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It’s time to invest in right-skilling. Here’s why.

Right Skilling

Is your company one of the 87% worldwide that already have a skills gap or anticipate one within a few years?

It is a growing problem for so many businesses, but why and how could right skilling help?

One of the primary causes is an ageing workforce. Experienced workers across all industries are retiring, and companies are struggling to attract enough talent to replace them. According to Unison, there will be 8 million more workers over the age of 45 by 2050, compared with just 2.7 million younger workers.

Another challenge, along with the diversification from traditional industries like oil and gas, is the rapid advancement in new technologies, making existing skills outdated and creating sky-high demand for workers with more relevant skills. 68% of businesses report being held back by a lack of tech skills, according to Nash Squared.

Further issues arise from an imbalance between school curricula and the skills required in the modern workforce. It's a misconception that "digital native" generations are au fait with current workplace tech requirements. Only 32% of Gen Z workers feel they have the necessary resources to learn the digital skills they require to succeed in their roles, according to Salesforce.

Anecdotally, at Eden Scott, we hear many employers commenting on a lack of soft skills such as resilience, time management, and communication - particularly among younger employees.

Finally, it appears investment in employee training has been affected by the events of the last few years. Insufficient training was given as the primary factor for high staff turnover by 41% of workers in industries such as hospitality, according to Zupa.

While this is understandable - all the more so considering the current challenging conditions - the long-term trade-off is often a decline in worker skills. 

So we've established what's going wrong, but what’s the solution?

Right skilling - identifying the skills employees need to perform their jobs well and equipping them with those skills - can solve the skills gap problem.

The primary benefit of right skilling is that it advantages both the employer and the employee. Some leaders worry that upskilling initiatives only benefit the employee ("What if I train them and they leave?"). But in contrast to upskilling, right skilling trains employees for the company's specific needs - meaning a clear advantage for the employer, too.

Meanwhile, employees receive that coveted benefit - career-enhancing training that will help them advance in their roles. Workers often lament the lack of training they receive, dooming their careers to stagnancy. Right skilling paves the way for career progression through relevant training. 

Right skilling is also believed to increase job satisfaction. As Graham Glass, CEO of Cypher Learning, writes in Forbes: "Employees are more likely to be happy with their jobs when they see a clear career trajectory ahead of them and are not facing pressures of potential redundancy or a lack of preparedness."

An added benefit of right skilling is an improved employer reputation, resulting in a better selection of skilled candidates to fill vacancies. A report by PwC shows that learning and development is the most popular employee benefit amongst millennials, while over a third view companies with solid training and development programmes as attractive employers.

A commitment to grow together 

An essential component of developing a ‘Right Skilling’ approach is getting buy-in from company leadership. It is crucial that there is a commitment to invest the time and funding required to help people grow. 

A massive 96% of learning and development professionals believe that their companies will increase team training budgets this year. This comes after an eyebrow-raising 99% reported failed in-house training programmes in the past five years, according to City & Guilds (via People Management).

This much-anticipated spike in L&D funding is fantastic, and companies are taking action to resolve their skills gap issues through training, but often, that training is only tangentially related to employers' needs. 

Beyond using a blanket training approach, companies must focus on delivering the right training programmes for the right employees.

Questions to ask yourself if your company is experiencing a skills gap: which skills is my company lacking now? Which skills will we need in the next few years? Which roles will become a future focus? Which current team members' skills will become less relevant?

Once you've discerned your specific skills requirements, you can identify the team members to train and the skills you will need to hire in the future. 

Right skilling isn't linear - it's cyclical. It's a commitment to continuous progress in a way that is highly targeted to a company's distinct requirements. No general training, no generic approaches - it's about being focused and intentional. 

Right skilling can have a transformational impact on businesses and employees alike. 

I'll give the last word to EdTech specialist Lori Niles-Hoffman, who explains to Elucidat: "By right skilling, you're hiring the most suitable people, mitigating risk and saving money. You're not adding to the noise and stress with lots of ineffective training. You're helping [employees] to get the skills that they need to stay relevant in their role."

As published on Aberdeen Business News