A growing need for evolving skills has provoked a wave of reskilling initiatives across the globe. Walmart just announced the opening of its first-ever onsite training academy and earlier this summer, Amazon committed to investing $700 million to upskill 100,000 employees by 2025.
The skills gap in the workforce is undeniable. Thousands of companies are in the thick of a digital revolution that’s created a new need for employees who are capable of doing entirely new kinds of work. Whereas hiring used to be an effective approach to fulfilling these needs, record-low unemployment rates and dwindling talent pools have changed that.
However, these changes have made it a very exciting time in the training industry at large – here at Docebo, we just announced the successful closure of our initial public offering. Industry milestones like this are enough to prove the growing desire for new learning and development programs and the tools to facilitate them. Putting that structure in place is a task that many organizations are facing today, and while companies like Amazon and Walmart have the manpower to commit millions to the cause, that’s simply not the case for all businesses struggling to close the same skills gaps.
As we move into the new year, here is what companies large and small need to consider if they want to address the skills gap.
Reskilling doesn’t require a $700M investment
While it’s certainly a positive sign that companies like Amazon are committing major dollars to the skills gap initiative, smaller tech and IT companies don’t have the same resources to develop programs at this scale – and that’s okay.
You don’t need to spend excessive amounts of time and money developing entirely new training programs for learning to be effective. The first step toward bringing value to L&D is reconsidering existing investments. For example, while recruiting new talent is typically the natural solution to filling job roles, it isn’t necessarily the most effective. Sometimes the answers to your problems are standing right in front of you, and in this case, those answers can be found in evaluating existing staff.
Prioritizing reskilling over recruiting can be a far more cost-effective option for businesses in need of new skill sets. Luckily, there are learning technology tools that help organizations answer the subsequent question: where do we start? AI-powered learning tools eliminate the guessing game around addressing those internal gaps, and can even help executives identify underlying strengths among staff too. L&D programs don’t have to cost millions to become more intuitive, more available and more focused on the learner. Utilizing AI and the power of 24/7 ‘anywhere’ learning, businesses can completely change what learning can be and needs to be, to prepare workers for the future.
Give the people what they want – training
With all of this said, the reality is that your employees want to learn more. A staggering 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in training and learning programs. Needless to say, investing in the appropriate tools to facilitate meaningful learning doesn’t just impact skills, but overall retention, loyalty, and satisfaction – all of which will be critical in determining which companies sink or swim amid industry and societal change going forward.
Just as needed skills are changing, so are preferred methods for learning. Training needs to be thoughtful, personalized, and available based on where, when and how employees choose to learn. Traditional training formats like instructor-led courses or mandatory workshops can’t achieve the level of customization that’s needed to push learning forward. Technology-driven learning is the only way to maximize the benefits of training and actually assess ROI.
The benefits of AI-powered learning investments aren’t limited to employees. While they do provide employees access to endless content, customizable training, and social learning opportunities, they also offer so much value to HR executives on the backend. The insights that data-driven learning tools are able to pull based on a range of factors, from the pace at which learners answer questions to the content they interact with most, simply can’t be gained from a test grade. This level of training evaluation is necessary to close skills gaps and prepare workers for the future – but it’s also critical for businesses, especially those who are hesitant to put dollars toward training because it’s “difficult to assess the value and impact”. Modernized training tools collect the information needed to assess ROI by enabling behind the scenes evaluation of employee progress.
Employing meaningful training that helps workers grow and develop their skills is a critical part of any company’s mission. But training has to improve for that to happen. Instead of taking the time to develop our workforce, we are constantly trying to keep up with technology, and in many cases, this rat race is making the skills gap that much wider. Instead, we need to make sure that we aren’t simply trying to ‘keep up’ with technology, but that technology is built to keep up with us, our needs, and our preferences. Investing in digital learning tools that are designed to benefit workers, not the other way around, is the smartest business decision executives can make this year.
About the author: Matt Powell, is Product Marketing Manager at Docebo. Matt is a seasoned, data-driven content creator managing product marketing and all content production activities for Docebo, an e-learning SaaS technology company based in Toronto.