Learning & Development

What Changes Lie Ahead in Business Skills Training?

“Skills Mismatch: Business Acumen and Strategy Execution” studies the relationship between business skills and organizations’ ability to execute strategy, the critical skills needed at different levels of leadership, and trends in business skills development through 2018.

The survey, which is based on responses from more than 300 senior corporate leaders, was conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by consulting firm BTS (www.bts.com).

Survey participants anticipate a greater reliance on internal business skills development initiatives compared to recruiting for those skills, as well as shifts in the frequency with which certain internal development approaches are used.


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For example, they expect a nearly 40 percent drop in the use of on-the-job experience to develop business skills among employees because participants consider this approach to be minimally effective, BTS reports. On-the-job experience includes coaching, mentoring, and trial-and-error experiences, according to the survey.

“Bringing added risks that could negatively impact a company’s results, this approach does not allow for consistency across the enterprise,” the survey states. “Without a structured process, strategic business acumen development is difficult to achieve.”

Similarly, expert-led lectures are seen as being ineffective for developing business skills, and the use of this approach is expected to decline by 32 percent over the next 5 years.


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However, learning and development initiatives aimed at building business skills are expected to increase 47 percent, according to the survey.

The use of customized business simulations, for example, is likely to rise; 11 percent of survey respondents currently use business simulations, and 26 percent expect to do so by 2018, which represents a 140 percent increase, BTS reports.