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Why Skills Development Is Important

Employee development is a strategic and vital tool for an organization’s growth, productivity, and retention. If neglected, attempts at engagement and development will be difficult, and employees will feel frustrated and undervalued – and in turn look for new job opportunities. The Achievers Workforce Institute found that 52% of workers are on the job hunt. 

As the world rapidly changes, employees need to be skilled enough to adapt to those changes. What skills were relevant just a few years ago may not be the most relevant now, so it’s important to hire the right candidates while also training and developing your existing employees.

Here are some added benefits to developing employees:

Employees can see their career growth. Dead-end jobs and feeling undervalued are two reasons employees are sure to leave. When the organization doesn’t believe in the worker, why should the worker believe in the organization?  When employees feel valued and can see their future growing with the company, they’re more likely to have improved performance, a better attitude, higher engagement, but most importantly, they’re more willing to stay.

You can close skill gaps. The rapid changes happening across industries mean constantly adapting to change. Training your employees will help everyone overcome skill gaps while seeing better results from existing employees.

Your organization saves money and resources. The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. That cost keeps going up the higher the employee is in the organizational hierarchy. By using skills development to retain employees, there’s less turnover, and less money spent on recruiting and filling jobs.

On top of that, when employees feel valued, their effort increases, and that can positively affect an organization’s profitability! Succession planning is stronger. It’s inevitable that people will leave an organization, so you need to be prepared by implementing a succession plan. Succession planning identifies long-term needs and lays out a plan for internal talent to meet those needs. By preparing employees for new roles, they will feel encouraged to remain and grow with the company.

There’s an edge over the competition. Having an effective training and development program empowers your existing workforce and builds a culture of learning. Since 76% of employees say that a company would be more appealing if it offered additional skills training to its staff, it’s clear development is key to attracting quality talent.

Creating an Effective, Role-Specific Skills Development Program

As L&D professionals, having a skills-based training program is ideal, but you may think you don’t have the time to devote to it or perhaps you don’t know where to start. Starting from scratch would be a lot of manual work to create a personalized, role-specific training curriculum for each individual employee. Mapping the skills needed for specific job roles, mapping those skills to training content, and then determining your current workforce’s skill gaps would be a massive undertaking.

Job skills are rapidly evolving. For example, the hard skills that were needed to work on a manufacturing floor a few years ago may not be what skills are needed now as automation has made the industry rapidly adapt. By the time you’ve updated your skills yourselves, it would be time to start all over again.

You’ll want to focus on personalized training. Through personalized training, employees can learn the skills and knowledge they need for their journey according to their personal career paths. Instead of implementing a run-of-the-mill, one-size-fits-most training plan, personalizing training provides employees with the learning they need, when and how they need it. This helps boost productivity and retention and can make your organization gain competitive edge.

We’ve identified steps to get your organization started on its way to building out personalized skills development to drive individual growth and company-wide success. 

Starting a Role-Specific Development Plan

A great place to start is with a skills gap analysis that helps figure out where you need to upskill or reskill employees. This analysis helps determine not only what skills are missing but also which employees or job roles need training first. This helps align the training you select to organizational goals and keep all training efforts streamlined.

Once that’s completed, you can begin to look at individual roles and the skills needed in those roles, which helps standardize job roles in your organization. Learners can master their craft more quickly and keep productivity high!

Building this employee development plan involves a few steps.

  1. Identify your organization’s specific job roles and descriptions for each role.
  2. Determine the skills needed for those job roles.
  3. Select the training content needed to improve each skill.
  4. Have each employee and their manager rate skill competency.

Standardizing Job Roles

For a variety of reasons, job titles may be inconsistent across an organization or even fail to accurately reflect what each job role does. Sometimes organizations create new, fun job titles. Sometimes promotions and new job titles are handed out to retain high performing individuals, which then makes them more marketable, and they end up leaving for another company. Also, sometimes job titles remain the same after mergers or acquisitions, even if the employee’s responsibilities have changed significantly, because it’s easier or just isn’t a priority.

Whatever the reason, the use of consistent job titles results in a few benefits:

  • They clarify what someone’s role in the organization is because it clearly communicates what type of work someone does
  • They help define career paths within an organization because employees can see what kind of career opportunities are available to them

Defining all the job roles in your organization can seem daunting, so here are a few suggestions of how to get the most comprehensive and complete look at roles and titles across the board:

  1. Ask your employees to list out job duties within their assigned roles
  2. Look at similar job postings online and see if they align well to your job roles
  3. Research through the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for job descriptions

Determining Skills

Each job role has skills that are essential for success in the role. It’s important to determine these skills to help with career pathing, employee development, and more. Without determining the skills needed for each job role, it will be impossible to help employees learn the skills needed to grow into new roles.

For example, all retail workers need to have excellent customer service skills, while managers and store leaders would need to have business acumen and analytical thinking skills to make sure teams are performing well, staffed appropriately, and staying on budget.

Selecting which content is going to help employees learn the skills they need to succeed is the next step. After defining the skills needed, content that best meets those skills can be selected. This can help with building career paths and learning initiatives.

Choosing the right content for your organization’s skill development plan can be a stressful process because there are many ways to train and develop employees:

  • Microlearning
  • Coaching
  • Mentorships
  • Cross-training
  • Job shadowing
  • On-the-job training
  • Augmented reality
  • Classroom training
  • Simulated learning
  • Roleplaying
  • Case studies
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

With so many choices, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process to find what works for your organization. While we’ve talked about blended learning and its viability, we’re going to focus on delivering training online.

When focusing on online training, there are two options. You can either use an off-the-shelf training content provider, such as BizLibrary, or create custom content needed in house.

The biggest advantage of custom content is that you get exactly what you want because you’ve made it from beginning to end.  It fits your needs perfectly! However, the reality is there’s never enough time or resources available to build out all the content you will need for your program.  

Off-the-shelf content is often far less expensive when you add up all the costs associated with building your own. It’s ready to use upon licensing for a simple transition into training, and it requires much less from internal teams to bring to fruition. For many providers, it’s not customizable, but with BizLibrary, you have several options for customizing the content to fit your branding and preferences.  

How Our Solution Can Help

We’ve released an employee skills-development platform called BizSkills that will make the process of building employees’ job-specific skills more streamlined. It includes job roles pre-mapped to skills (because your time is valuable!), and skills pre-mapped to content, cutting out the need for all the manual work!

With this, L&D teams will be able to quickly scale personalized employee skills training by associating learners with standardized job roles and the content that aligns to the skills needed to perform their specific job role (with the ability to customize anything that doesn’t quite fit). Organizations wishing to deliver more personalized, upskilling content will be able to set up a career path for employees, so they learn the skills they need to complete the jobs they’re doing currently or prepare for the jobs they want to do.

This new platform comes with 5,000+ lessons mapped to 500+ job roles and 1,500+ associated skills. This solution will make it possible for organizations to tackle career pathing, attracting, and retaining talent, closing skill gaps, and succession planning, all with one platform.

If this sounds interesting to you, reach out today to learn how our online employee learning solutions can meet your organization’s specific L&D needs!

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