikely to be match fit already so you’ll need to organise internal training and development.

This will also make your employees feel valued as you are giving them a leg up to their future.

Why perform a skills gap analysis?

As we mentioned in the post ‘Identifying the Skills Gaps in your Organisation’ performing a skills gap analysis will make it clear where you need to recruit and where you need to train.

At Comurce we can make this a much simpler process by helping you to have a solid succession plan ahead of needing one and helping you build a much stronger workforce.

When you perform a skills gap analysis with our help you’ll have a clear picture of your employees within your organisation and what you need to do to move your business forward.

FAQs

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is the process of mapping key employees in your business, and identifying potential successors to their roles so that, should they leave for any reason, there is someone ready to step in to the position.

What are the benefits of succession planning?

With effective succession planning, you can ensure that the key roles and skills in your workforce are covered in the event someone leaves. This applies to both leadership positions and skilled professions, meaning there is always someone ready to step into the position.

What is the first step in succession planning?

The first step in succession planning is to identify key roles, both existing and future. Then you can begin the process of mapping out talent to fill these roles.

A merger is an anxious time for many employees. Worries about their jobs, the changes to their working environment and practices, and how incoming employees will fit into an already established dynamic.

Retraining employees in times of stress and change can be a challenge, but there are some important points that can make you see the issue differently.

Financial incentives

Money Talks, there’s no doubt about that and more money could well be a legitimate way to keep your staff happy in their work.

But money alone won’t do it.

The fact is, if your employees are unhappy because they feel vulnerable or unappreciated, or because so much change going around them is confusing and unsettling, throwing money at the problem won’t fix it.

You may have to consider offering some employees a leadership role in order to keep there where they are.

But one thing’s for sure, the solutions to the issue of retaining your employees during times of upheaval is never going to be the same for every individual.

Individual arrangements

If you manage your employee retention with a blanket one-size-fits-all retention package you won’t be appreciating the fact that your employees are individuals and they have varying concerns and focus in times of career change.

Some employees may be wondering if this is an opportunity to further their career by moving on to new employers, while others may want to stay but are struggling with what this means to their wider life.

This could mean that helping employees find childcare or offering them room in their roles to advance are important issues and might keep these employees at your company.

But it won’t be one solution for everyone and prioritising individual staff’s needs will help you all move forward.

Identifying key employees

One of the most important things managers and employers can do at times of disruption and organisational change is to identify the employees who are your top talent and who are most important when it comes to retention of staff.

This won’t always be the most obvious employees and you may have to look a little closer amongst your workforce to find those hidden gems.

This could be someone whose career path seems unexceptional at first, but this person could be a key player in your business.

Seek out your star employees and make sure you are focussing your attention on them. Understand their needs and concerns.

Cultural integration plans

Having solid well thought out plans for cultural integration is vital.

As we talked about in the post ‘How to Integrate Employees After an Acquisition’ incoming staff are coming from a different work culture into the one that already exists amongst your current employees.

The problems of integration work both ways and a new work culture arriving could make your existing employees feel uncomfortable and misplaced.

Having a solid plan for how to deal with this and how to integrate your employees will make things run much smoother.

How Comurce Can Help

Comurce enables you to model your teams, roles and capabilities, making it easy to quickly identify issues - areas where you don't have capable teams or areas where the teams are oversized and responsibilities overlap.

Good team management is key to ensuring your employees are happy, so that they are more likely to stay on after a merger or acquisition.

FAQs

What is acquisition integration?

Acquisition integration is the process of combining business functions in two companies which have gone through an acquisition.

What is a post-merger integration process?

Much like an acquisition integration, post-merger integrations are the process of bringing together business functions after a merger, both to identify potential silos and streamline activities.

How long does an M&A take?

M&A's (mergers and acquisitions) are usually fairly protracted processes, taking anywhere from 6 months to several years to complete.

You’ve acquired a new business - fantastic! But before you run ahead and start thinking about your next acquisition, you first need to make sure this new one integrates with your existing business. If you think that’s easy, think again. To make sure your business succeeds now you’ve acquired another, you need to make sure you integrate employees and the culture of your new business integrates with your existing one. Here are some points you’ll need to consider.

Cultural integration plans

It’s important to understand that you won’t be able to keep everyone happy during a merger integration and the majority of the cultural issues your employees raise won’t be the critical ones. That doesn’t mean you dismiss them, but you will have to keep the vital cultural issues central. Your incoming employees may feel like outsiders, but it’s important that you lay out the culture of your business early on, so your new employees understand what’s expected of them.

