Learning & Development

Boeing Invests $100 Million in Employee Development

The unemployment rate in the United States has been maintaining historic lows over the past several months. The unemployment rate recently dipped below 4%, the lowest rate since 2000. That’s good news for the economy and great news for jobseekers and employees.Boeing
But it’s not so great news for companies that need to fill key positions, especially positions requiring talent and skills that may be specialized and in short supply.

A Looming Skills Gap

Many employers also point to a “skills gap” as an additional factor that makes hiring difficult. A skills gap is the gulf between the skills and qualifications an employer is looking for in certain positions and the skills and qualifications the available applicants possess.
A shifting labor market means that companies need to take action. That’s exactly what one large company—Boeing—is doing. It’s investing heavily in employee development to tackle the skills gap.
Boeing recently announced the details of a $100 million investment in employee education. Valerie Bolden-Barrett reported on its move in an article for HR Dive.

Crowdsourcing Development Moves

The company did more than simply put money on the table, though. It took another interesting, and innovative, move to ensure that this money would have maximum impact: crowdsourcing.
Bolden-Barrett reports that Boeing crowdsourced employees for ideas on how to invest the money. Over 40,000 respondents offered suggestions like improving digital literacy and understanding what trends will impact future jobs in the manufacturing industry.
Employees, after all, are closest to the work and are most likely to have the most relevant insights on what they need to achieve increasingly higher levels of performance in their current, or future, jobs.

Other Companies Also Making Investments

Boeing, of course, isn’t the only company taking steps to ensure that employees have the skills and talent they need to perform in their jobs.
“Boeing joins several other companies that have also expanded their development opportunities,” writes Bolden-Barrett. Walmart is one example she covers. It recently announced a returnship program—an innovative way to reacclimate employees who have been away, perhaps on a personal or medical leave, back into the workplace.
“Investing in employees and creating a culture of development can potentially increase engagement, retention and productivity — as well as future proof the company against coming disruption,” Bolden-Barrett writes.

Staff Matters

When the job market favors employers, companies can often simply dip into the existing pool of available employees and pluck out the top candidates. But in a tight labor market, employers are recognizing the need to invest in development and are taking the initiative to train the employees they already have to do the jobs that need doing.
When companies like Boeing start spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee training and development, other companies are bound to take notice. Staff matters—a highly developed staff matters even more. It’s an investment worth making.

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