Early in my career managing Operations for the Cloud and DataCenter sectors, I realized that the skills gap was a significant risk to any company. Numerous companies are approaching operational failure due to a lack of insight into their skill gaps. It impacts business outcomes and the bottom line, most notably affecting employee and partner engagement and experience. Assuming you know the gaps when you don’t can hinder your ability to effectively acquire, retain, and grow expertise around your products and services for both internal and external audiences.
There is more than one gap to be addressed. There’s the current skills gap between the skills we have and the needs of today, and there’s the future skills gap between the skills we have now and those needed to meet future demands. You also need to pay attention to your audience’s skills interests and career pathing.
The process is ongoing and dynamic, as the product and service catalogs evolve daily while the talent landscape continuously changes. You need to be laser-focused on delivering content to the right individuals at the right time, using adaptive or individualized training in micro/nano-learning formats. Everyone is overwhelmed with the inflow of information; attention spans are short, and time is scarce.
How often have we heard Channel Leaders express frustration over the significant investments made in preparing for a webinar or training event, only to have a few partners show up? All too often.
Also, remember: there is no lack of content or content creation automation. If you are selling or supporting non-proprietary products and services and still developing content manually in-house, justifying it by “we have unique operating procedures,” it’s time to rethink your strategy. Your training investments should focus on face-to-face interactions, coaching, and outcomes, linking training programs to the audience’s performance and growth KPIs, whether they are employees or partners. Instead, we often see reports emphasizing the volume of content produced or the number of webinars held.
We strongly support the idea of MOOCs – free or low-cost content. The tech community as a whole needs to provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and deliver quality educational experiences at scale.
We recently onboarded a client with an enterprise subscription to LinkedIn Learning for internal employee training, only to discover that less than 10% of the staff consumed that content, and technical skills were poorly covered. We saved that company a significant amount in subscription fees alone by tapping into the free global content ecosystem.
Skills Gap analysis must be real-time and continuous. Furthermore, an organization needs not only a company-level view but, more importantly, a drill-down into the teams, locations, roles, and individuals. It’s all about setting clear expectations and providing clear direction at every level, maximizing efficiency. This applies to organizations of any size.
Before you can tackle the skills gap, you need to understand your skills. Skills must be linked to your products and services, as well as to functions and roles. Skill cataloging is an essential foundational step towards improving the learner experience and, ultimately, achieving business success.
Let us know if your company is already applying a skills-centric approach to employee and partner training. If not, you should consider it.