Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

30/08/2018 — Graeme Smith

Director magazine infographic

Fascinating and thought provoking infographic based on UK data in this months IOD magazine.

From our local perspective I would suggest the order of the business leaders three biggest concerns would be in fact reversed ie for Jersey i) skills shortages, ii) regulatory compliance and iii) the state of the economy.

Based on that, it’s even more critical for Jersey businesses to ensure they are attracting a truly diverse local talent pool, across gender, ethnicity and age.

The latter, however, is often overlooked when discussing diversity, the assumption/ misconception being that i) most choose not to work and/ or ii) they won’t be as productive as their younger colleagues.

Given the demographic ‘timebomb’ however, as a society, we cannot afford to ‘lose’ the skillset and productive capability that those who choose to work later in life may wish to contribute.

To tap into this resource we need to think differently about our working practices and also how we support lifelong training and development.

So, my question to you as a leader is, ‘what are you doing to help ensure that your business is developing a diverse talent pool to meet your future business needs?’

Here at Jersey Business, we have recently introduced flexible working hours, supported Board Apprentice ( and have both team and board gender split broadly 50/50. All of which I do believe has made a real positive difference both practically to the quality of the service we deliver and also in terms of our culture.

On the flip side, if I was to be critical of my own leadership, I believe we can and should do more in lifelong training and development. Whilst we do continue to look to develop our teams skillset (eg digital skills) this tends to be focused on our business needs today rather than the future skills we think we need.

I will finish with a slightly adapted popular phrase ‘You can teach an old dog new tricks’

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