What is skill development?
Skill development is a process of identifying the skills gap in young people and filling it with training and employment opportunities. The goal of skill development programs is to recognize youth talent and extend support by providing them with the necessary direction, facilities, opportunities, and encouragement to help them realize their goals.
There are two broad categories in which Skill Development can be classified
Hard skills are task-specific. You can think of hard skills as technical skills needed for a specific task or within a particular subject. Hard skills need proper education, training, and practice. For example, knowledge and practice in MS Excel or Adobe Photoshop count as hard skills. These are the skills that you need to learn from expert mentors.
Soft skills are personality-specific. You can think of soft skills as behavioral skills or your personality traits. These are the skills that you do not learn from outside but develop over time with experience. For instance, skills like time management, collaboration, problem-solving, decision-making, ability to work in a team, working under pressure, proficiency in communication, etc are some of the soft skills.
Skill development in the time of COVID-19
Provision of Training
Businesses that had in-office training initiatives were unprepared when workers began working remotely. All of a sudden, printed training materials, on-premises LMSs, and instructor-led training (ILT) programs weren’t going to function.
Going digital was the obvious solution, and research conducted by the Training Industry has shown that many firms took this step. In addition to a 20% decline in ILT, there was a 20% increase in the use of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) between March and September 2020.
The pandemic provided the push that many firms needed to investigate digital training possibilities, and organizations will probably keep looking into new digital methods of teaching both their on-site and remote personnel.
For training experts, getting employees interested in and involved in training has always been a challenge. The pandemic has made this worse. Companies quickly realized that distractions like Netflix, pets, and kids couldn’t be defeated by PDFs and presentations.
Consequently, engaging training materials. The finest illustration is game-based learning, which uses straightforward, engaging modules to improve learning outcomes. These modules include quizzes, spot-the-error games, and role-playing scenario games.
Organizations can continue to produce attractive training materials even if employees return to the office since they now understand how to target remote workers with interesting content. The era of dull, lifeless content is finished.
Working from home can be difficult, particularly when there is a pandemic. Many people are feeling overburdened and overworked as they balance their personal and professional obligations. Everyone knows that delaying critical duties while they exercise for hours is the last thing they want to do.
Organizations must present training as a resource rather than a requirement to support their workforce. Information should be divided up into incredibly focused courses rather than being presented in all-day training sessions that might not apply to everyone. Employees can then look up the precise information they require at the appropriate time. Each microlearning session should just take a few minutes to complete to fit around the workflows of your learners and free up their time for other crucial duties.
Authoring Training Content Quickly
For many businesses, the creation of training materials has historically been a bottleneck. Companies frequently invest weeks or even months in creating training materials, especially if they need to educate their information technology (IT) staff.
The pandemic has brought attention to the necessity for more rapid content creation. Employees urgently require updated training as internal and external policies and governmental regulations are continually changing. Using an authoring tool is one easy way to create training material. But bear in mind that not every tool is made equally. Some allow you to generate extremely personalized material, but they might need you to know how to code. In an LMS or learning experience platform (LXP), other tools are incorporated and only call for the capacity to drag.
There are alternative methods for producing training materials rapidly if you don’t have the funding for new technologies. Try filming an ILT session as an example. After that, post it online so that workers may view it, pause it, make notes, and then replay it as necessary. The microlearning strategy is also applicable here. Consider cutting films into short segments so that students may rapidly discover and view the specific subtopics that are most important to them.
Businesses have essentially been compelled to alter overnight under COVID-19. Even though society is still adjusting, it is obvious that the corporate training scene has undergone a permanent change. Training is being created and delivered with greater efficiency, the content is compatible with remote workflows, and staff members genuinely appear to enjoy it.
How to develop a skill development training program
Step 1: Conduct a training needs analysis
An effective skills development program must begin with a training needs analysis (TNA). TNAs help organizations address the gap between where a team may be, and where it needs to be. It’s a proactive, cost-effective tool that helps L&D managers to outline training and development needs, address potential issues, and ensure that training is the best way to address business problems.
