There are thousands of ways to train and upskill your workforce but doing it in a way that helps both the organization and the individual is a little more complex, particularly for teams in rapidly evolving fields like technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing. With the half-life of perishable skills at barely 2.5 years, teams must constantly learn and upskill to be productive, competitive, and happy.
The question becomes: Is it possible to create better learning outcomes for your people that; close their unique skill gaps, can be linked to desires and career pathways, and can be measured and data-driven?
To create highly productive learning, it needs to be agile and measured; this is where skills management comes in.
Looking at learning through the lens of skills
Every person has unique skills DNA, so why do we force them into training that might be too broad, untargeted, or not fit for purpose? It leads to worse training experiences for the individual and also a lower ROI on your overall L&D investment.
Taking a skills lens to your learning experiences is about going deeper than the job or role. Instead, you are focusing on the skills that the organization requires from the individual to do the work at hand and that the organization demands from the workforce in the future. But most importantly, you are recognizing the skills each individual has now, needs help with, and is interested in developing throughout their careers.
However, skills can’t sit in isolation. They need to have strong contextual relationships with your organization, its teams, roles, and office locations, and for the purposes of this article, training.
You also require a proven methodology for measuring your people and one that can scale and ultimately create a unified understanding of skill and competency levels.
A skills management platform brings these areas together. To complement existing learning technologies but provide the lens of skills needed to deliver better learning outcomes.
Visualizing and understanding skill gaps
Knowing skill gaps differs from identifying and prioritizing which ones to focus on. This is where good data is essential, as it gives you clear information about where there are strengths and opportunities to upskill staff, allowing L&D managers to create data-driven decisions around what people need to focus on in their learning.
By visualizing your people’s skill gaps, you can better communicate their learning pathways and areas for investment. And how do you get good data? Through good tools and processes.
4 ways skills can be used to support learning interventions
By using skills data to drive learning outcomes and experiences, you enable a greater ability to access the entire talent pool within your organization. Skills management software makes it easier to quickly search your teams and organization for people with specific gaps or strengths. There are four key ways such tools and data can help:
- Online Training & Courses
The appropriate data is much easier to find and select the proper training and courses to upskill your people. Organizations should be able to link individual skill gaps to microlearning opportunities from any online platform like Udemy, Linkedin, Redhat, or internal documentation.
- Mentoring & Coaching
Skills data can help organizations find the right mentors and leaders for others. By understanding an individual’s skill gaps, organizations can match those gaps to someone in the business with the right skill strengths.
- Career Pathing
Employees expect managers and organizations to invest in their long-term Career development. Doing so leads to a win-win situation: where you’re retaining staff while helping them to thrive. You can’t simply look at the skill gaps that exist now but the skill gaps for future roles while providing actionable learning opportunities to reach that goal.
- Learning Content Strategy
As a training or learning manager, discovering the content that needs to be created can be daunting. Through skills management, you can work to align your content strategy to develop fit-for-purpose materials that genuinely close the most critical skill gaps of your teams and organization.
Measuring learning outcomes and ROI
While training staff is essential, it loses much of its value if you aren’t measuring the outcome. It is crucial to understand the days, weeks, and months following training to determine learning outcomes and how competent someone may be.
To best measure the outcome and ROI of training, you should set up a dynamic skills assessment process that looks to re-measure skill levels after an individual has had some time to apply a skill. Organizations can better measure the ROI of training by understanding skill and competency level changes of a given time and relating that back to specific training interventions.
From there, you can better determine what is working and what isn’t and pivot where necessary.
Ultimately, this ensures you create an environment that supports and enriches employees, so they are engaged, learning, and happy, resulting in retention, productivity, and better work overall.
Choosing the right skills management software
There are a few things you need to look for in skills management software to best support training and learning interventions. At a fundamental level, you should consider if the software has a way to:
- Track and manage skills
- Measure skills
- Visualize skills
- Link skill gaps to training
- Re-measure skills in a fast and dynamic way.
Now is the time to get started. Talk to the team and learn more about best practices surrounding your learning and development strategy and how you embed skills management into your decisions.