Transitioning to a digital economy has signaled the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — but there’s a big digital skills gap that’s widening fast.
Companies are finding that the emerging talent who possess the critical digital skills they need are in short supply, but there is something every business can do to thrive in this new digital world – designing a training strategy that invests in the employees they already have by reskilling, upskilling, and building a culture of learning in the workplace, starting at the top.
Employees and employers agree: learning is the answer
The good news is that workers are as invested in acquiring these essential digital skills as their future employers, with Lorman reporting last year that 74% of employees surveyed are eager to pursue training and expand their skills.
So even though recruitment alone may not close the skills gaps that many organizations are facing, taking the time to train current and future employees as an alternative dovetails perfectly with future recruitment efforts.
- Monster’s 2022 Future of Work report showed that 87% of employers were ”struggling to fill positions because of a skills gap.”
- 91% of managers believe that employee learning programs can “help close skills gaps on their teams,” according to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report.
- In 2021, Clear Company reported that 68% of employees felt that training and development is an essential firm policy.
The training strategy you need to evolve
The combination of an existing skills gap with ever-accelerating advances in technology paints a clear picture of the future: Employee training and development programs will become an absolute necessity for organizations to remain agile and competitive. The next generation of training programs must center primarily around time-to-value, i.e., how quickly an employee can complete the journey from the training cycle to role readiness. To achieve this, we must re-examine the assumptions of our current learning models. While the majority of formal schooling is based on information memorization and recall, digital skills require continuous practical application well beyond the initial instruction to be properly adopted. Moreover, as the topics of mental health and cognitive development garner more interest, investment, and research, it is becoming clear that the most effective training is adaptable to the needs of the student as well.
- 59% of Learning and Development professionals named upskilling and reskilling as the top training priority in 2021.
- Responses to the Key Blanchard 2021 Trends Report indicated that learner engagement was the top area of improvement for virtual training last year.
- 91% of employees desire personal and targeted workplace training.
At elev8, we believe in a holistic approach to training, utilizing blended learning techniques and both physical and virtual classrooms to ensure no opportunity is lost when leveling up our clients’ employees. We create interactive learning environments to simulate the real-world use of skills and students can troubleshoot practical obstacles with the support of an instructor. We also recommend ongoing coaching to reinforce specific training objectives in the future.
Creating a foundation for a successful training strategy
Understanding the importance of effective training is one thing, but implementing it is another, and that starts with a firm’s leadership. Company priorities are established from the top down, and in a digitally focused enterprise, executives should already be focused on the need to develop an internal talent pipeline to secure their company’s place in the digital future. Once a culture of learning is established, creating a timeline that balances the resources devoted to training programs against the immediate and future needs of the organization is key. As with any other project, measurable deadlines and goals must be set which creates a map that will guide the reskilling and upskilling of your workforce. It can be valuable at this point to create a skills matrix that charts which individuals already possess the sought-after skills or are capable of stepping into empty roles. Any subsequent training programs can then prioritize those employees whose current expertise would result in the quickest time-to-value from their continuing education. Your employees are likely to fall into one of three groups in this context:
- Those whose roles are growing and require they obtain new skills in order to sustain them.
- Those who will migrate to new roles and need to upgrade their current skills or learn new ones, or
- Those for whom no new role is yet visible but who wish to expand their skill set regardless.
The needs and challenges of each of these categories will be distinct but not without crossover. Define which of your employees fits within each group and tailor their skilling journey accordingly.
Don’t forget your power skills
Alongside the technical skills needed to perform specific roles, the ability to navigate through social situations is also vitally important.
At elev8, we refer to this ability as “power skills”. Power skills are “soft skills” or “human skills” that determine the way we act and interact with others. Power skills related to leadership, teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence, collaboration, active learning, and others are essential to the way we work today and closely tied to a company’s success.
Power skills aren’t just nice to have— they are essential skills for today’s workplace. Developing those power skills will build a strong foundation under your new culture of learning — because it will not only be an investment in your employees’ experiences but also in your organizational objectives., collaboration, active learning, and others are essential to the way we work today and closely tied to a company’s success. Power skills aren’t just nice to have— they are essential skills for today’s workplace.
At elev8, our unique approach follows a five-step process starting with a deep understanding of your digital challenges and business objectives. This enables us to deliver personalized, role-based training programs (teaching both technical and power skills) tailored to your unique business needs.
Get in touch to find out how we can help you create a roadmap for the future prosperity of your organization and the people who make it work.