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You Need to Address Skills Gaps Before It’s Too Late. Here’s How.



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Does your workforce have the skills necessary to be successful today? How about 10 years from now? Many companies reluctantly admit “no” — some don’t even know the answer.

Amid the Great Resignation and global talent shortages today, companies also grapple with “the skills gap,” a fundamental mismatch between the skills their employees have and what’s actually needed to perform their jobs well. What’s more, the skill sets that employees require don’t stay static — a reflection of the dynamic business landscape, the breakneck pace of change, the automation of previously manual tasks and more. So, many organizations face a skills gap not just now, but in the future as well.

Consider these telling statistics:

  • 58% of the workforce needs new skills to get their jobs done, according to Gartner.
  • Nearly half of learning and development leaders (46%) say the skills gap is widening at their organizations this year — up four points from 2021 data, per LinkedIn.
  • More than 85 million jobs globally could go unfilled by 2030, without enough skilled people to take them, according to consultancy Korn Ferry — resulting in an $8.5 trillion loss from unrealized annual revenues.

Beyond the sucker punch to the bottom line, an unchecked skills gap breeds other negative consequences:

  • A loss in productivity and efficiency.
  • Lack of agility and innovation. In information technology (IT), in particular, executives cite talent shortages as the biggest barrier to the adoption of 64% of emerging technologies, per Gartner.
  • Attrition. LinkedIn shares that employees who feel their skills are not being put to good use are 10 times more likely to seek new employment. This discontentment often ripples across the organization, in a “domino effect.”

It’s clear the skills gap presents short-term and long-term problems that can’t be ignored. In my role as CEO of an e-learning company, organizations frequently ask me about the skills gap and how to address it, both now and in the future.

Related: Closing the Learning Gap May Solve the Skills Gap

1. Identify the skills you need over the short- and long-term

Consider the roles you need to fill now, but also look into the future: Over the next five to 10 years, what roles will be crucial and propel your organization ahead while aligning with your investments and strategic direction? Importantly, define the specific skill sets associated with each role so you can develop and hire the right talent.

How can you conduct this research? Surveys and needs assessments among employees and leaders provide valuable information. But don’t stop there. You can also tap focus groups, look at your competitors and industry, and engage industry analysts for valuable insights.

2. Conduct a current skills assessment

For example, at my company, CYPHER LEARNING, HR leads the charge in periodically taking stock of skills across our employee base. This is a useful exercise; you may find individuals with untapped skills, such as a marketer who also has design expertise they can build on.

By comparing the skills your employees have with what they need, you can create or procure training — such as on sales messaging, product details, technology tools, leadership attributes, etc. — to fill gaps you find. There may also be instances where it makes sense to plug some gaps by hiring.

Related: ‘Upskilling’ Must Improve to Provide the Skilled Workers Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

3. Focus on skills development

However, because it’s typically less costly to retrain a current employee than to hire and onboard a new one (while also waiting for the new hire to hit time-to-productivity), skills development programs can help your current workforce develop and master the skills it needs. And with demands changing in today’s digitally transformed and often hybrid workforce, programs for upskilling, reskilling and right-skilling can help maximize agility and productivity.

Technology today contributes to more meaningful and personalized skills development. For example, working with their managers, employees can set learning goals associated with their current and desired roles. Then, their learning system can provide intelligent, automated recommendations based on those goals, and the skills and competencies tied to them — whether it’s to retake a course, participate in a forum, connect with an expert, watch a video, etc. Machine learning can further personalize the recommendations and learning journey, based on the individual’s previous experience, skills mastered, interests and more.

Effective skills development contributes to a culture of internal mobility and employee satisfaction and longevity. LinkedIn notes that companies that excel at internal mobility retain employees two times longer than those that don’t!

4. Make learning available and equitable

In many cases, it’s time to dispense with the “gating” of training content. Sure, someone in an IT role likely doesn’t need to see sales training content and a software developer likely won’t need a course on client relations — so you may want to make those role-specific. But for soft skills training, in particular, consider opening up the content so it’s publicly available across the organization. Courses on leadership and communication skills, for example, may be interesting and useful to employees at large in their career progressions.

Making training equitable also means adhering to accessibility guidelines and standards, so your content is inclusive. And be mindful of your audience so examples in your content resonate with them.

