How to Connect Employee Skills With Organizational Strategy

• 5 min read

Learn how organizations can align learning strategy to business goals effectively

When you look at your employees, do you see the skill set that is best suited to your organization? The skills that your business needs in order to succeed?

If not, are you working towards hiring new talent and training your current employees so that they start on that trajectory?

We tend to take a wide look at various components when defining our business strategy, but often, looking inwards is missed. Your employees are the heart of your organization, but are you connecting their skills with your organization’s strategy?

Aligning Your Learning Strategy to Business Goals

According to L&D guru, Josh Bersin, only 10-15% of companies have well-developed learning programs that are properly aligned with strategy and desired business outcomes.

In contrast, organizations that align training with their business goals witness upwards of a 40% increase in their key business metrics than those that don’t. So why the disconnect?

Organizational goals are often fluid and change at a moment’s notice, in reaction to changes in the market. As a result, L&D teams can often be unsure where to put their efforts and how to align their learning strategy in a way that will result in the best outcomes for the business.

How you can rectify this:

  1. Take the time to regularly meet with department heads and business leaders to analyze their problems and goals.
  2. Align your learning strategy with your organization’s overall KPIs.
  3. Make decisions based upon data in order to make a positive impact.

Remember that your learning strategy should be a live document that can adapt to the changing needs of the business, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse – after all, you can’t make a positive impact on something that you can’t define.

Related: 8 Steps to Increasing Learning Efficiency Through the Rise of People Analytics

Skill Mapping to Reduce Hiring Costs

Business leaders are moving away from relying on external hires to drive growth and, instead, casting their eye internally to develop their existing workforce.

With the high cost of rehiring, organizations are realizing the need to analyze employee skills, uncover skills gaps, and provide education aimed at bridging them.

Companies could minimize or even solve their skills gap problems by leveraging training and development instead of trying to hire their way out of the problem.

Research from the Work Institute shows that the average cost of employee turnover is 33% of the position’s salary, which is approximately $20,000 for a job paying $60,000 a year. However, according to new data from Lighthouse Research & Advisory, 95% of learning professionals say that it takes less than $10,000 to reskill someone for another job.

In light of these findings, 81% of learning professionals say that upskilling and reskilling the workforce is becoming a necessity in their organization.

While learning professionals can often be heavily reliant on manager observations to identify worker skills, a wide variety of research says that humans are inherently biased. L&D professionals are in the ideal position to help employers solve this skills gap problem, and it’s time to step up as strategic partners of the business.

As a result of this, learning departments are turning to AI-powered analysis to accurately identify where their employees need upskilling, and discover opportunities to reskill them for other roles using adaptive learning.

Related: Future Proof Your Business by Upskilling and Reskilling Your Workforce

Empower Your Learners with Personalized Learning Strategies

Despite instilling a love of learning into your community of learners, they can often be held back by an uncertainty of where to start or in what direction to go.

We’ve found that there can often be an internal disconnect, however, as most stakeholders don’t see where their approach to learning can change.

When asked for the reasons that prevented their workers from preparing for the future, business leaders’ most frequently cited workers’ fear of change. However, workers most commonly believed that the responsibility for preparing for the future fell squarely on them and they were unsure of where to start.

In addition, Brandon Hall Group identified the top 3 barriers in developing and managing competencies and skills in their Competency and Skills Development Survey 2019. Their findings revealed the barriers as; managers not offering enough feedback and coaching, executives not aligned on how to develop competencies and skills across the organization, and no long-term plan for identifying the talent and associated skills for the future.

To help remedy these issues, it’s important to provide a personalized learning experience for your learners that clearly guides them in the direction that will positively impact the business and their own personal growth. Similarly, a sophisticated Learning Platform should be adopted in order to collect data that can influence how business stakeholders manage the training of their people.

Related: How To Create Engaging e-Learning: 10 Highly Effective Strategies For e-Learning Professionals

Where you can Turn – Solutions in the Market

This is where AI-powered Learning Platforms come into their own, offering tailored learning experiences at scale and allowing you to effectively report on progress.

The true power of AI is only realized the more there is interaction with the platform and it begins to learn what works and what doesn’t for both learners and admins. In the case of skills identification and development, this task has traditionally fallen on learning professionals and it failed to give the learner a say in what skills they wanted to grow.

This top-down assignment of courses resulted in a critical exclusion of the learner’s input. However, Learning Platforms are now enabling learners to identify which skills they want to grow within their learning environment and then have the platform serve up related content.

As learners engage (or flag suggestions as irrelevant) the platform builds an understanding of what is being consumed and further refines what it serves up, while also curating relevant external content.

On the admin side, this begins to take away the burden of finding content relevant for each individual learner. The learner’s input also helps to guide learning managers to create a more thorough view of what their learners want to develop and use this to further support what is being delivered in the platform; making smarter content curation for their learning and development possible at scale.

From an organizational standpoint, this starts to address the important role upskilling and reskilling will play as roles and business structures change, and ensure learning effectiveness.

Going forward, as organizations put further importance on linking personal skills development to broader business performance, we expect this to, ultimately, facilitate broader, organization-wide optimization strategies.

“We are at a point where individualized and analytically-driven skills development can facilitate a broader, organization-wide optimization strategy for new and existing talent – now firms need to feed this into redeployment options and break down functional silos to open the whole organization to L&D-fueled employee mobility potential. Optimization expands employee career horizons and lets management determine where an employee’s interests best align with business goals to drive the most value for the wider organization.”
Zachary Chertok, Analyst at Aberdeen Group

Related: Docebo 7.8 brings personalized learning full circle

Final Thoughts

The L&D department’s work is never done. Just as the market never remains static, you shouldnt be afraid to adapt your learning strategy to the new demands of the business.

Should your people not have the skills necessary to ensure that your organization reaches its business goals, ensure that you’re primed and ready to identify how your learning strategy can work to change this.

To see how you can do this at scale, take our AI-powered Learning Platform for a test drive and prepare yourself and your teams for the unknown.

Related: How to Leverage Motivation in Your Learning Strategy