Learning and development of the workforce have been the talk of the town for quite some time. However, the dynamic and spontaneous nature of this component of HR has kept many HR leaders ajar. 2019 was the year when instead of employers, the employees emphasized more on L&D. This has not only created more opportunities for HR to enhance their existing L&D efforts but also has posed a need to identify new ways to fill this demand.
Here’s what has been churning in the skills and training departments of companies:
Employees paving the path for up-skilling
According to a BCG report, 67% of the employees who participated in the survey confirmed that they would jump to grab every opportunity for re-training. On the other hand, only 29% said that they would consider up-skilling or re-training only if they face any major career roadblocks because of the skills gap. Though there’s a 40% increase in the mentions of skills concerning AI, robotics and automation, soft skills still occupy the most crucial part in the requirements section. Docebo, a powerful learner-centric platform, states in its survey that learning and development opportunities at the workplace directly tie-up overall employee happiness.
Technical skills vs soft skills
In contradiction to the popular notion that employees need re-training for technical skills because of AI and automation, most of the organizations are on a hunt for soft skills first. Top executives stated that adaptability, ability to work with teams and time management as non-negotiable soft skills. Compared to the estimates about the need for STEM skills a few years ago, the scenario is now slightly changing. After soft skills, digital skills were ranked as the second most important entrant on the skills chart. Behavioural and creative skills are taking centre stage; it is impossible to navigate the ever-changing landscape without applying a problem-solving approach, critical thinking and creativity. Hence, a strong foundation of soft and digital skills is required to leverage tech and data optimally.
Why re-training is necessary for employees?
A survey conducted by Clutch reported that 73% of the employees believe that employer’s assistance to build skills for smooth job transition or to other roles was one of the crucial factors for them to stay at a company. Employees no longer direct all their education and career growth efforts keeping in mind only one organization. Instead, they are more keen on gaining knowledge and expertise that will help them to navigate across the industry with different companies seamlessly. Hence, employee demand for skills-training is no longer just for career progression with the same organization but also to add more value to themselves so that even outside the company they can take their skills and expertise with them.
Employer’s lagging behind
Rainer Strack, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG, says,‘In the near future, the world will face a global workforce crisis consisting of an overall labor shortage plus a skills mismatch. Every company needs a people strategy and to act on it immediately. There is a huge upskilling challenge ahead of us.’
Organizations have been slow to respond, not just to employee demands for re-training and up-skilling but also in identifying the skills gap.
Gearing up for 2020
The new challenge for organizations is designing new strategic workforce plans that take into account not just re-training but new approaches to recruiting and motivating talent as well. The Docebo estimates state that organizations end up saving up to $70,000 in savings when they regularly conduct training and development sessions for their employees.
A new goal for L&D
To make strategic changes in workforce management plans, one needs to start with examining the intent behind it. Instead of looking at re-training as a way to fill the skills gap, the organizations need to start considering as one of the ways to level up their organizational expertise. Instead of targeting all the L&D efforts to save employee turnover costs, it must be directed towards making the organization more valuable.
Technology can play a crucial role
A conference room with few bored employees is not how re-training looks like anymore. Organizations must consider leveraging technology in every possible way for re-training. Whether it’s incorporating self-study modules or giving access to connect with overseas employees to broaden their scope of horizon technology not only makes L&D agile, it also broadens the learning scope.
Continuous approach than interval modules
There were times when L&D was a one-time thing. As organizations and markets became more complex, the frequency of L&D efforts increased. Instead of a one-time teach-all approach, organizations started scheduling re-training and up-skilling programs at regular intervals. However, 2020 will be the year when learning and training will no longer have any time gaps in-between. Instead, these efforts will be an on-going continuous process.
As 2019 was the year when employees realized the importance of re-training and up-skilling, 2020 will be the year for employers to deal with this demand and also to harness this opportunity as a competitive advantage.