-minute read

How HR directors can boost employee skill development

As an HR Director, you wear many hats - recruiter, culture builder, strategist, coach. But one of the most vital is being a champion for employee growth: skill guru. Why? Becuase outdated capabilities quickly become liabilities. So, just progressive HR leaders recognize their imperative to get ahead of change by actively upskilling the workforce.

In this article, we’ll explore why continuous learning is now essential, how to analyze role-based skills gaps, effective forms of employee development from microlearning to reskilling, and impactful talent development strategies tailored to your organization.

By investing in workforce skills alignment, you amplify the capability, motivation and competitiveness of your people. This agility and expertise become true differentiators in turbulent times. The future favors the nimble - let’s explore how to uplift your people.

Upskilling to drive tangible results

The formula for organizational growth is not investing in technology or infrastructure. Now, the success is in investing in people. 

For example, if a company wants to increase productivity, the best strategy is to implement coaching in areas such as time management, prioritization, and technological proficiency, because these skills will result in streamlined workflows, sharper focus, and new tech-enabled processes that amplify individual and team output.

Airbnb used this technique to create Data University, an initiative that addresses the need to ensure their employees have a grasp of data literacy by training talent in-house rather than constantly relying on outsourcing or hiring new staff to close the knowledge gap. The Data University curates its own data science team to assist the company in making data-driven decisions.

What about "thinking outside the box"? Everyone has heard this phrase in organizations, and it is your responsibility as HR Director to make it a reality by leveraging agile problem-solving techniques within each department, allowing them to develop innovative solutions that propel the business forward in a disruptive marketplace. This agility and resilience are competitive advantages. Spotify restructured teams to allow for cross-functional collaboration while also investing in existing internal talent. Providing them with a better structure to support creative outputs, such as appointing captains among the team's marketing executives.

Spotify has transformed itself into a "contributor and shaper of youth culture" as a result of the restructuring. And the brand is now launching nearly weekly initiatives in ten key markets, cementing its position at the forefront of the marketplace.

On the other hand, employees who feel stagnant and undervalued, on the other hand, are more likely to leave for better opportunities. Compelling development programs demonstrate a company's commitment to talent. Employees repay their investment through increased discretionary effort, engagement, and loyalty.

In this way, the benefits of developing your employees go far beyond engagement surveys. True competitive advantage comes from empowered teams that believe in the organization and invest their growing skills back into it.

Skill development stats

Recent studies and industry reports highlight the importance of employee skill development in today's competitive business environment. In terms of increased competitiveness, a McKinsey & Company survey found that hiring for skills is 5 times more predictive of job performance than hiring for education. 

Meanwhile, Research by Deloitte indicates that 77% of business executives agree their organization should help their workers become more employable with relevant skills, but only 5% strongly agree they are investing enough in helping people learn new skills to keep up with the changing world of work.

About talent retention,  LinkedIn's Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Retaining top talent is often directly linked to skill development opportunities; and a Gallup study shows that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

Thinking about the future, The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report predicts that by 2025, the time spent on tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal. To stay relevant, employees must continuously acquire new skills.

Types of employee training and development

Employee training and development come in various forms, each suited to different learning styles and objectives. Here are some common types:

  • On-the-job training: This involves learning by doing. Employees acquire new skills while performing their daily tasks, often with guidance from mentors or experienced colleagues.

  • Workshops and seminars: These are short, intensive sessions focusing on specific skills or topics. They can be conducted in-house or externally.

  • E-learning and online courses: With the advent of technology, e-learning has become increasingly popular. Employees can access courses and modules at their own pace, making it convenient and cost-effective.

  • Mentorship programs: Pairing experienced employees with those looking to develop specific skills can be highly effective. Mentors provide guidance, support, and real-world insights.

  • Certifications and degrees: Some skills require formal education and certification. Companies may sponsor employees to pursue relevant degrees or certifications.

Crafting your employee development strategy

Determine the most important skills

  1. Align with business goals: Start by aligning skill development with your company's strategic objectives. Identify the skills that directly contribute to achieving these goals.

  1. Consult with department heads: Engage with department heads to understand the specific skill gaps within their teams. Their insights are invaluable in shaping the skill development roadmap.

  1. Analyze industry trends: Keep an eye on industry trends and changes. Skills that are in high demand within your sector should be a priority.

  1. Employee surveys: Conduct surveys to gather feedback from employees regarding their skill development needs and aspirations. This will help you tailor programs to their requirements.

Establish your skill development strategy

  1. Create a skills inventory: Maintain a comprehensive record of all employees' skills and competencies. This will help identify skill gaps and potential areas for development.

  1. Tailored training plans: Develop individualized training plans for employees based on their current skills and career aspirations. Ensure that the plans align with organizational goals.

  1. Continuous learning culture: Promote a culture of continuous learning and development. Encourage employees to take ownership of their skill development journey.

  1. Regular feedback and evaluation: Provide constructive feedback on employees' progress and offer opportunities for improvement. Regular evaluations help track the effectiveness of skill development programs.

  1. Leverage technology: Consider using platforms like Adepti to streamline and enhance your skill development initiatives. Adepti offers a comprehensive skill-mapping platform designed to assist companies and employees in navigating their growth paths and internal mobility.

In conclusion, HR Directors hold the key to unlocking the full potential of their organizations by prioritizing employee skill development. By understanding the benefits, determining the most important skills, exploring various training methods, and implementing effective strategies, you can foster a culture of continuous learning that contributes to your company's growth and success.

Ready to take the next step in boosting your company's skill development efforts? Schedule a demo of the Adepti platform today and discover how it can empower your organization to thrive in the ever-changing business landscape.

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Emile Cornelissen

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