Seeking a skilled workforce

I attended an interesting program this morning, a Finance & Insurance Workforce Summit presented by the Workforce Boards of Metropolitan Chicago.

Essentially, the program was an examination of some of the key issues and challenges facing insurance and financial services companies as they look to attract, develop and retain the talent needed to be competitive in the years ahead. I’ll be writing about the session more fully in April’s Industry Focus, and who knows, I may follow up a bit further here on the blog in the next few days.

Among the many serious workforce issues facing employers in this industry segment, I guess the journalist in me was struck by one in particular–the fact that many new hires are unable to write.

“What you have is managers writing e-mails because their employees can’t write,” said one panelist, Leana Flowers, executive vp and director of retail and human resource strategies at Chicago’s ShoreBank. And the issue is one that those managers often find difficult to address, Ms. Flowers said. “It’s sensitive and it’s cultural,” she said.

In an effort to address the problem, ShoreBank has partnered with the City Colleges of Chicago to provide remedial grammar training to employees requiring it.

And, while the computer competence and technical comfort level of Gen Yers entering the workplace is seen as a plus, another panelist, Andy Liakopoulos, senior manager in the Human Capital Group at Deloitte Consulting, noted that many of those under 25s have writing issues as a result of growing up used to the informality of e-mail correspondence and text messaging.

     

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