Digitalization and the future of work are driving changes that affect our jobs. The number of skills required for a single job is increasing by 10%year over year and over 30% of the skills needed 3 years ago will soon be irrelevant. Both of these statistics are from GartnerTalentNeuron’s data analysis of millions of job postings.
The speed of digitalization and automation will require us to reimagine and rebuild our people development processes. They need to be visual, agile, and systematic if we plan to stay on the wave and keep our people and organizations skilled.
So, it’s fair to say, learning and development have become business-critical components of organizations wanting to succeed in the future. Success means having skilled and engaged people, low churn rates, and happy and returning customers.
It’s safe to say that having one’s learning & development goals as bullet points in a form-like document, visited once or twice a year is not going to drive the listed success factors. That's why we'd like to introduce you to a recipe for building success with skilled people.
The following 4 components will guide you in setting and executing a plan for success:
1. Communicate the skills needed per job profile.
2. Communicate your business objective and skills needed to succeed.
3. Bridge the skill gaps with personal and systematic growth plans.
4. Dedicate and measure time for learning and the impacts it makes.
1. Communicate the skills needed per job profile
What does your present landscape look like? What are the skills you currently have in the house?
You can arrive at this by communicating the skills you expect for each job profile. Build the profiles and communicate the needed technical and power skills along with the responsibilities and behaviors each role has in your organization. If you are in an industry where certificates carry weight, go ahead, and add them also.
Do you have specific expectation levels for the skills for each profile? Setting and communicating those creates more meaning and clarification and helps the employee understand if they are expected to know the basics or lead people and projects in that specific skill space. By building job profiles with skills and expectation levels, you are setting clear expectations for each employee and helping them understand, where there’s room for improvement. It’s no longer a guessinggame.
Having a systematic and transparent way to set the expectations for your employees creates a fair and inclusive culture and sets the scene for building diverse career paths in your organization. Our next blog will be discussing career paths, so stay tuned.
“With the systematic approach that Talbit offers, we have been able to tap into hidden potential, make it visible, and by putting it into use, increased employee engagement and saved in recruitment.”
2. Communicate your Future
What’s your company’s vision? How are you going to get there? What does it require?
The internet is full of articles and studies on why strategies fail. From personal experience, the reasons have been unclear objectives, poor communication, and lack of monitoring and follow-up. A lot of time is spent in strategy workshops, defining the strategy and goals but once the time for execution starts, the “gloves drop”. Many think that having the strategy in a PowerPoint presentation, presented to the organization once or twice a year, does the job. It doesn’t.
The OKR framework and tool along with a systematic approach and communication of future skills are elements of successful strategy implementation. The idea behind the framework is to get everyone on board and it is done by breaking the strategy into bite-size pieces with concrete WHAT and measurable HOWs. When the progress is measured and updated on a weekly basis, it starts to stick, and the repetition will slowly but surely reach also those in the back seat.
What are the skills and technologies you need to succeed in those objectives?
We at Talbit have taken the process one step further and allow you to add the future skills you need to succeed. This is an excellent way to make sure everyone can find a connection between their work and the organization’s plans but also contributes to the building of a continuously learning and developing organization.
“With the help of OKRs, clarity and transparency for implementing the strategy, we’ve increased our organization'sunderstanding and ability towards strategy and change.”
3. Stay Skilled with a Personal and Systematic Growth Plan
What are the skills you need to strengthen to succeed in your job? How are you going to gain those skills?
Once the present has been defined and the future communicated, it is time to start building the plans to keep everyone skilled and engaged.
A good rule of thumb is that 70% of your skills are gained through work. Skill development happens gradually, first creating the understanding, then applying the skill and hopefully at some point, having the ability to use your skills to innovate something new.
Systematic goal setting takes these into account and drives an outcome-based way of working. Whether it is time management, public speaking, or coding with React, not only should you be planning where and how to upgrade your skills and knowledge but also locking in a work assignment or project, where you can then apply those skills.
The last thing is to make sure you have a mentor or coach who will help you keep the focus on the way with regular check-ins and a few peers that can drop in to give you feedback and guidance in improving your talent.
“Talbit's model has helped me not only improve my skills but also reach the goals I have set (compared to our previous model with bullet points in a form).”
4. Finding Time to Close the Skill Gaps
How to find time to learn when we are so busy?
To stay relevant, and to close any skill gaps, we need time to learn and apply the learnings to work so that they stick. We need to approach the topic of staying relevant as lifelong learning or having a growth mindset. To help you out in carving time for learning from your busy schedule, here are a few tips that work.
Make a schedule
Set aside dedicated time each week or each day for learning. This could be during your lunch break, before or after work, or during a quiet period at your job. Mark it into your calendar and stay true to your plan.
This is a method where you structure your time so that you focus 25 minutes on intense, uninterrupted productivity time and then take a five-minute break. You can do 1 Pomodoro per day or week or whatever suits you the best.
Use your commute
Do you have a long commute? Consider using this time to listen to podcasts or audiobooks related to your learning goals. Use the notepad on your phone to write down ideas where you could apply what you learned.
Do you have a colleague that is more senior in a skill? Ask them if you could shadow them for a few hours and pick up ideas and ways of working to improve your own skills.
Are you a senior in a skill or talent? Invite your colleagues to a Learning Lab and share your knowledge and insights with them, followed by a group chat, work assignment, or Q&A.
Learning is an ongoing process; it's a lifelong journey. It is important to understand, where you currently stand, what you need to improve, or where you want to grow. Building a growth plan with concrete goals and making time to execute the plan will help you, as an individual, and your organization stay relevant.