Related: 4 Real and Workable Answers to the Skills Gap

5. Develop a learning ecosystem

A learning ecosystem — encompassing people, processes, technology, systems and infrastructure, with online and offline components — contributes to a culture of continuous learning and skills development. Your training content and strategies are also key parts of that ecosystem.

When you have an effective, interconnected learning ecosystem and a positive learning culture, it’s much easier for your organization to deliver training programs on a continuous basis. Learning programs can be agile too, adapted to employee needs and feedback, and responsive to areas for improvement. On-demand e-learning is often an important part of the learning ecosystem: a way to deliver training that can be rolled out (and modified) quickly and easily, consumed at the employee’s convenience and tracked to measure completion, comprehension and mastery.

Addressing skills gaps now and in the future

Once you determine where and why skills gaps exist, it’s time to take action. By incorporating the tips above, your business can close the gap and open opportunities for greater resilience and innovation.

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Layoffs Abound, But These Major Companies Are Still Hiring



This year started off with massive layoffs — from Big Tech to real estate and beyond.

But it’s not all bad news.

Though many industries continue to brace for more job cuts, some of the most well-known companies are still hiring, per Insider.

Related: These Are the 2 Reasons Apple Has Avoided Mass Layoffs So Far

Economists remain optimistic about the 2023 job market, CNBC reported, noting that blue-collar workers may have more job security than white-collar employees. ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak told CNBC that despite headlines about mass layoffs, many companies “are starved for talent and leaving money on the table because they can’t run at full capacity.”

Related: Layoffs Affecting 1,600 Tech Workers a Day on Average in 2023

See Insider’s full list of hiring companies and the number of jobs they’re looking to fill below.

Chipotle: 15,000 jobs

Boeing: 10,000 jobs

United Airlines: 2,500 jobs

Airbus: 13,000 jobs

Alaska Airlines: 3,500 jobs

Bloomberg: 1,000 jobs

Moderna: 2,000 jobs

Palantir Technologies: A few hundred jobs

Binance: 15%-30% workforce increase

Hudson Tunnel Project: 72,000 jobs

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6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month beyond February



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Celebrating Black History Month is a great way to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made throughout history. However, to create a truly equitable workplace and ensure that our employees feel seen, heard and valued daily, it’s essential to recognize Black history as an integral part of American history throughout the year.

Research shows that workplace diversity positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. In other words, creating an environment of inclusivity for all employees isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. An authentic celebration of Black heritage throughout the year can help companies foster understanding and empathy among coworkers from different backgrounds. Such a celebration also allows employees to learn more about their colleagues’ experiences, promoting a deeper sense of community and understanding.

Related: It’s Black History Month. Here’s How to Show Black Employees You Care.

By recognizing Black history all year long, companies can show their employees they care while demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected. Celebrating Black culture is one way to ensure all employees feel included in the workplace, no matter what month it is.

Here are six ways to be a better ally and celebrate Black History Month beyond February:

1. Celebrate authentic Black history and culture

Make sure that all employees have access to accurate and current information about the African-American experience and contributions throughout history. Encourage employees to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields — from science and engineering to art, music and literature.

How to implement it: Provide employees with a list of books, movies and articles by African Americans that tell the stories of African Americans throughout history. As opposed to non-African Americans telling the stories about African Americans (which has been the norm for too long).

Related: Be Intentional About Diversity

2. Plan authentic events

Celebrate Black History Month by planning events that make meaningful connections to the African-American experience. Invite guest speakers to share their unique perspectives on Black success stories and create opportunities for employees to engage in dialogue about important topics such as race, identity and inclusion.

How to implement it: Engage in an open dialogue with employees about the types of events they would like to participate in, such as movie screenings, group discussions and panel talks. Use their input to plan engaging activities focusing on Black culture and history.

Related: Here’s the No. 1 Question White Leaders Ask Me About Black History Month

3. Show authentic support

Show employees that their contributions are seen and valued by celebrating their success throughout the year. From recognition awards to career advancement opportunities, ensure you’re actively engaging with all of your employees so they know their work is appreciated.

How to implement it: Highlight employee achievements in company newsletters and recognize them at team meetings. These small gestures can go a long way in making your workplace more inclusive for everyone!

