Give your workers the skills they need to succeed, says Jason Fowler.
Reading time: 3 mins 30 secs
The traditional career path has changed. To remain relevant and appeal to top talent, organisations and their L&D departments have to adapt.
As the more linear approach to careers is being replaced by interest-based and lateral career moves, employers have to break their obsession with specific skills or experience.
Instead, they should start recognising that innate curiosity and well-rounded, diverse, career paths can have a more significant impact, compared to a proven track record in one discipline or skillset.
Going forward, employers looking to establish mutual commitment to perpetual learning will outperform the sector by offering a work environment that is challenging yet nurturing.
In the context of a skills crisis, organisations are going to have to work harder not just on talent recruitment, but on retention too. There needs to be an opportunity for people to use their skills and abilities in a supportive, rewarding, and above all, meaningful environment.
Ultimately, organisations will need to focus on how personal learning and development is offered as a priority.
Digital dexterity takes prominence
Digital transformation is a term that has been circulated for some time now – but continues to mean quite different things to different people.
Previously it was an initiative for organisations looking to gain a competitive edge over their peers, but in today’s landscape, for any progressive company, it has become interwoven into the core foundations of the business.
Forward-thinking L&D teams will shift their training strategy from “what have you done?” to “what could you do?”
As part of this, digital dexterity will become a priority from now on, and the future workplace will require more emphasis on the “mindset persona” – requiring employees to be comfortable with ambiguity, committed to matching the pace of change and to continuously learn.
Forward-thinking L&D teams will recognise the need to break the obsession with experience that many employers have, and will shift their talent and training strategy from “what have you done?” to “what could you do?”.
To sustain competitiveness in a digital age, organisations need to be prepared to build up their workforce by investing and developing their technical skills. It’s important this investment is personal – everyone is different and will require different training.
For instance, the current workforce easily accommodates younger workers for whom working with technology is a second nature, but we need to make sure those who aren’t as accustomed to digital devices also have the opportunity to thrive and are equally engaged in the workplace.
Build rather than buy talent
The clichéd “war for talent” has been with us for years, but the challenge will take a different turn now. Hiring for the skills needed today will prove to be an expensive game. Offering salary premiums for rare skills that are in-demand for relatively short periods of time is unlikely to prove a winning strategy.
Instead, organisations need to make bold decisions to integrate digital dexterity competencies with skill-specific learning programmes.
The programmes that are combined with deliberate, experienced-based role rotations will enable employers to address their talent pipeline challenges and do so in a manner that is sustainable and creates engagement across the organisation.
Putting talent management procedures in place will become paramount. Skills are scarce and competition is fierce, meaning that organisations will need to set training priorities that nurture employees and will see them excel not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of the business.
In fact, findings show that firms are more likely to improve levels of staff retention if they increase their investment in training, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
Invest in today for a better tomorrow
Talent today is better informed than ever before and employers need to be prepared to offer opportunities that stimulate, develop and motivate staff. To continue to thrive, organisations will have to provide staff with a more personalised employee experience such as training on a case-by-case basis.
In turn, this will provide an environment where the employer cares about employee learning and development, creating a platform for individuals to be the very best versions of themselves and contribute at work in a more meaningful and successful manner.
Now, an engaged workforce should be an organisation’s most important asset, and ensuring the workforce has the skills they need to succeed is key to this engagement.
About the author
Jason Fowler is L&D director at Fujitsu UK&I