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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Lee

It’s a Skills-Based World: Talent Development Strategy

As the global economy changes and recovers from significant world events, an increased urgency to upskill and reskill has defined the job market. Large corporations such as JP Morgan and Verizon invest millions in their employee development programmes to upskill and reskill their talent internally. Successful human resource strategies must now emphasise skill-based hiring and continuous employee development as the economy demands more highly skilled individuals.

So, why is it essential to invest in talent development?

The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is imminent, according to the World Economic Forum. Tech trends and developments are accelerating at unprecedented speed, demanding digital skills such as data science, data storage technologies, tech support and digital literacy. By 2022, 54% of all employees will require significant upskilling, while a quarter of jobs are at a high risk of automation by 2030, The Brookings Institute reported. With the speed of technological advancements, not upskilling is no longer an option for employees.

Helping your employees gain new skills and knowledge and embedding learning into the overall human resource strategy will also show that your organisation prioritises employees’ development needs, encouraging retention and progression within the company. Corporations such as Amazon has committed $1.2 billion to provide 300,000 employees with access to education and skills training programs through 2025 as part of Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge. Helping employees gain critical skills also develops their career pathway in different areas, grooming your organisation’s next leaders. After all, the best talent is already in your company.

Here are some essential tips for growing your employee development strategy:

Create a Defined Training and Development Plan

Employees want to feel supported in their work. Seeing a clear and realistic path of progression in your company motivates and encourages them to work through challenges in their role and keep upskilling to continue contributing to the company. As commonly practised in larger corporations, having a well-structured employee evaluation plan will provide all parties with clarity and information regarding their developmental goals. This gives the employees clear personalised goals to work towards and a focus for supported action by managers. Having a structured employee development plan is essential for companies of any size to provide goals and feedback to employees and managers.

Support your talent

Everyone wants to work for a company that supports them as an individual, professionally and personally. While most employee development plans are focused on making team members better workers, in some cases, they also grow as individuals through the process. Investing in soft skills such as communication and conflict resolution that are focused on holistic growth. Other company benefits such as sabbaticals, paid family leave, company retreats and mental health support will also help your team feel supported in their lives, which strengthens their bond to the company.

Employee Development Methods

Different approaches should be used to achieve the specific desired goals and areas of development as stated in the employee development plan. Expectations for long term and short-term goals can differ widely, so organisations must have the agility to provide the necessary support tools as part of the plan.

Methods may include:

1. Coaching

  • Coaching from external partners to groom managers and other senior management

  • Improve communication for all parties

2. Mentoring

  • Reverse mentoring

  • Mutual learning and development

  • 360 degrees feedback to gain perspectives from different people

3. Cross-training

  • It helps your team understand different role functions

  • training your staff to work in several different roles or tasks outside their everyday responsibilities.

  • Develop their skills and agility

4. Job shadowing

  • An opportunity to learn from one another

  • Explore different job roles within the organisation

5. Job rotation

  • Enhance career development

  • Prevents job boredom or burnout

6. Training and Development

  • Identify gaps in the future and present capabilities of the company

  • Ensure that employees personally invest (time, money and energy) into their training to increase motivation and commitment

  • Allow employees to decide on the courses they would like to take

  • Make sure that the skills learnt in the training will be utilised in 2-3 weeks

7. Psychometric tests and Assessments

  • Ensure that your employee’s skills are up to date and of standard

With skills-based development, training is often the most common way of upskilling employees.

Steps to Creating an Employee Development Plan:

  1. Get Executive Support

  2. Determine Organisations Goals

  3. Identify Skill Gaps

  4. Examine Departmental and Individual Employee Goals

  5. Define a Development Plan

  6. Monitor and Refine the Plan

Developing your company’s skills and capabilities in the digital age is now compulsory to compete in the current fast-paced world. The digitalisation of work now requires additional training strategies to enhance learning agility, transferability of skills and opportunities to explore adjacent, in-demand skills. An area of skills that is necessary now is digital literacy and transformations. Developing your employee’s skillset will ensure the continued success of your company.


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