4. Host educational events

Consider hosting educational events such as lectures, workshops and brown bag lunches that focus on learning more about the roots of Black history in America. Provide professional development resources and opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful conversations around race, culture, and inclusion.

How to implement it: Invite experts in the fields of African American studies or Civil Rights to speak to employees about the history and legacy of Black people in America.

5. Incorporate inclusive resources into training

Include inclusive language, images, historical facts, etc., into all existing workplace diversity curriculums and training materials. Such a universal approach will help employees become more aware of the impact that race, gender and ethnicity have on daily workplace interactions.

How to implement it: Incorporate examples from Black history into existing diversity training materials such as videos, readings, and case studies. Ask employees for feedback about which resources would be most useful for learning more about Black history and culture.

6. Develop authentic mentorship programs

Invest in mentorship programs focusing on developing collaborations between African American employees and their colleagues of other ethnic backgrounds. Establish safe spaces where everyone can share their experiences openly and without judgment.

How to implement it: Create an inclusive environment through team-building exercises, cross-cultural conversations and networking events. Facilitate dialogue among employees of different backgrounds and encourage them to share their insights and ideas.

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to remind everyone of the contributions African Americans have made to our society over the last several hundred years. Yet it’s also important that we recognize these achievements throughout the year in the workplace. By incorporating authentic resources into the workplace, employers can create a more inclusive atmosphere for all employees — no matter what month it is.

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3 Growth Stocks to Buy Now Before They Heat up



The gradual decline in inflation and decelerating wage growth might prompt the Fed to slow the pace of rate hikes this year, which might help growth stocks to stage a recovery. So, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce (CRM), HF Sinclair (DINO), and Box (BOX), which look poised to soar in the near term, might be ideal buys now. Keep reading.

December’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% for the month, in line with the Dow Jones estimate, marking the largest month-over-month decrease since April 2020. Moreover, the Labor Department reported that employers added 223,000 jobs in December 2022, reflecting a slowdown from the pace of job creation seen earlier in the year.

Also, average hourly pay, which had been increasing at an annual rate of 5% in September, fell to 4.6% in the month.

The sky-high inflation and the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes to tame it have affected growth stocks significantly last year. However, the easing inflationary pressures and declining wage growth signals that the Fed’s rate hikes are having their intended effect, which might prompt the Fed to slow its rate hike pace.

The Fed is widely anticipated to deliver a 0.25 bps rate hike in its next meeting, a step back from a 0.50 bps hike last month.

Furthermore, as per Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee, US stocks will surge back toward record highs in 2023 once the Federal Reserve signals that it’ll ease up on its monetary-tightening campaign. Lee also said that he expects the S&P 500 to steadily climb to hit 4,800 points this year.

Given this backdrop, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce, Inc. (CRM), HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO), and Box, Inc. (BOX) might be ideal buys for solid returns this year.

Salesforce, Inc. (CRM)

CRM provides customer relationship management technology that brings companies and customers together worldwide. The company’s service offerings include Sales, Service, Marketing, and Commerce. The company provides its services through direct sales, consulting firms, systems integrators, and other partners.

The company’s forward Price/Book multiple of 2.79 is 32.8% lower than the industry average of 4.15.

During the third quarter that ended October 31, 2022, CRM’s total revenues increased 14.2% year-over-year to $7.84 billion. The company’s gross profit increased 14.5% year-over-year to $5.75 billion, and non-GAAP income from operations increased 30.9% year-over-year to $1.78 billion.

The consensus EPS estimate of $1.36 for the fiscal fourth quarter ending January 2023 indicates a 62.3% improvement year-over-year. The consensus revenue of $8 billion for the same quarter represents a 9.2% year-over-year growth. CRM has an impressive earnings surprise history as it has surpassed the consensus EPS and revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Also, the company’s revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 24.1% and 21.8%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 26.7% over the past month to close the last trading session at $167.97.

CRM’s POWR Ratings reflect its promising outlook. The stock has an overall rating of B, which translates to Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

It has an A grade for Growth and a B for Sentiment. Within the 138-stock Software – Application industry, it is ranked #27.

Beyond the POWR Ratings just highlighted, you can access additional CRM grades for Value, Momentum, Stability, and Quality here.

HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO)

DINO is an independent petroleum refiner that produces and markets high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, renewable diesel, and other specialty products.

Its forward non-GAAP P/E of 3.80x is 53.8% lower than the industry average of 8.23x. Its 0.27 forward non-GAAP PEG multiple is 59.6% lower than the industry average of 0.68.

The company pays $1.20 annually as dividends, which translates to a yield of 2.81% at the current price. Its four-year average dividend yield is 2.99%.

DINO’s sales and other revenues grew 126.2% year-over-year to $10.60 billion for the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its adjusted EBITDA increased 267.9% year-over-year to $1.50 billion. The company’s adjusted net income increased 368.2% year-over-year to $982.90 million, while its adjusted EPS rose 257.8% year-over-year to $4.58.

Street expects DINO’s revenue to increase 106.6% year-over-year to $37.99 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Its EPS is expected to rise 789% year-over-year to $14.96 for the same year. The company has surpassed the consensus revenue estimates in all of the trailing four quarters.

Moreover, the company’s net income and EPS have grown at a CAGR of 39.1% and 33%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 9.7% over the past month and 61.8% over the past year to close the last trading session at $56.90.

It is no surprise that DINO has an overall rating of B, equating to a Buy in our POWR Ratings system.

It has a grade of A for Growth and Momentum and a B for Quality. It is ranked #10 among 93 stocks in the B-rated Energy – Oil & Gas industry.

In addition to the grades stated above, we’ve also rated DINO for Value, Sentiment, and Stability. Get all DINO ratings here.

Box, Inc. (BOX)

BOX provides a cloud content management platform that enables organizations of various sizes to manage and share their content from anywhere on any device.

On January 10, BOX announced that BETC, a global communications, marketing, and advertising agency, have chosen BOX’s secure content management capabilities to power collaboration and accelerate processes around content management.

Sebastien Marotte, President of EMEA at BOX, said, “We’re delighted to support BETC in powering the next generation of creative content for their prestigious clients. We look forward to our continued partnership as BETC continues to expand its use of Box and develop its Content Cloud journey.”

In terms of forward non-GAAP PEG, BOX is currently trading at 1.36x, which is 14.8% lower than the industry average of 1.60x. Its forward Price/Cash flow multiple of 16.32 is 11.2% lower than the industry average of 18.37.

BOX’s revenue increased 11.6% year-over-year to $249.95 million in the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its gross profit rose 15.2% year-over-year to $185.46 million. Also, its EPS came in at $0.03, compared to a loss per share of $0.12 in the year-ago period.

Analysts expect BOX’s revenue to rise 9.9% year-over-year to $256.48 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended January 2023. Its EPS is estimated to grow 42.6% year-over-year to $0.34 in the same quarter.

Its revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 15.1% and 29.1% over the past five years.

The stock has gained 22.4% over the past year to close the last trading session at $31.99. It has gained 10.1% over the past month.

BOX’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. It has an overall B rating, which equates to a Buy in our proprietary rating system.

It also has an A grade for Growth and Quality and a B for Value. BOX is ranked #6 among the 78 stocks in the Technology – Services industry.

Click here for the additional POWR Ratings for Stability, Momentum, and Sentiment for BOX.

Consider This Before Placing Your Next Trade…

We are still in the midst of a bear market.

Yes, some special stocks may go up. But most will tumble as the bear market claws ever lower.

That is why you need to discover the brand new “Stock Trading Plan for 2023” created by 40-year investment veteran Steve Reitmeister. There he explains:

  • Why it’s still a bear market
  • How low stocks will go
  • 9 simple trades to profit on the way down
  • Bonus: 2 trades with 100%+ upside when the bull market returns

You owe it to yourself to watch this timely presentation before placing your next trade.

Stock Trading Plan for 2023 >

CRM shares were trading at $168.63 per share on Wednesday morning, up $0.66 (+0.39%). Year-to-date, CRM has gained 27.18%, versus a 5.98% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Kritika Sarmah

Her interest in risky instruments and passion for writing made Kritika an analyst and financial journalist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in commerce and is currently pursuing the CFA program. With her fundamental approach, she aims to help investors identify untapped investment opportunities.


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