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Keep up with change and fill skills gaps with effective training and development

Over the last two years, there has been a significant change for both individuals and organisations.

Organisations with a strong digital presence or those who could pivot fast, thrived the most over the last two years. And they did so by adopting new technologies and agile ways of working, which enabled them to continue operating and ensure they did not lose competitive advantage.

Digital transformation is now essential

Digital transformation has accelerated in most organisations. But it was only organisations with effective digital strategies in place and employees with the right skills, who could adapt faster and keep up with the pace of change.

And it seems organisations are still struggling to adapt. In April 2022, we conducted research with 250 business, HR and L&D leaders working in large organisations and found that 30% of respondents said they are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, including digital transformation.

However, organisations have the opportunity to mitigate against this risk through talent retention and attraction by investing in learning and development programmes, as revealed by our research. As we found that 42% of respondents said retention and attraction was a key driver for demand in learning and development within their organisations.

Fill skills gaps through upskilling, reskilling and cross-skilling

Most organisations acknowledge that retaining valuable internal talent and knowledge is a critical component for addressing their skills gaps. And organisations are still struggling with this issue, as evidenced by our research. We found that 40% of respondents said they are seeing a lack of employees in certain areas due to skills gaps. While 31% said they do not have enough employees for some jobs.

But organisations can fill these gaps through upskilling, reskilling and cross-skilling internal employees, which our research found is a priority for organisations. We wanted to understand what the business is demanding most, when it comes to learning and development, now and what

they anticipate would be driving it in two years’ time.

Topping the list for both timeframes was upskilling, with 51% and 54% respectively. While cross-skilling was third for now with 41%, however in two years’ time it moved into second place, as 47% respondents anticipate demand will increase.

Retraining existing employees has also been revealed to be more cost effective for organisations. As 45% of respondents said onboarding is more costly to an organisation than retraining or training.

Create ‘T-shaped’ and ‘comb-shaped’ employees through cross-skilling

Developing employees with multiple skills through cross-skilling is becoming increasingly popular. As it provides employees with the opportunity to learn additional skills on top of their usual scope of work or role responsibilities. This is especially beneficial for organisations if they are recruiting, because these employees can help fill skills gaps and support a smoother transition.

By cross-skilling employees, organisations can develop ‘t-shaped and comb-shaped’ professionals. These are professionals that have developed specific expertise and skills in one area and have broad knowledge in other areas. And this beneficial to organisations because teams with multiple skills can:

  • Improve productivity
  • Adapt to change with agility
  • Optimise organisational effectiveness

How can ILX Group support your organisation?

We are an Accredited Training and Consulting Organisation with over 30 years of experience delivering quality and effective consulting and training solutions to organisations of all sizes, across many different industries.

We are a leading global of provider of project and programme management (PPM) training, but we can also deliver transformational solutions for multiple teams within IT service management, change management, risk management, business finance and digital marketing.

Want to learn more?

Visit our website to download our paper: ‘The learning and development challenges facing organisations – both now and in the future’