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How to accelerate skills development and learning
The skills challenge is something facing all employers. According to research carried out by McKinsey 94% of the workforce “lack the full suite of skills they will require in 2030 to perform their jobs well.”
And this is borne out in our own research, carried out this year in association with global learning programme leaders, Hemsley Fraser, which found that just over half (52%) of employers now say they are under pressure because of skills shortages. All this against a backdrop of the largest number of job vacancies on record.
Mismatch of skills and requirements
What’s behind this mismatch of skills and requirements? Digitisation, automation, AI, changing organisational needs, changing business needs, market forces, not to mention the arrival of Covid-19 on the global stage in 2020, an event that accelerated the pace of change yet further.
All of this continues to have a huge impact on skills. It intensifies the need to have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, which is why reskilling and upskilling are high priority. In fact, according to Donald H. Taylor’s 2021 People and Technology Innovation Survey (PATI) in which over 540 respondents from 50 countries answered the question ‘which HR/L&D issues are you looking to solve with innovative technology?’ reskilling and upskilling came second-highest priority item, topped only by personalized learning. It’s clear that the skills challenge remains a central issue for organisations looking for ways to evolve, survive and thrive in this constantly changing business landscape.
Strategic approach to skills development
Keeping abreast of change requires a proactive, strategic approach to skills development. It requires a culture of continuous, lifelong learning so that employees are encouraged and enabled to invest time in skill building, accessing the resources they need to adapt and be future-ready. Having the right technology means learning journeys can be created according to team or individual needs and resources accessed at the point of need, in the flow of work, anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Reskilling and upskilling are obviously not just concerns for L&D professionals. It’s a company-wide issue that fundamentally affects an organisation’s ability to deliver on its objectives. As such senior business leaders, functional teams and learning professionals work together to deliver the skills strategy aligned and informed by business strategy. What are the business critical skills needed today? What are the emerging skills? Where are the existing gaps in the organisation and what can you predict will be future needs? How can you plug those gaps? What are the learning needs of your employees? How are jobs roles and skills changing?
Develop skills in-houseRather than hiring in skills on a traditional needs basis, most companies now take a strategic, forward-thinking approach to skills development and workforce planning, building up and enhancing the internal talent pool through reskilling and upskilling. According to research by consultancy company McKinsey, it makes sense to reskill employees in 75% of cases.
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