A quarter of employees slowed down by under-skilled colleagues

Workhuman survey finds 70% of employees work with people whose skill sets do not meet criteria

Close to a quarter of employees say they are slowed down at work when they have to support under-skilled colleagues, according to a new survey.

The findings by Irish human resources software company Workhuman has found 70 per cent of employees say they work with one or more people whose skill sets do not meet the criteria of the role.

While a quarter said they were slowed down by having to provide a lot of support to under-skilled colleagues, one in five (20 per cent) said they have to work harder due to taking on some of their colleagues’ workload.

Meanwhile, 19 per cent of respondents said they do not mind, as they believe colleagues will learn on the job.

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The survey of 1,000 full-time employees in Ireland was commissioned by Workhuman and conducted by Pollfish.

The findings, part of the company’s human workplace index, show that while “significant” skills gaps exist in Ireland, 86 per cent of those surveyed said they aimed to learn at least one new skill this year.

Almost half (48 per cent) believed this would help them to uncover new job opportunities, while 47 per cent were seeking a salary increase or promotion. A further 20 per cent were motivated to learn a new skill because they were planning a career change.

Niamh Graham, senior vice-president of global human experience at WorkHuman, said that the skills shortage is not just a concern for executives.

“Individual contributors are feeling the effects of this as well and are being vocal about their desire to expand their expertise,” she said, noting an “explosion” in new technologies has left employers “playing catch up” to hire individuals skilled in artificial intelligence, ecommerce, information security, data, video communications, user experience, and more.

“Companies need to rethink their hiring, skills, and talent development strategies, and adopting agile HR practices is key. In addition, platforms which give insight to where your talent pool is are now more necessary than ever,” she said.

Looking at work environments, 80 per cent of respondents said their employer was making efforts to foster a positive work culture. Within this, 64 per cent said the company was succeeding, but 36 per cent said they were not.

Some 40 per cent of employees cited appreciation and recognition as the most important factor for positive work culture, while 32 per cent cited open and transparent communication, and 11 per cent said opportunities for growth and development.

WorkHuman noted a “disconnect” between employer intentions and employee experiences. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of employees said their organisation has defined company values. However, 29 per cent of employees said those values do not match the culture they experience day-to-day.

Founded in 1999 and formerly known as Globoforce, Workhuman operates employee reward and incentive schemes for more than six million employees on its platform.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.