personal growth is critical to company success
Talent Development

4 steps to keeping your people & organization skilled

August 17, 2023
Emily Vo

Kaisa Savola

August 17, 2023
Talent Development

4 steps to keeping your people & organization skilled

Kaisa Savola

We have AI tools entering the offices and our employees’ computers, shaking things up and making us wonder, how much will they end up changing the status quo. It’s a question that we can’t fully answer yet but 1 thing is for sure: we need to put more focus on keeping people’s and thus the whole organization’s skills up-to-date. It is absolutely crucial for your success and competitiveness in today's rapidly changing business landscape.


To help you out, get started or polish your current ways of working, we've listed 4 efficient ways to build a skilled organization and keep it relevant. We have constructed the blog in a specific order, giving you a guideline and timeline to builiding and executing a plan to take your organization to the next level. Start with the first and once completed, move to the next, and so on.


Here we go.


Skills Assessment& Gap Analysis

First. Ensure you have an up-to-date view and knowledge of your organization's skills. Regularly assess the skills and competencies of your workforce. When assessing, categorize them into the following 3 groups:

·       Current skills

·       Focus skills, or skill gaps, skills to be learned or improved and

·       Skills that motivate me/I’d like to work with

Conduct skill gap analyses to identify areas where your organization may be lacking. This information will help you understand where you are now, what skills people want to work with, and what skills they need to grow. The latter will give you great informatation for designing targeted training programs and development plans, to address the gaps and ensure employees are equipped with the necessary skills. It also provides a great resource for work and project planning throughout your organization.


Strategy requires learning, always. If it doesn’t, it’s not a strategy.

To support your skill assessment and gap analysis, adding the skills your organization needs, aka future skills needed, to succeed in your strategy, adds more data to the picture. The created skill gaps will give extra support to your workforce planning. You can then start asking:

How will you close those gaps?

Do you have time to develop the skill internally or do you need to recruit or outsource?

The data will also work as a view to diverse and continuous growth opportunitiesfor your people.  


Skill-Based Job Profiles and Growth Plans

For many organizations,the personal development plan is created based on the employee’s “guesses”. In PDPs, people are asked “What skills and talents would you like to learn?” and the answers then create the goals for the development plan. What if the person doesn't know? What generates the goals?

And yet, this may not be the worst part.


We still see and hear of practices, where development plans are visited once or twice a year, with minimum 1:1s or check-ins along the way. The world around us is moving so fast that this type of process and methodology will not result in keeping people and the organization skilled. They will fall out, decrease and eventually stop from existing.


Have you heard of skills-based job profiles? They are job profiles that have been broken down into a list of skills needed, to succeed in the job or role. The work greatly in creating clear expectations for people as they outline the specific skills and competencies required for each role within the organization. When implemented, they work as a baseline for assessing current skills, identifying skills to focus on, and creating skill gaps that will turn into drivers for personal development plans. They work well also in planning and designing one’s next career move. By selecting the next potential role, the employee receives a visual view and understanding of the skills they need to work on, to take the next step.

Once those lists of skills, or skill gaps, or focus skills have been defined, they will act as drivers for personal development. The personal growth plan will be your personal path for skill development. A well-working plan includes skills-based goals broken down into actionable milestones containing learning content, work assignments, knowledge sharing and feedback collection. They also promote regular 1:1s or check-ins with the manager or coach, helping to keep focus and a place for adjustment, when needed.

This way of working ensures that employees have a roadmap for acquiring the skills needed to excel in their current role, progress in their career, and contribute to the company's strategy.  


Continuous Learning and Training Programs

Once you and your organization have assessed the current and future skills and any skill gaps they may create, it is time to start working on a strategy to keep your people and organization skills. By implementing ongoing learning and training initiatives, you are catering to both current and emerging skills needed in your industry.


What's your company's guideline when it comes to L&D? How much money can each employee spend on Learning and Development? How about the time? Is it 4hrs a week? 1 day a month? How are you going to monitor it and allow it to happen? Once those are figured out, try to come up with a mix of formal training, workshops, seminars, online courses, and access to relevant resources. Encourage employees to take ownership of their professional development by setting goals and tracking progress.


When planning the ways and means to keep your people and organization skilled, keep in mind that talent grows, when skills are applied to actual work assignments and projects. Sustainable growth happens when people can apply the skills they just learned in an actual situation, not waiting for months for the right type of project to come up.

When understanding this, organizations tend to start planning the L&D activities related to upcoming projects. They also understand that including those, who work in the customer front such as Sales and Customer Service in the planning sessions, delivers great insights and L&D drivers.  


Mentorship and Coaching

Team Leads and Managers play a key role in learning & development and making it happen in the midst of busy everyday life. Mentoring, coaching, and checking in on a regular basis keep focus and implement any needed changes.


Establish mentorship and coaching programs for your Team Leads and then for your people to facilitate knowledge transfer and skill development. Pair experienced employees with those who are looking to enhances pecific skills and have them arrange diverse workshops and learning labs for knowledge sharing. These more senior people can also act as mentors and coaches – it doesn’t always have to be the line manager.


Implement these activities and you are creating a supportive, engaging, and efficient environment for learning, development and growth. Keeping your people and organization skilled and competitive! 


The arrival of generative AI and the AI online tools have acted as great reminders of how fast the world is changing and how outside forces disrupt familiar environments. The Skills-based job profiles, skills assessment, continuous learning and development process along with regular check-ins will help keep the people skilled and knowledgeable of the upcoming changes. Encourage employees to take ownership of their learning journey, provide opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, and stay attuned to industry trends to ensure your organization remains skilled and competitive.

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