The shift in the world of work has been felt across the globe. From country to country, there is a keen need to stem the widening skills gap, and skills have become one of the most valuable currencies there are. The latest 2022 report conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand, “Thriving in the Global Skills Shortage: Your Path Through the Wilderness” , found that, globally, there was a direct correlation between skills development and organisational performance. The organisations that were considered high performing – scoring highly on profitability and net promotor score with a low turnover – prioritised skills development at a much higher level than average or low performing organisations.
This proof point should be enough to incentivise any organisation to hone their focus into their people, and into skills development. But where to begin? How can organisations reach high performing status? Here are five practical steps that organisations across the globe can follow to begin their journey:
- Focus on future skills
The skills needed today are not necessarily the skills needed tomorrow. With job demands constantly evolving, skills are expiring at a rapid rate and leaders need to take a more forward-thinking approach. As such, prioritising both the skills of today and the future, is pivotal.
High performing organisations not only prioritised skill development at a much higher level than their peers, but their employees also agreed that this was the case – with only an 11% gap between employer and employee perception. In Germany this closed to 8% and in Italy, there was total alignment between employees and employers. However, worldwide, low performing (laggard) organisations had a gap of 42% – a gap which widened further to 58% in Germany and to a worrying 89% in Mexico.
- Integrate skill building with career development
The report found that, globally, 74% of employees wanted to be provided with more tailored, comprehensive career guidance. To meet this demand, and to truly give employees insight into potential career progression, leaders should look to partner career opportunities with skills guidance.
This will allow employees to visualise the point they want to get to in their careers, as well as the skills required to reach that point. Rather than pointing employees to the top of the tree, this approach enables them to climb amongst the branches. Career progression is no longer a strictly linear process, but rather more fluid. An AI approach gives employees the option to gain the skills in order to progress into more senior roles within their team (linear), or even to move teams altogether (non-linear).
- Create a culture of skill building and growth
To reach high performing status, there needs to be a shared vision of success throughout an organisation. Upskilling and reskilling, therefore, need to become foundational to business strategy. Cornerstone’s research found that, globally, employee confidence in their organisations’ abilities to understand and deliver on their needs was lacking: in the UK, just 49% felt confident, and in Japan this fell to as low as 36%. Elsewhere this was less pronounced, at 67% in Spain and 57% in Singapore. However, across the board, clearly more needs to be done.
Employees who feel their ambition for growth and progression is shared by managers and senior leaders will feel more supported and encouraged to actively move towards their career aspirations. This will, in turn, result in a more motivated and empowered team – only serving to further benefit the wider company. Given the volatility of the current career market, a shared vision of success can also help replace employee turnover with internal mobility, as well as attract potential candidates.
- Offer personalised, meaningful content
Cornerstone’s report found that, worldwide, 40% of employees turn to their organisations’ skills development platform when looking for information about how to develop their skills. This figure was even higher for high performing organisations across the globe – playing into a familiar trend. Furthermore, 80% of employees globally said they wanted more learning content from their employers.
As such, organisations should be looking to expand access to high-quality, fresh content in a variety of modalities, topics and languages – particularly for companies with a global presence. Leveraging intuitive, AI-driven platforms to build sophisticated and constantly updated skills ontologies will be key here – allowing for content recommendations to be automated and heavily personalised to support employee growth.
- Adopt an internal hiring commitment
Often, organisations are not fully aware of the skillsets that are present in their own workforce and may instead look externally to plug any gaps. However, for high performing organisations, developing internal talent was the top way of filling skills gap – and others should follow suit. An internal-first hiring commitment demonstrates confidence in the skills and abilities of an organisation’s people. It encourages individuals to embrace self-development and learn new skills, knowing that their growth will be supported.
To deliver this, leaders should look to create an internal career marketplace – actively encouraging internal mobility. Providing a clear path into potential progression paths existing within the company will prove hugely valuable in developing and retaining talent. The linear notion of a ‘job ladder’ has been replaced by the fluid corporate lattice, and leaders should encourage employees to explore this.
The skills shortage is by no means going away overnight. However, by embracing the mindset of a high performing organisation, companies globally can begin to turn the tide. By taking a skills-first approach to learning and talent, organisations can prepare their workforce for the future. Cornerstone enables companies worldwide to do just that. We help our customers to build connected experiences for their employees with skills at the heart of everything – creating development and career opportunities that employees want to be a part of.