Training: how companies look for the skills that their executives and employees need
- Investment in corporate training has fallen in recent decades, but the trend is starting to turn around.
- The options that are starting to appear are highly diverse and they leverage a range of different technologies, so it is essential to have a clear idea of the strategy for developing top management and technical skills.
- Values and training are essential for the millennials as they impact their level of commitment and could impact their decision to stay in an organization or not.
Learning and development in organizations is a continuous process, but they do not always invest enough in it and maybe it is not implemented in the best possible way. According to The Economist, in both the United States and in the United Kingdom, spending on training in companies has fallen to approximately half over the last two decades, but in a world in which automation and artificial intelligence are transforming so many roles, life-long training becomes essential.
But, the trend is probably starting to change, as can be seen from the increase in investment in training and the rapid adoption of technology in the United States: a 32.5% increase in total spending on training professionals, according to the 2017 Training Industry Report. Companies are now obliged to do this themselves due to problems caused by the availability of talent, as a consequence of migratory restrictions and university course selection, among other factors.
There are strong signs that the millennials see training as an important factor that affects their satisfaction and their commitment to the job. The journal Training mentions a survey conducted with millennials in the United States, and 73% of them considered learning and development as a factor they are looking for in their employers in order to advance their professional careers.
According to data garnered by Gallup in State of the Global Workplace Report 2017, the proportion of the global labor force with commitment to their job is 15%. Despite its high level of economic development, Western Europe only shows a commitment level of barely 10%, and 6% in Spain, lower than the European average. In the case of Spain, 79% are not committed and 15% are actively not committed.
One of the recommendations of the Gallup study is that employers should ensure that they are prepared to get the most out of their human capital, by creating business cultures that stimulate performance and development and which allow individuals to make the best use of their time and reinforce and drive their talents.
Corporate training, an expanding market
Despite the above, digital learning is an incipient business and there are people who are betting on it in the long term.
The Financial Times mentions new technological enterprises like Coorpacademy, which are aiming to become the Netflix of the corporate training market. The company charges a subscription fee for open access to 800,000 learning packages in 19 languages. The courses that they offer include a play element and different users can compete for faster times and higher scores in a “battle mode”.
Another provider, Skillsoft offers courses in 30 languages, focused on health, financial, manufacturing services and the pharmaceutical industry. SmartUp, in turn, uses an application and “peer to peer” training so that users can test themselves against others and their clients develop their own training packages on the platform, including blockchain and sales.
How to maximize the return on the investment
Some recommend a series of internal strategies to maximize the return on the investment of training programs. Kristin Constable, in Forbes, mentions the following:
- Develop the technical skills needed for today: one cannot assume that experts are going to continue to be experts always, but you can lever them to help to train specific skills for employees.
- Develop leadership skills at all levels of the organization: these skills will be the support for developing careers in the long term (3-5 years) and they are not linked to any role in particular.
- Measure and reward growth and improvement:create personalized training plans and reward employees who foster and are actively committed to professional development.
- Lever training on demand and micro-learningusing a flexible training system that can be distributed over time.
- Facilitate the integral development of the person:Support leaders to understand who they are and what they care about (their values). The objective is to turn them into powerful leaders capable of inspiring their teams. A high proportion of millennials say that they would even accept lower financial remuneration to work in an organization that is aligned with their values.
- Adopt on-line learning: e-learning is only part of a flexible, combined approach and it can help to create learnings that do not require all employees to be in the same place.
Leadership and more leadership
According to Gallup, 70% of the variations in job commitment can be attributed to their leaders. Organizations that foster commitment have leaders that communicate openly and consistently and who work actively on reducing any systemic barrier that affects the level of commitment of their employees.
So, the essential thing is that leadership define, execute and communicate a strategy of training and talent formation with a long-term view in the company. This vision must be consistent with the place and the impact that the company and the CEO want to have on society. It is essential that the tools used are adjusted to today’s times and to the individual profile of the leaders and future leaders.
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Constable, Kristin. Six Learning and Development Trends to Embrace for Maximum ROI. Forbes, 13th April 2018
Moules, Jonathan. Employers buy into ‘Netflixisation’ of executive education. Financial Times. 1st August 2018
More staff training is vital. The Economist, 9th August 2018
Nolan, Paul. Skills development is its own reward. Training Magazine. July-August 2018
Training Industry Report, 2017.
State of the Global Workplace Report, 2017. Gallup