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Bridging the skills gap: Why personalized learning saves you time, money … and people.

Employers are always looking for skilled workers but cite a significant skills gap in the talent pool available to them, particularly when it comes to IT skills. According to the Harvard Business Review, 35% of 38,000 employers reported difficulty filling job vacancies due to lack of available talent.

Once hired, many employees commonly report that they have been given insufficient training to handle a constantly shifting workplace landscape. In fact, a mere 21% of respondents from an Accenture survey said that they had acquired new skills from formal training. Digital IQ has become an essential aspect of workplace learning, and potential employees want assurances that employers will not only provide them with engaging roles, but that they will invest in a culture of continuing development to support their personal career ambitions.

Ultimately, the world of work is currently facing a skills gap that is hampering performance in companies across the globe.

What is the skills gap?

The term “skills gap” has become common parlance in the world of human resources, but what exactly does it mean? A skills gap is the perceived difference between the skills needed by employers and the skills current job seekers/employees have.

The theory is that job applicants are unprepared for the working world because of a shortage of practical skills necessary for success as a working professional.

Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, explains: 

The broadest and perhaps most general complaint about skills has been the skill gap idea, that there is some systematic shortfall in skills, broadly defined, across entire age cohorts of the population. Typically, the argument is that the decline is associated with the poor skills of school leavers, and the explanation for that shortfall is usually that schools have failed so that academic performance of students has declined.

People analytics and baseline skills

Michelle Weise explains that research has identified a demand by employers for baseline skills: “These baselines skills tended to cluster into six main competencies: (1) presentation and persuasion; (2) customer service; (3) attention to detail and time management; (4) positive disposition; (5) project management, research, and strategy; and (6) supervisory skills.”

Companies need a way of evaluating the skills they need by getting a snapshot of the hard and soft skills current and future employees have. Weise says that “better people analytics – and better ways of visualizing and interacting with that data – will not only help managers and recruiters do a better job of matching people with jobs but will also help each of us develop a more accurate picture of our strengths and weaknesses.” 

So, an accurate picture of strengths of weaknesses is not only important in a job search, it is critical for effective training once the person is hired.

Learning for success in the workplace

In the past, employers hired candidates with more general skills, and then provided training and development over the course of a career depending on what skills were needed. The training landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, largely due to the speed at which technology renders new training courses necessary and others obsolete. Employers are experiencing difficulty keeping up with the training demands of their staff.

As James Bessen explains in an article written for the Harvard Business Review, “new technologies frequently require specific new skills that schools don’t teach and that labor markets don’t supply. Since information technologies have radically changed much work over the last couple of decades, employers have had persistent difficulty finding workers who can make the most of these new technologies.”

New technologies have revolutionized the workspace by vastly increasing the need for an adaptable and fluid set of skills. Individuals must prepare themselves to produce in cross-functional teams, taking on more complex levels of work that require a higher level of digital literacy.

Organizations must invest heavily in training and development to avoid time wasted ramping up skills and performance. Similarly, an effective workplace learning program will reduce employee turnover and helps you to retain a more talented workforce while creating a culture of engagement and stability.

Personalized learning – The right training at the right time

Now it is more important than ever to provide personalized workplace learning, enabling organizations to identify knowledge gaps and to provide measurable steps towards mastery of critical, role-specific skills. Top-quality training will save companies money by reducing the high rate of employee turnover. In addition, limited in-house skill sets will lead to costly outsourcing expenses which can be saved by investing in your current staff.

Here are just some of the benefits of investing in targeted learning programs for critical skill gaps:

Improved performance 

Empower your people to succeed by achieving their professional goals and career ambitions. See real results!

A skilled workforce 

Personalized learning allows employees to apply their training in practical, in-role situations immediately, leading to a more skilled workforce and a better ROI for your training program.

Motivated employees 

Employees who feel valued for their employer perform better and see themselves as an important part of a whole rather than a cog in a machine.

Less employee turnover

Staff turnover makes employers less inclined to invest in their workforce, but the opposite is also true. Investing in the future of employees by providing practical training encourages them to have a greater commitment to the company.

Development of a learning culture

Encourage employees to invest in themselves and you will develop a culture of learning and growth that allows employees to align themselves more closely with the goals of the company.

SureSkills offers competency-based assessments that allow employers and employees to identify skills gaps for specific jobs.Modular content enables the learner to get the most out of their workplace training and to apply the new skills learned immediately. SureSkills leverages new technologies to help employers get the most up-to-date training and it uses data analytics to demonstrate ROI.

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