Training-needs analysis levels
L&D managers need to work through three levels of analysis, starting with individual analysis, and ending with the analysis of competencies needed to perform specific tasks.
The individual analysis should outline the skills present within a team and identify any barriers to success their absence may cause. To identify the training needs of each employee, L&D managers should:
- Analyze performance reviews, appraisals, and other available data to gauge opportunities for individual development.
- Engage with employees one-on-one, in focus groups, or through surveys to take stock of their daily challenges.
- Connect with team leaders and managers on where they think skills are lacking.
- Identify workers who are at risk of redundancy due to automation or skills gaps, and note transferable skills that can be redeployed as part of individual employee development plans.
Once you’ve assessed needs on an individual level, it’s time to plot out business goals so you can identify any overlaps, and prioritize areas for intervention.
Look out for issues present on an organizational level that can be addressed through training, i.e. issues caused by a lack of certain skills and competencies. Consider how technology, legislation, or even business growth might shift needs.
During this step, identify the kinds of support that management can offer employee development and gauge whether additional resources are needed to meet the company goals.
Operational tasks analysis
Finally, drill down into the details of each task and role. This will involve a deep dive into employee job descriptions. Map this information against what you already know about the skills that exist within any given team. At the end of the TNA process, you should have identified any potential or upcoming skills gaps.
Step 2: Identify skill development focus areas and goals
With these insights, you have the beginnings of a learning roadmap. Your next task is to consider short- and long-term training needs so you can identify priority areas, and build critical skills pathways.
You can use the Skills Hierarchy to help you identify what skills are most needed. This framework helps to differentiate between assumed, foundational skills like digital literacy, and transferable, human-centered skills like leadership that prepare individuals for a shifting work landscape.
As you prepare to craft learning pathways, focus on prioritizing these human-centered skills, as well as other competencies that are resistant to change, such as analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
At the end of this process, you should be clear on both present and future training needs and have L&D goals that will meet them.
Step 3: Identify learning solutions and tech to support L&D goals
Once you know what you’d like to achieve, you need a clear plan to get it done. Your professional development plan must factor in the expectations of your employees, too, and what’s needed to help them learn effectively.
Source or create a learning pathway that acknowledges the interests, skills, and learning styles of your staff, and is designed to support them in their development. Gauge if existing training resources can be used or repurposed, or if new instructional materials need to be created. Depending on what you have available to you, this could result in a custom course made up of rich educational media like video, animation, and interactive content. Alternatively, it could be a curated learning journey that pulls from industry leaders and existing free resources.
You’ll need furthermore to consider the broader goals of your training, and how it will be broken down into individual modules and lessons. To get the best results, include a mix of materials and sources to bring in diverse perspectives and cater to different learning styles. For top learning outcomes, you can look into models like the 2U Learning Experience Framework for guidance.
Targeted approaches, with hand-picked, curated learning experiences have proven more impactful than one-size-fits-all learning solutions. For example, to cater to staff who need leadership development, you could explore learning that’s focused on making an individual and team impact, as well as strategy. Other staff members might need to cultivate technical skills, which would call for more intensive learning solutions that have longer study times and are highly practical.
Finally, consider what kind of technology you’ll use to deploy your learning solution, be it a company learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP), as well as any additional learning tools or integrations. The right technology will enhance your learning material, provide a smooth user experience, and ensure your learning solution is delivered effectively.
Step 4: Gain stakeholder support
Without stakeholder backing, even the most comprehensive learning pathway can fall flat. With leadership buy-in from middle management to the C-suite, you’ll not only create a culture of learning but also ensure there is a shared purpose in the learning experience.
For learning to be supported at all levels, L&D managers must be able to outline the short- and long-term strategic benefits of training interventions. Just on the global level, for instance, the World Economic Forum anticipates a boost of up to $6.5 trillion to the global GDP if we innovate and address emerging skills gaps. To secure leadership buy-in from your organization, however, communicate the impact of the learning and its alignment with business goals such as revenue or staff retention. This will help you secure a budget for learning, and time allowances for individuals participating in learning initiatives.
