How Skills Upgrading and On-the-Job Training Play an Important Role in Employee Development

As the business landscape shifts in the post-pandemic world, agile companies are quickly activating their call to action for employee development. Improving skills and providing job-focused training to employees are becoming traditional talent development imperatives to stay relevant in the talent war.

Amidst this scenario, most progressive employers have focused on retaining their best resources and investing in them to raise their level of performance.

According to a Gartner survey, nearly 60% of HR leaders said building skills was their number one priority in 2022. After all, the human resource pool is any organization’s greatest asset and propels its success!

Interestingly, according to a McKinsey study, 69% of organizations are now investing in more skill-building activities compared to the pre-pandemic period, further confirming the growing need to adapt to changing tides.

This speaks in favor of the emphasis on employee development.

The pivot now towards employee development, which falls under the realm of performance management, essentially refers to the range of processes undertaken by organizations to attract and retain bright talent.

The central idea behind talent development is to unleash hidden talents within the existing workforce and enable people to get closer to their optimized performance potential.

It is important for all growing organizations because it:

• Increases employee performance and productivity

According to Research Gate, participants in learning and development training demonstrate an increase in learning ability by 25% and performance levels by 20%.

• Overcomes the skills gap prevalent in organizations

Research by Manpower Group suggests that 54% of companies globally report severe skills shortages and cite difficulty in attracting desired skilled resources.

• Ensures talent engagement within the organization

According to Axonify, nearly 92% of employees suggest their level of engagement increases with access to well-planned employee training programs.

• Reduces attrition tendencies

A study by LinkedIn Learning suggests that 94% of employees are likely to stay in their current organization for an extended period if they are involved in learning and development activities.

• Enables organizations to prepare for the future of work

A WEF study highlights the relevance for employers to identify existing and potential skills gaps and create practical learning and development opportunities. Statistically, 50% of employees today need skills development and upgrading by 2025 to stay relevant.

It is important to note that employee development activities do not involve isolated events that companies may undertake from time to time. Instead, it should encompass a culture of continuity, including ongoing training and development activities such as on-the-job learning opportunities, upskilling, retraining, transferable skills, etc.

On-the-Job Training, or OJT, and Skills Development play a remarkable role in successful employee development in the following ways:

Enable the launch of a broader talent acquisition network

Most organizations cite the lack of skilled talent as one of the biggest barriers to growth. In a world where in-demand skills are changing rapidly, job-focused training and development allows employers to select talent with transferable skills and nurture them to their advantage. This allows positions to be filled in a timely manner, whether through agile hiring or internal mobility, and thus to achieve organizational objectives.

For example: 70% of restaurant servers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are typically equipped with the skills that can help them succeed in a top role like customer service. Rather than having vacancies unfilled for these high-demand roles for long periods of time, it makes sense to absorb people with basic skills in those skills and develop them as they perform the job.

Amplify employee engagement

If employees see good opportunities to learn and grow in their current roles, they are much more likely to be engaged and loyal to the organization. Ultimately, it is crucial to recognize that each individual is concerned about their career path and that unless their needs are met, their performance will have an impact.

Statistically speaking, 94% of workers suggest they are likely to stay longer at their current company if the organization invests in their career. Human resources are part of the essential asset pool of any organization. Unless workers are happy, satisfied and well engaged, their performance levels do not match their true potential. Additionally, attrition as a cost will be recurring.

Support Optimal Outcome Growth

A basic objection against investing in training and development activities that most leaders raise is the efficiency of time and investment in this regard. In a market situation already characterized by a shortage of talent, sending workers to training and development programs is further accelerating internal labor pressure. Moreover, such development comes at a cost, and in times of talent shortages it may seem irrational to incur.

The best way to overcome this is to invest in learning and development activities such as CFE and professional development. They help improve the skills and productivity of existing people and simultaneously introduce significant financial benefits to businesses. Both approaches can overlap significantly with a typical work schedule and require allocating fewer isolated hours to learning only. This optimizes employee billable hours, improving overall business performance and profitability.

Ultimately, introducing strong L&D initiatives is vital to a progressive, results-driven organization. Pursuits such as OJT and Upskilling build self-sufficiency in terms of effective hiring with agility, respond internally to changing talent needs, and ensure that each employee is best suited for their role. While it helps the business to increase its productivity and realize the growth in its bottom line, it also engages the workforce and meets its growth plans. In short, is a single step towards realizing the twin benefits.

(Sujit Karpe, co-founder and CTO, iMocha-digital skills assessment platform)

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Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022, 9:27 PM IST