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The power of employee skills development in 2022


Internal skills development looks set to be key to business success this year. But how can HR go about this? Read on to find out...

 

For 2022 and beyond, having the right skills and talent within your business is crucial to organisational success. Data from the Association of Talent Development (ATD) found that companies that offer comprehensive skills development have a staggering 218% higher income per employee versus those who do not. In the current volatile trading conditions, this could be the difference between success and failure. Despite the benefits that this could bring to businesses, recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data found that around one in four workers are expecting to change employers within the next 12 months due to a lack of L&D opportunities. In addition, 70% of the respondents to the survey indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay or go, intensifying the already acute talent woes brought about by the so-called ‘Great Resignation’.

One key element of HR’s remit that may well prove to be the most effective tool in combatting this mass exodus of key talent – and is something that employees are increasingly asking for – is investment in skills and L&D. This can be seen more acutely when it comes to attracting certain demographics of workers who appear to be more demanding for these types of opportunities. For example, Middlesex University research found that 87% of Millennials cited access to professional development opportunities as being ‘very important’ to their decision of whether to stay or go. Additionally, according to LinkedIn’s The Skills Advantage Report, the vast majority of employees are heavily invested in improving their own knowledge and skills, with 91% noting that they believe it’s important for managers to inspire learning within their teams.

As a result, the above data evidences that, even organisations currently struggling with employee turnover and other pain points amid the ‘Great Resignation’, can actively use skills-based planning to help their people and business thrive. In this piece, we aim to take a deeper look at how managing employee skillsets can be a key advantage to businesses in 2022 and beyond. Below you’ll find analysis of data from 3.4million Glint employee engagement surveys, as well as LinkedIn behavioral survey information.

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen
a seismic shift in the global workplace”

Skills are critical for business success

Offering comprehensive skills and training development will be pivotal in the coming year. LinkedIn Talent Solutions Senior Director, Amy Borsetti, recently wrote in a column for publication Chief Learning Officer: “Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the global workplace. Companies are still rethinking their working models, cultures and values. A big part of this evaluation is a renewed focus on upskilling and reskilling as they work to retain talent, as well as a shift to skills-based recruiting.”

Yet, it seems that many businesses are struggling to truly take advantage of the benefits that focusing on skills development can bring, and what’s more, many aren’t looking inward to see what capabilities they already have. In fact, The Institute for Corporate Productivity’s latest research found that only 12% of leaders consider upskilling or reskilling efforts in their organisation to be effective. Added to which, just 15% indicated that their organisations are highly effective at analysing the gap between current workforce capabilities and future business requirements. The report noted: “Not only do most organisations not know the skills and capabilities within their workforces today, but they also have a lack of knowledge on what is needed in the next one to three years.”

At the same time, the study found that high-performing organisations with robust L&D offerings – participants that had better revenue growth, profit, market share, and customer satisfaction than their competition – were two times more likely than low-performing counterparts to say their workforces are ready for the future.

 
 

Employees also want to stretch their skills

Whilst the global jobs market continues to wrestle with an acute talent shortage, workers are clear about their intention to make use of their own capabilities, regardless of whether this is within their current organisation or not. Insights in published in LinkedIn’s The Skills Advantage Report revealed that almost a quarter of employees are not confident that their skills are being put to good use in current roles, something which could tempt many into looking elsewhere. In fact, employees who feel their skills are not delivering value are ten times more likely to be job hunting, compared to those who do feel their skills are effective.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that Glint data on employee engagement and company culture shows the top driver for an exceptional work environment is now “opportunities to learn and grow.” And the right culture matters more than ever too. Compared to peers at organisations without highly-rated culture, employees who rated their culture highly are 31% more likely to recommend working for their organisation, and 25% more likely to report being happy working for their organisation – follow-on benefits that could hugely help employers.

“Not only do most organisations not know the skills and capabilities within their workforces today, but they also have a lack of knowledge on what is needed”

HR’s voice

All of this means that HR needs to have a bigger voice in strategic conversations to get L&D on the agenda. Insight from industry expert Josh Bersin makes the point that learning cultures start with alignment between HR and the executive team. Once that happens, he explained, innovation in the form of “talent mobility and job mobility and growth become much easier to implement”.

Numbers speak louder than words, and many HR leaders are working more closely with people analytics functions to measure impact of initiatives and paint clear pictures with data. They’re also reaching for technology that can deliver skills-development insights. To build skills and maximise engagement, The Skills Advantage Report recommends focusing on learner experiences that are personalised, interactive, social, accessible, and inclusive. Three important ways to meet the expectations of today’s learners, it said, include making sure content is accessible to different learning styles, abilities, and preferences; being transparent about skill-building programmes to help people navigate and take full advantage of their own learning journey; and connecting skills across talent acquisition and talent development to support internal-mobility opportunities.

These are extraordinary times in the world of work. Organisations that prioritise learning are poised to survive and thrive in two key ways – with an engaged and energised workforce, and with always-growing skills to outpace the competition. At the same time, many HR teams are just starting down this path – as evidenced by data published above, which shows that many are still struggling. They’re teeing up the business case for skills-based planning while also pondering how to break down momentous challenges into smaller steps.

For data and advice to guide this journey, download the full Skills Advantage report.

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