When I hear about organisations being aware of their skills gap, it takes me back to some past work experience of mine. I used to work for a business that audited what organisations had put in place for their people. I saw first hand organisations being proactive in identifying the skills they needed immediately as well as in the future. And I also saw organisations creating learning opportunities for specific roles and functions to close the skills gap.
However, this predominantly engages people who want to climb the corporate ladders. It limits the learning and development opportunities of people outside the pre-determined learning structures. It meant that employees were limited in what they could sign up to. As a result it only partially engaged the workforce. And only attracted, retained, and assisted people that fit into a preset style of business structure.
Development experiences have engaged with me the most when I can see genuine thought has gone into the creation of the content. When it feels like it speaks to me personally, not just generically about people in my position. It helps too when the delivery is interesting and interactive, and I can see how the learning applies practically to the job I do and the direction I want to go in.
It’s a tricky balance to get right. But to do so employers need to identify the skills that are required and then combine them with the learning opportunities that their people actually want. People don’t want to just develop their skills so they can get on the next rung of the ladder. They want to develop themselves, and as a result be ready for the next rung of the ladder. So by combining the two critical factors of identifying and providing opportunity, employers will create an evolving workforce that is truly engaged. Not just by your efforts, but also with the business they are working for. One way that organisations can make this easier for themselves is to partner with businesses that are more than just supplies of a service. Having a partner in business means having someone who is driven to understand the challenges you face, your goals, and what makes you unique. The big questions that go beyond what can be found on your website. But you should not just partner with anyone. You should only partner with someone who is great at what they do. Someone who is trusted by other organisations to deliver time and time again. Someone… like Alchemist.
Bradley’s experience is something we see and hear all the time, in various shapes and forms. Companies saying “we are aware of the problem” or “we know we need to improve” and “we’re going to upskill everyone”. But then the implementation does not stick, the improvement does not last, or the problems just keep coming back. That is because often employers see their employees as people within the company, rather than people within the company. The difference is subtle, yet enormous. People do not want the skills they learn to be isolated or entirely tied to a specific rung of the corporate ladder. They want skills and development that better them as people, that can be transferred both into what they do, but also who they are outside of work. Alchemist always puts the individual first, because at the end of the day every company is just a collection of individuals.