Skills gap analyses

Performing a skills gap analysis is a great way to evaluate where your new employees are in their skills range, and this will move you towards better integration. As we talked about in the blog post Identifying the Skills Gaps in your Organisation, a skills gap analysis will help you to see where your employees need new skills and this will help you to understand what you need to focus on to integrate your new company. From this you can offer training, which will also strengthen the culture of your existing company within your acquired company. This will also strengthen your combined company and help integration to flow.

Managing cultural change

Cultural integration often begins with managing cultural change. Cultural change can come about because of varying different factors – changing markets, consumer expectations – but when you are looking at a combined company it comes about because of differing cultures attempting to integrate. To effectively manage cultural change you need to understand what your current culture is, why it is changing, and where it is heading. Re-enforce your organisation’s values within your team. Allow your team members to fully participate in the process. Listen, and communicate.

Managing uncertainty

Uncertainty is pretty certain in any business, so understanding how to manage it is vital for your success. If you leave uncertainty to rumble on between your employees it’s likely to grow out of all proportion. Be present and be reassuring. Appoint an integration team and have a solid integration plan, and share this with your employees so everyone feels a part of the changes. If your team feels they are being kept in the dark they may start to panic and they may view incoming team members with suspicion. The same goes for your new acquisitions, so be transparent at all times, and share information.

If you understand the problems with a new culture within your business, you can see your way forward to solving the problems it can cause. Look ahead, plan, and enforce your company’s vital cultural points.

The first step towards solving the problem of skills gaps is identifying where they lay in your organisation. There are a few ways to do this and it’s important that you and your business look at your skills gaps issues from all angles. Once you have the tools you need to do this, you’ll find your skills gaps are easy to identify and deal with quickly and effectively. Here a few things to consider.

Skills gap analysis

The best way to identify the skills gaps in your organisation is to perform a skills gap analysis. So, what is this? You can conduct your skills gap analysis in two parts. First on an individual level and then on the whole team. Begin by identifying the skills your individual employee needs to have to be effective, and then think about the skills you as a company see as important to your production. Then measure the skills your employees have against those that are needed, both as individuals and as part of a team.

Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks can be a big problem as this slows down your production. A bottleneck is where a lack of skills slows down your process, stopping your employees and production from continuing at an acceptable pace, because the skills to keep work flowing are missing. If only one person has the skills to keep production flowing, you create a bottleneck. Once you understand what your skills gaps are, you can open up your bottlenecks and allow work to flow.

Recruitment

One way to deal with this problem is to recruit staff who do have those skills. Once you have performed your skills gap analysis and you know where you need to fill gaps, you can target the people you need. In our post, Solving Your Business’ Tech Skills Gaps, you can read more on why this may be the right option for you, or why you may want to recruit alongside other options too.

Training programs

As well as recruiting new staff to deal with your skills gaps, arranging training programs will help you to sort out your skills gaps. Training your existing staff, and any new recruits, will empower your workforce and make them able to work across various areas of your business. This gets rid of bottlenecks and makes your employees more flexible and adaptable to changes.

How Comurce can help

So, how does Comurce help you to identify your skills gaps? Simply put Comurce helps you to plan more effectively and to build a better workforce plan. With organisation at the heart of what we do, you will be able to forecast your skills gaps ahead of them occurring and causing you problems. Comurce will help you to understand the supply and demand of skills and to perform a skills based assessment. With these tools you can stay one step ahead of skills gaps and you’ll know what to do to fill the gaps in your talent before it creates issues for your business.

Plainly put, a skills gap is the difference between the skills you have and the skills you need. Though it might sound simple, understanding your skills gaps and identifying them, then knowing how to solve this problem, can be far from easy.

Where to find your skills gaps

The skills gaps in your workforce can be across the breadth of your employees, or it can be found in individuals, or both. Your employees may have their own particular skills, and you may be lacking in workers who have certain skills your company needs, or it could be that individuals don’t have the range of skills that allows them to complete tasks. To evaluate the situation regarding the skills gap in your organisation, it’s important you perform a skills gap analysis.

