We know that more and more organizations are thinking about skills: becoming ‘skills-first’ and looking beyond an individual’s list of career experiences to a more nuanced understanding of the potential they may have.
We also know that skills gaps are opening up in pretty much every industry, and Bob Mortiz, Global Chairman of PWC, has stated that “upskilling” is the key action businesses need to take to stop the gap widening. “Unless business is willing to play a role in upskilling, it risks exacerbating polarization in society, as workers who lack the advantages that come with specialist and scarce skills fall further behind.”
Around two thirds of HR professionals say they are feeling pressure from their CHRO to focus on skills this year, and 64% of CHROs say that upskilling and reskilling is the most critical priority today.
So how do L&D leaders ensure that their training and development programs are suitable, effective and relevant, and continue to be so? How do they keep their colleagues as highly skilled as possible in a changing world?
Connecting the dots
This is where it helps to gain a holistic and dynamic understanding of the skills you currently have in your business, and where you have gaps. Of course, this is hard to achieve. Every time you create an accurate record of the skills in your workforce, it goes out of date.
A Talent Marketplace (such as the AI-powered platform from Beamery) can help. It collects skills information and connects individuals inside a business to opportunities. Those could be full-time roles or gigs; they could be mentors or mentees, projects, or learning programs.
The power of a Talent Marketplace is that it looks at people and roles through the prism of skills: breaking down ‘jobs’ into the skills required; matching employees with mentorship opportunities that will help them get the skills they need for their role of choice; finding internal candidates with the right skills to help on short-term projects, and ultimately helping people grow their skills – through these personalized recommendations and opportunities. All of this can happen at scale.
With explainable AI behind the scenes, you can build and unify skills taxonomies across HCM data to provide a single, skills-based language that can be applied across the talent lifecycle. This means you get accurate, complete, recent data about the skills in your business, and high quality insights around candidates’ skills and proficiency.
Understanding L&D needs
Currently, according to The Josh Bersin company, the majority of corporate training functions feel they lack the integrated tools and internal skills to effectively create skills taxonomies and career pathways, which would in turn better align L&D directly with employees’ career aspirations and emerging skills gaps across the business.
When a Talent Marketplace is rolled out in an organization, we not only gain a better picture of the skills in the workforce we have, and the missing elements, but we can also start gathering additional data on the desires and needs of their employees. Through interactions with the Talent Marketplace, people are able to share their preferences and aspirations. For all teams, including L&D, this is incredibly valuable.
Where are the biggest upskilling needs? Where is there demand for a learning program that doesn’t yet exist? These are the questions that you can start to answer thanks to a Talent Marketplace. As employees explore their personalized career ‘maps’, think about the lateral moves they might make, and connect with mentors across the company, data is generated: L&D teams can see where there is greatest demand, as well as where the needs are.
Learning through career growth
A skills-based approach, that incorporates the short-term work and learning opportunities provided by a Talent Marketplace, can make L&D programs more personalized and ultimately more effective.
By better enabling internal mobility via a Talent Marketplace, organizations can facilitate learning “on the job”: in research by 360-Learning, more than 61% of respondents said that learning from peers is the best way to learn a job, closely followed by coaching and mentoring (59%), and instructor-led, on-the-job training (53%). Is your organization set up to allow people to move around, experience new types of work, and learn from different teams?
Research from The Josh Bersin Company found that the most impactful L&D practice today is to create extensive career growth options. But only 17% of organizations create “extensive opportunities for career growth”. Nehal Nangia, Senior Manager, Research L&D, The Josh Bersin Company, said: “If they could just harness the latest digital enabling tools and play a more proactive role in matching employees’ individual development and career needs with the strategic recruitment challenges of the business, L&D functions have a huge opportunity here.”
As organizations look to ways to retain staff, and save time and money on external hiring, Talent Marketplaces are gaining in popularity. 75% of CHROs are interested in Talent Marketplaces as a way to deliver on a skills-based approach, and those companies that invest in skills development are seeing both quality of hire and retention levels dramatically improve.