Step 5: Co-create learning pathways with employees
Beyond the C-suite, it’s essential to have employee support in skills development. While you conduct in-depth checks at the analysis stage, make sure you circle back with individuals to ensure your new learning pathways align with their goals, too.
Where immediate skills gaps aren’t addressed, you can collaborate with individuals to craft personalized learning pathways that prioritize these. Later, you’ll continue working together on a plan for ongoing development that balances employee career goals, emerging skill gaps, and changing business needs.
Step 6: Track and measure progress
A deployed employee development plan doesn’t mean the end of your efforts. With the future of work in flux, you’ll need to keep monitoring your learning success metrics — new gaps may, after all, emerge, and employees may not be meeting their training goals, which will call for a strategy reevaluation. Learning success metrics will equip you to continuously assess the effectiveness of your development plan, and find ways to improve alignment with business goals.
Step 7: Ongoing repetition
Learning and development are part of an ongoing process that evolves and builds on itself. To keep making gains and establish a system where learning, growing, and skills development are encouraged at all levels, you should work to establish a culture of learning.
Examples of a skill development training program
Team Communication Training
Employees who receive team communication training become stronger collaborators and teammates by developing their full range of strengths. The foundation for general success is a strong set of communication skills. It establishes the degree of support you’ll receive for your ideas. It enables you to give engaging presentations. It lets you send emails that don’t result in an avalanche of unpleasant misinterpretations.
How does the firm gain from this form of training?
The team building inside an organization is strengthened through this training. Companies will experience significant gains in productivity, problem-solving, and even engagement when master communicators are in charge of projects. Employers won’t need to follow up or check in on projects as frequently because they are aware of how well their teams are collaborating.
Effective Habits for Working Remotely
Working effectively from a distance requires a certain level of skill. The tactical and technical aspects of working productively from a distance are covered in this training, along with emotional and wellness techniques that workers can use to stay focused, prevent burnout, and maintain a healthy work-life balance when work takes place in the middle of other commitments.
Employees who receive skills training in remote work can feel productive and connected even when they are working away from their friends and coworkers. It aids workers in overcoming the obstacles, annoyances, and anxieties that might otherwise prevent them from producing their best work.
Impactful Presentation Skills
Learn the art and practice of making an impactful presentation. With the right training, staff will be able to practice vocal modulation like a presidential candidate, work the stage like a TEDtalker, and make pleasant eye contact like a therapist, among other essential presentation abilities.
Employees gain more than just presentation skills from this training; they also gain the self-assurance to take the stage and dazzle an audience. They will welcome presentation chances rather than avoid them. Companies may rest easy knowing that their staff will always represent them with poise, elegance, and an effect that draws partners, clients, and investors.
Most of us recall having that coach who always did the right thing, whether we were collegiate athletes or little leaguers. They were skilled at assisting you in learning new skills and removing any obstacles in your head. Anyone can benefit from this training to become the kind of coach or leader their team will always remember.
Employees receive the kind of developmental attention that is corrective without being critical when leaders receive this training. Feedback is given to employees so they can excel in their jobs.
Businesses acquire a whole fleet of leaders from this training who are aware of their unique leadership philosophies and are skilled at using them to provide constructive criticism and inspiration to workers.
Awkward office disputes can occasionally seem insurmountable, reducing productivity for days or even weeks, especially if the persons involved often work closely together. While some people are born with the ability to foster relationships, others can develop this talent—that of elegant dispute resolution—through carefully thought-out instruction.
This program teaches workers how to take ownership of their actions, spot potential disputes, and settle them before they spiral out of control, filling a gap in their interpersonal skills. It’s no longer necessary for lost productivity and rising turnover to be the stuff of companies’ nightmares. They can feel secure knowing that thanks to this training, staff can settle their disputes amicably and without resorting to dramatic outbursts or necessitating mediation.