Organisational skills gaps

The workplace is constantly evolving and keeping up with changes can be a challenge. As the shape and face of your business alters you may find you need to expand a job role to include additional skills, or to improve your efficiency you need to combine two roles into one. This creates problems if your employees don’t have the skills required to take on this work. You could employ someone new, but it might be easier and less costly to offer training programs to your staff in new skills. Even better, create a workforce who are proficient in skills across the board so they can adapt to changes quickly and easily.

Soft skills vs hard skills

If you think you’ll only have a gap in hard skills, think again. Soft skills can be equally difficult to cover, especially when it comes to new hires. In our blog, Top 5 Skills Gaps in the Workforce, you’ll find there’s an equal mix of soft skills and hard skills that need to be maintained, and that both areas are equally vital to your business. So, it isn’t only about technical skills, that’s true, but it’s often the case that these are the skills a company, or its individuals, is lacking in most. Be smart and make sure you are covering all areas of skills needed.

Why is the skills gap such a problem?

The rate at which the skills we need is moving is faster than the rate at which we, as a society, are producing workers with those skills. The education system hasn’t quite caught up with this pace yet and so we end up with a gap between what we have and what we need. This is a problem no matter what your business is, but there are ways to deal with this

Clear out your bottleneck

In a chain of process, the lack of skills in any area can create a bottleneck that slows down your production. At Comurce we can help you identify where your bottleneck is and why it has been created, and from there you can pinpoint your organisational skills gaps. We offer ways of empowering your workforce, through tech education and realising the importance of softs skills as well as hard skills.

FAQs

What is a skills gap?

A skills gap is a commonly used term in business to describe t the difference between the skills you have and the skills you need.

How do you identify a skills gap?

To identify a skills gap, you first need to measure the existing skills in your organisation, using various techniques and software. Next, you need to identify the areas where you have a shortage of skills - these are your skills gaps.

How do you conduct a skills gap analysis?

A skills gap analysis is a formal investigation into your skills gap. To do this, you need to:
- List your organisations objectives
- Identify the key skills required to reach these objectives
- Assess your existing workforces' skills
- Compare and analyse the areas you need new skills

How do you create a skills matrix?

A skills matrix is used to assess the skills required for a project and is similar to a skills gap analysis. To create your skills matrix:
- List the skills required to complete the project
- Assess the project team on their skills
- Assess each inndividual's willingness to complete assigned tasks
- Incorporate the information into a table and easily identify areas of weakness

You need to hire highly skilled, top of their game, experienced information technology professionals for your business. It sounds simple enough, but in practise this is proving very difficult for companies up and down the country. So, why is this and what can you do about it?

Identifying skills gaps

What is the tech skills gap? Simply put, the pace at which we as a society, our schools and universities, develop the skills in the areas of computer science and create the IT employees of the future, isn’t keeping up with the fast-paced demand being seen in businesses.

This is creating a gap between what companies need and what potential employees have to offer. Identifying where your skills gaps are is the easy bit, what to do about it may prove more elusive.

Upskilling and reskilling

So, what can you do about this problem? As the demand for these roles is only set to increase you can’t afford to wait around for more young people to arrive out of university ready to fill your needs.

You already have a workforce so why not look to them to solve this problem? If you can upskill and reskill your existing employees you fill the role you need to be filled, you provide training to staff who already want to upskill, and you use loyal experienced employees who are already a part of your team and won’t be so easily lured away.

Recruitment

You are still going to need to recruit from outside of your company for some roles, and in some cases, this is a better option. You may not have the time or the funds for training existing staff, and to allow them to learn on the job can be risky and could slow everyone else down.

But with so many openings across the tech industries and so many companies who are not traditionally involved in tech, you’ll have to attract the right talent to your business, and then keep them there.

Retention

The overwhelming demand for qualified tech employees may make it difficult to keep those staff members once you’ve found them. As the race for hiring talented IT professionals who can fill the skills gap heats up, companies will try to lure away your hard-won employees.

To make a success of filling your skills gaps you need a two-pronged approach. Yes, you do need to keep hiring, but many companies are finding this is a never-ending revolving door, so you also need to reskill and upskill at the same time.

By providing training in software systems and programs to your existing staff you create a backup for if and when your IT professionals are lured away to another company with a tech skills gap.

You can fill those gaps without having to go through the time and expense of hiring all over again. As filling your skills gaps get harder, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, training is the key to retaining a professional and skilful workforce.

