Many companies and industries are experiencing the effects of a global skills shortage, with some employers finding themselves unable to source qualified professionals to fill vacancies or perform to the required standard. Not only is there a talent shortage but many industries, particularly in digital or technology industries, are finding that their current employees are falling behind as the industry is constantly evolving. Without relevant reskilling and upskilling programmes, employees are at risk of falling behind. For any business or organisation in any sector, closing skills gaps is essential for growth and progression. In fact, according to LinkedIn filling the skills gap is a top priority for L&D professionals as 64% said that reskilling the current workforce to fill skills gaps is a priority. If you are ready to close the problematic skills gaps within your organisation, read our top tips on how to do so with the help of an e-learning platform.
How can an e-learning platform help close skills gaps?
Identifying skills gaps
The first step that any business or organisation should take is to identify where skills gaps exist. Although a manager may uncover these naturally if they notice an employee isn’t performing well in certain areas, a reliable and quantifiable system is the only way to accurately track employee skills.
One of the best ways to efficiently identify where skills training is required is to ask employees to complete assessments. Although this can be difficult to administer when done offline or manually, it’s a straightforward and efficient process when using a learning management system (LMS). L&D managers simply need to create an assessment using the e-learning platform; once created results will be automatically formulated using reporting tools in your LMS.
Assessments needn’t be too formal when using an LMS as there are plenty of options when it comes to the type of content that is available. For example, they can be fun and light-hearted using gamification elements such as a quiz, a simulation assessment or matching the word to the definition.
Alternatively, employers may choose to give their employees the opportunity to highlight their own skills gaps. Asking employees where they think their skills are lacking and where they would like to improve has proven to provide reassurance that their employer is showing a genuine interest in helping progress their personal development. Using an LMS or learning experience platform (LXP), you can create polls and discussion groups in which employees can make their own suggestions and upskilling requests.
What is upskilling? To upskill employees is to offer them the opportunity for continuous learning and to build on their current skill set through training.
Build and define competency frameworks
Most businesses or organisations will have existing competency frameworks. However, without the right L&D technology, these frameworks can become diluted. Using an LMS or a performance management system such as Totara Perform, you can create competencies within the system and use these to map skills to people. These competencies can be linked to forms of achievement, such as completing a course.
Using a competency profile, managers can track progress and ensure that tasks are being carried out and improvements are being made. Using an e-learning platform provides managers and L&D leaders with hard evidence, demonstrating whether actions are being taken to close skills gaps. If the performance of an employee doesn’t align with the required competencies, this can easily be identified meaning managers can be proactive in offering any help or additional guidance.
Set employees on a custom learning path
Once skills gaps have been identified, managers or L&D leaders can set employees on a personalised learning path. It’s likely that each employee will have their own strengths/weaknesses and varying skill sets which makes it difficult for L&D managers to manually create learning plans that are unique and relevant to each employee. However, with the help of an e-learning platform, you can create a learning plan that specifically targets the required learning of each individual.
With an LMS such as Totara Learn, you can create customised templates, adding relevant courses and lessons which will help learners improve the skills they are lacking. Ensuring that learning is personal to each employee will yield better results as the recommended learning path will feel relevant and therefore more engaging, resulting in higher completion rates and knowledge retention.
Ensure your e-learning content applies to a range of skills
Encouraging employees to complete upskilling programmes only works if these programmes don’t contain generic, irrelevant content. Creating a custom learning path or presenting employees with upskilling courses and lessons will only see results and improvement if the content is relevant to them. For example, if a salesperson is demonstrating a lack of skills in a particular function in their job role yet they are presented with a generic sales upskilling lesson, they won’t see any benefit.
Take the time to ensure that the content in your L&D programmes is varied, catering to a wide range of upskilling requirements and job roles and functions. Additionally, it’s important that content is regularly updated so that your workforce isn’t spending valuable time revisiting irrelevant and outdated material. When using digital e-learning content, updates and amendments are easy to make and adding or removing content from the library is straightforward.
Encourage skill sharing
If a new starter has come on board without the necessary skills to perform well in their role, there may be other employees with the same or a similar job role who can share their experiential knowledge. Informal skills sharing can be done conversationally through an LXP via online discussion groups or forums.
Encouraging employees to share their skills whilst asking them to complete training programmes is perhaps the most efficient way to close skills gaps. This approach also creates a sense of community – whether employees are working in an office or remotely.
Don’t limit employees to upskilling within current roles
Employees covet a business or organisation which encourages career progression and allows them to learn new skills that aren’t necessarily limited to their current job function. Workers want to expand their current skillset and studies have shown that 77% are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain. Although it can seem counterproductive to encourage employees to learn new skills that aren’t strictly necessary for their current role, it is inevitable that if they want to enrol in upskilling programmes but can’t do so through their current company, they will do so elsewhere.
Having well-rounded employees with an expansive range of skills will benefit the business by closing skills gaps across a number of roles and discourage high employee turnover. Using an LMS gives employees the autonomy to enrol themselves on their desired upskilling course, housed within your business’ e-learning content library.
Start closing skills gaps with the right e-learning platform
By now, you should hopefully have some good skills training ideas to weave into your L&D strategy. In order to put these ideas into full effect, you’ll need the right e-learning platform for your business or organisation.
Take note of the functionality and features mentioned in this blog; if your chosen e-learning platform doesn’t deliver on these, you may need to search for an appropriate platform. If you need help determining which platform is right for you or need some more advice on how to upskill employees with an e-learning platform – get in touch with one of our e-learning experts at Hubken today.