Learning & Development

Training Priorities for 2018 Part II: Internal Skill Gaps and Tracking Skill Development

Yesterday’s post looked at the top two priorities identified in LinkedIn’s “2018 Workplace Learning Report” –training for soft skills and global training. In this post, we’ll look at the third and fourth: delivering insights on internal skill gaps and tracking skill development. (And we’ll cover the fifth and sixth tomorrow.)
Learning and development (L&D) are increasingly taking center stage among the priorities of HR departments and companies in general. This should be no surprise, as human capital is frequently identified as one of the, if not the, most valuable assets companies possess.

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Delivering Insights on Internal Skill Gaps

Let’s face it: Nobody likes to receive criticism. But glossing over actual skill gaps in employees doesn’t help you or them. L&D professionals identify the ability to effectively deliver insights on skill gaps as a key priority. The formula is simple: What skills do we need to succeed in our industry? What skills do our employees currently possess? The difference between the two is the gap. But the process of evaluating those inputs and coming up with actionable insights can be challenging.
Importantly, L&D professionals need to partner with managers and supervisors to ensure that internal skills gaps are identified and addressed effectively. That means providing supervisors and managers with the skills, resources, and tools to provide feedback effectively—this harkens directly back to the need for soft skills training that we addressed in our last post.

Tracking Skill Development

Even when employers identify skill gaps in their employees and put in place programs to develop those skills, it can be difficult to measure the growth of those skills. That’s why tracking skill development was listed as the number four priority of L&D professionals based on the LinkedIn report. It’s crucial to know how successful L&D programs have been in objective, measurable terms.
Traditionally, this type of analysis has been done in alignment with Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model, developed in the 1950s. It’s a useful tool; however, as this Chief Learning Officer article points out, too often, it’s not used effectively enough to focus on actual outcomes. That’s an important area of focus for L&D pros hoping to tangibly demonstrate value.
Learning and development are, and should be, top priorities for any HR department and all organizations. But it’s insightful to know what specific L&D priorities professionals are focusing on. The LinkedIn report provides some useful information on the top focuses of those professionals. Here, we looked at delivering insights on internal skill gaps and tracking skill development. Next post, we’ll look at accessing skill competencies and understanding the impact of technology.