Skills gaps are a fact of life in business. As business evolves so do your skills needs and this can feel like a never-ending mountain to climb. Understanding your skills needs and realising that soft skills and hard skills both need to be addressed and maintained can help you stay on top. No matter what your business is, you’ll find the same areas of training needs apply. So, here are our top 5 skills gap examples.

Marketing

No matter how great your product or service is, if you don’t market it right no one is going to care, or even know it exists. You face stiff competition in today’s markets, even if you think your idea is unique, so marketing is a vital part of your business. Learn to see this as fun and get creative with your marketing ideas. The arena of marketing is huge, but the trick is to find your potential customers and sell your product to them effectively. Get this right and you have an invaluable skill.

Leadership and management

Leadership and management can be especially difficult for small businesses and start-ups. You had an idea you are passionate about, but you might not feel like you are a natural leader. Being a good leader and knowing how to manage your team effectively is a skill you need to master if you want to succeed. Hiring managers is a positive step, but you still need to understand leadership for yourself. Get comfortable with this role and understand it so you can find your leadership groove.

Project management

A thriving business knows how to deliver fast and high impact results and to do this you need effective project management. Project management is a more important skill to have right now than ever before, and it’s becoming increasingly vital. To be able to plan and work closely with a team to achieve results is an area of training that can’t be underestimated. Find the project management employees who will execute and control your projects and understand what this role means for your business.

Finance

Finance can be a polarising skill. While some people love number crunching, others steer clear of it with an intense aversion. But finance is one of the most important areas of your business and if you don’t do numbers you need to find an employee who does. Even if you intend to let someone else deal with your profits and cashflow, an understanding of finance is important. Don’t get left behind when it comes to your money, make sure you know what’s going on in your finances.

Tech

Arguably the backbone of modern business, tech has never been so important in the race for success and as it continues to evolve the importance of tech only becomes more immediate. Educating yourself and your employees can transform how you run your business and having tech professionals as part of your team can transform your life. Tech is perhaps the number one example of a skills gap that must be filled.

FAQs

What are the most in-demand soft skills?

According to LinkedIn data, the most in-demand skills in 2019 are:
- Creativity
- Persuasion
- Collaboration
- Adaptability
- Time-Management

What are the most in-demand hard skills?

According to LinkedIn data, the most in-demand skills in 2019 are:
- Cloud Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Analytical Reasoning
- People Management
- UX Design
- Mobile Application Development
- Video Production
- Sales Leadership
- Translation
- Audio Production

How do you fill skills gaps?

To fill a skills gap, you will usually want to start with a skills gap analysis.

Before we break down what makes a Scrum team, let’s define what Scrum actually is.

Scrum is an agile project management framework that can be used for different types of projects, but mainly for software development projects with the ultimate goal of producing new software feature every one to four weeks.

Who uses the Scrum method?

Scrum is broadly used by teams working on software development. In fact, around 70% of software development teams use it according to the 12th Annual State of Agile Report.

However, Scrum is not just limited to the software development industry. Over the years, it has spread through other industries such as marketing. 

What are the Benefits of using the Scrum method?

Teams who have adapted the Scrum method into their regular work flow have experienced better quality of outputs, higher productivity rates, improved satisfaction with stakeholders, better work dynamics, and most importantly, happier employees.

Who is involved in an Agile Scrum Development?

The Scrum method is mainly focused on team roles, ceremonies (also known as events), rules and artifacts.

The Scrum Team

A Scrum team is usually comprised of around seven to nine members, and this team have no specific team leader that would assign tasks to each member or help solve any issues that the team may encounter along the way.

This way, the Scrum team works as one unit to address any issues and solve problems that may arise. Each member of the team is a significant part of a solution and project completion.

Despite not having a specific leader, there are three significant roles in a Scrum team.

The Product Owner

Also known as the project’s stakeholder, the product owner is usually a customer, external or internal. The product owner is the one who communicates the product’s general vision and mission to the team. The product owner is the one who is eventually responsible for managing the product backlog, and the one who accepts the finished increments of work.

The Scrum Master

Despite the mighty name, the role of the Scrum Master is to be a servant leader to the product owner and the development team, as well as the entire organisation. The Scrum Master does not really have any hierarchal power over the entire team but is more of like a facilitator who ensures that the team is sticking to the Scrum method throughout the project. The Scrum Master also helps the team to achieve optimum performance which may include facilitating meetings, removing obstructions, and helping the product owner with the product backlog.

