For those in L&D, the Association for Talent Development’s annual conference is kind of a big deal. So big, in fact, that President Obama was one of the keynote speakers this year.
Last week, I had the pleasure of not only attending ATD 2018, but also presenting on a topic that we at Bridge are very passionate about: closing the employee skills gap.
Here are a few takeaways from that talk even non-attendees can take advantage of:
5 Ways to Help Close the Employee Skills Gap
1. Make sure your company retains its top performers
With 51 percent of the workforce actively looking for a new job, keeping your best people on board is crucial for success.
The most effective way to do this? Create a culture of learning. Companies who invest in ongoing training and development for their employees are rewarded with higher engagement and loyalty — at an even higher rate than a great work/life balance.
2. Stop viewing performance reviews as career development moments
Annual reviews are universally hated by almost everyone, and the information they collect is usually outdated at best and inaccurate at worst. Either way, they are a huge waste of time for all parties involved.
Performance metrics should be a focus year-round. This can be easily accomplished by building in the process of conducting regular feedback sessions where goals and performance are continuously tracked, discussed and addressed as needed.
3. Build a culture of frequent 1:1 meetings
Sure, we’d all opt for fewer meetings if we could. But when it comes to engaging your employees, ongoing and regular 1:1s are an absolute necessity. Not only do these sessions provide accountability and transparency in goal-setting and other employee initiatives, they strengthen bonds between manager and employee.
And since 75 percent of voluntary turnover is due to manager-employee relationships, ongoing 1:1s can change the game for good at your company.
In collaboration with Qualtrics, we surveyed more than 1,000 employees and managers in the U.S. One key finding: 65 percent of employees believe conversations with their manager improve job performance.
But, these meetings need to cover a range of topics rather than the tasks at hand. For effective ongoing performance management, be sure to discuss day-to-day work, as well as long- and short-term goals. There are tools available to help manage and conduct these meetings seamlessly.
4. Give your employees tools to grow their skills
Simply completing a single training course alone won’t cut it. L&D teams need an arsenal of tools to develop, engage and retain their move valuable asset — their people.
A few ways to make that happen include:
- Continuous check-ins - use 1:1s to build engagement, track performance and strengthen loyalty
- Ongoing learning & development - create learning libraries for additional training, whether it’s assigned or self-directed
- Training retention tools - leverage embedded in-course quizzes and follow-up reminder quizzes to help reinforce key messages
- Goals tied to continuous improvement - motivate workers with clear, ambitious and transparent goal tracking for ongoing skill development
- Frequent practice - use video-enabled platforms to enable constant practice of soft skills and talking points
- Peer micro-feedback - enlist the help of team members — whether it’s a peer skill assessment or feedback on a video challenge or task
- Targeted coaching - facilitate individualized, meaningful feedback from peers, managers or instructors
5. Become obsessed with actionable data
A lack of data isn’t the issue for many HR and L&D teams. It’s measuring the right data points and using that information to make more informed decisions. So what types of data should teams focus on?
- Performance management - tracking frequency of 1:1s can help ensure engagement stays a top priority
- Skills within your organization - conducting peer assessments can be very telling into team weaknesses (skills gaps) and strengths
- Training insights - understanding who is completing their training and how they are scoring can identify problem areas and engagement levels
Closing the skills gap will be an ongoing battle for many years to come. But with the right tools, L&D teams can make huge strides that impact their bottom line.
To learn more about how to combat the skills gap within your organization, check out the infographic, 1 Tool, 3 Ways to Increase Engagement and Productivity.