In the current context of talent shortage, improving skills is a critical advantage in the workplace

Some companies are already making great strides in creating in-house lifelong learning programs that develop in-house talent.

As we remain in the grip of a pandemic, talent issues, including recruitment and retention, skills development, capacity and availability, have become a threat to the global economic outlook. In fact, recent data shows there were more job openings in the United States this spring than before the pandemic hit in March 2020, as well as fewer people in the workforce, which says the millions of workers displaced during the pandemic are still standing on the sidelines. labor market lines.

In addition to the talent shortage, employers continue to realize a skills gap among their current employees and new hires, especially in today’s hybrid environment focused on digital processes. Even before the pandemic, business leaders were voicing concerns about threats to their businesses due to the growing global skills shortage. PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey found that the number of CEOs who expressed concern was already high, averaging 79% in 2019.

Related: The War for Talent: How Employers Can Use ‘Rightskilling’ to Grow and Thrive

As employers remain hampered by skills gaps in their workforce and seek to attract and retain talent capable of achieving business goals, skills upgrading should be a priority. core of talent management strategies. Once new hires are made, companies need to help workers quickly climb the learning curve so they can develop the skills they need in their jobs, now and in the future, and fill in the gaps in the skills gap. talents. More than just a job benefit offered by some employers, development should instead be treated as a core benefit for workers, along with the paid vacation and pension plans offered by each employer.

Professional development and requalification in the digital age

We have recently seen an increase in the number of companies moving from role-based recruiting to competency-based recruiting. Improving skills is an essential part of this change and is more than just learning. It is a change of mentality within the organization. It’s about preparing employees for a technology-driven future and figuring out what skills are needed now and moving forward.

This in no way suggests that every employee will occupy a technology-driven role. Nonetheless, he reiterates that in order to thrive in the future of work, we must understand the implications of technology on an organization’s business function. To many, it seems so far removed from the jobs they do. But few of us, if any, will avoid using technology, even if it’s just a matter of logging in to work or taking customer orders.

Upgrading skills and retraining can help make employees relevant for the future. Both are an extension of Learning and Development (L&D) and will likely require partnering with professional bodies or learning institutions to understand what can and should be offered to current employees and new hires.

To begin with, organizations should engage with their employees in regular pulse checks. This allows leaders to see the skills employees hope to acquire, what they think about their career development, and learning policies (v. These pulse checks also give organizations insight into potential employee flight risks. and how best to retain their current talents.

Lifelong learning benefits businesses and employees

The digital world has prompted an increased commitment from the leadership teams of many companies to focus on the workforce, including well-being, career development and the investment in the learning necessary for employees to excellent. Establishing a culture of learning is key to the future success of the business, which is why the management team, from top to bottom, must be a supporter of continuous learning. A good first step in embedding learning into a company’s culture is to ensure that every function within a company has a dedicated training manager who reinforces skills improvement as a top priority.

Other ways to promote a learning culture include investing in individual and volume training courses, integrating training into continuous performance management goals, encouraging organizations to invest in programs mentoring and the assignment of journeypersons.

Lifelong learning should be available to all, ideally as a condition of employment, but at least as an optional benefit. Learning Management Systems (LMS) and / or Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) will play a critical role in this regard, and today’s potential new hires will seek these benefits from potential employers. .

Learning systems should provide single access to all learning resources, from mandatory training to applications, where possible and appropriate to align with organizational needs. The “Learning in the Flow of Work” model appears to operate under a seamless interface with a company’s day-to-day tools and the complete learning system. At Alight, we are currently working with our IT department to ensure that Microsoft Teams has the ability to be integrated with Alight Academy, our internal learning system. This will allow a manager and an employee to discuss, in real time, skills gaps and the best way forward.

The definition of learning and development in an organization should also be reviewed. Too often learning and development focuses on job-related skills and neglects the person, which can create broader problems. Self-management, communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as continuous alignment with the overall business strategy of the company, are also required to achieve the best results for the future of work. Without these, a less visible skills gap is created.

Some companies are already making great strides in creating in-house lifelong learning programs that develop in-house talent. From low-paying agents to high-paying boardroom leaders, this type of program approach puts no limits on the height anyone can achieve in an organization. This opportunity for growth is a significant benefit and often seen as much better compensation than small pay increases for many as it can lead to much higher positions within the organization.

For the employer, apprenticeship programs minimize the acquisition cost of employees. It also allows the best people to educate themselves and develop the necessary evolutionary skills as the world becomes more automated and standardized.

Development opportunities will continue to be a critical factor in attracting new talent and retaining current employees in today’s professional landscape. As job opportunities remain vacant and the workforce battles a skills gap, skills development will be critical as businesses recover from the pandemic and ensure talent is well equipped to do their job. Organizations must establish a learning culture that promotes, supports and encourages its employees to continue to learn, adopt new skills, and invest in their own professional growth and futures. The companies that do so will reap the rewards of a loyal, engaged and productive workforce.

Neha Trivedi, MA, CPTM, is director of the global talent development team focused on learning from all colleagues at Alight Solutions.

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