The Development Team

The Development Team are self-organising and are cross-functional, they are well equipped with all the skills needed to make shippable increments at the end of each sprint. Members of this team may have special skills or fortes, but the accountability goes to the team as a whole.

Scrum Ceremonies (Scrum Events)

The Sprint

A sprint is simply a timed period during which specific task is accomplished and is prepared for review. Sprints usually take around two to four weeks long but can also be as short as a week. 

Sprint Planning Meeting

Sprint planning team meetings are also time-bound meetings that will define which product backlog will be done and how the task should be accomplished and achieved.

The Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum is a short meeting that lasts no more than fifteen minutes each day. In this way, it is easier for team members to cover their progress since the last daily scrum quickly and transparently. The daily scrum also covers the plans for the succeeding meeting, and any weak points that may be hindering the team’s progress.

The Sprint Review Meeting

During the Sprint Review meeting, the product owner checks the work done against the pre-defined task, and he will either reject or accept the presented work. This is basically a demonstration meeting for the entire team to showcase the work they have recently completed. The clients would then provide the team feedback to make sure that the delivered products are up to the standards of the business’s need.

The Sprint Retrospective Meeting

The Sprint Retrospective Meeting, also known as the Retro, is the last team meeting in the Sprint. The Retro meeting is done to list down exactly what went well in the project, and what did not go as planned. This is also a meeting held to know exactly what the team can further improve on for the next Sprint.

The Sprint Retrospective Meeting is attended by the Scrum Master and is a highly important chance for the entire team to pay close attention to the overall performance, and also to identify other strategies for further improvement in terms of process.

Getting Started with Scrum

Getting started with Scrum is not at all as complicated as it seems. It is fairly common for individual Scrum teams to use simple tools such as a physical whiteboard with sticky notes, called a Kanban board. One may even start with using a spreadsheet to accomplish any product backlog in each sprint.

Additionally, your team might want to look into a virtual or an online Kanban board, like the tools which Comurce provides.  An online or virtual Scrum board is good for teams of all sizes. It is easily accessible to everyone involved in the project, whether they are in the same workplace or working remotely. Also, a web-based card can contain more detailed information than your regular and trusty sticky notes, as well as carry attachments which can help to further organise the information you put in the Scrum board.

Using an online or a virtual Scrum board allows you to not only track the project’s progress but also analyse your team’s performance with an online board’s time tracking and real-time reporting features. This can make your Sprint Retrospective Meetings more meaningful with the amount of data that you can track and provide.

With Comurce, you get a range of tools suitable for all members of the team – from contributors to senior stakeholders and board level directors. An end-to-end platform enables businesses to scale their transformation faster by empowering them to operationalize, embed and deliver change with agility.

FAQs

What is a Scrum Team?

A scrum team is a small project team that works on a particular 'product'. Together, they follow agile principles in order to deliver projects effectively.

Who uses the Scrum method?

Many software development teams use scrum - around 70% according to studies. However, it is also used for a variety of other projects, such as in marketing or operations.

What are the benefits of using the Scrum method?

Generally, using the scrum method can result in better quality outputs, higher productivity and improved satisfaction with stakeholders.

What is a product owner?

A product owner is a person responsible for communicating the product's vision and mission to the team. They are ultimately responsible for managing the backlog, and acceptance of the finished increments of work.

What is the development team?

The development team carry out the design and build of the project itself. It is usually made of a group of specialists and generalists, who all contribute to various aspects of the project. Ultimately, the team as a whole are responsible for the delivery of the project.

What is a Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master is a facilitator for the development team and product owner, ensuring the requirements are communicated and the scrum methodology is followed throughout.

What is a sprint in agile?

A sprint is a timed period during which specific task is accomplished and is prepared for review. Sprints usually take around two to four weeks long but can also be as short as a week. 

What is a sprint planning meeting?

Sprint planning team meetings are time-bound meetings that will define which product backlog will be done and how the task should be accomplished and achieved.

What is the daily scrum?

The Daily Scrum is a short meeting that lasts no more than fifteen minutes each day. It also covers the plans for the succeeding meeting and any hindrances.

What is a sprint review meeting?

During the Sprint Review meeting, the product owner checks the work done against the pre-defined task, and they will either reject or accept the presented work.

What is a sprint retrospective?

The Sprint Retrospective Meeting is the last team meeting in the Sprint. The Retro meeting is done to list down exactly what went well in the project, and what did not go as planned.

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Phone: +44 (0)20 3890 5583