The Skills Gap –  The Correlation Between Training & the Skills Gap – Part III

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Hire for talent, train for skill. Kristoffer Lundberg, of Insurtech Insights, says, “Skill is [the] ability to complete a task, like sales, accounting, or management. Talent, however, is the behavioral foundation that allows you to develop and perform the skill” (Medium).

Companies that are willing to hire people with the right intelligence, background, attitude, values, and instincts and train them for specific skills don’t need to worry about a skills gap. The same idea holds true for upskilling employees when things change.  If you made the right hires, you can teach the right skills.

Of course, this method only succeeds when your training is targeted and effective. According to a Training Magazine report, U.S. companies spend an average $4.5 billion on training and development programs. For the investment you make,  you need to ensure training is effective!

Case Study

Take international business analytics software and services giant SAS, for example. With over 19,000 highly-skilled employees and an extremely agile industry with which to keep up, SAS has embraced training as a necessary part of their mission. Says Shannon Heath, senior communications specialist, “Knowledge workers never want to be stagnant, so SAS provides opportunities for growth to keep our employees challenged, motivated, and engaged” (Monster). Among the L&D offerings at SAS are:

  • Highly-Skilled and Emerging Leadership programs
  • Career mentoring
  • A career resource center
  • An academic program for sales and technical enablement. 
    • This provides both in-class and on-the-job training to set recent graduates up for success before they move into their full-time roles.

With such a high commitment to their employees’ knowledge, success, and career advancement, SAS has established a healthy company culture and enjoys high employee satisfaction ratings (glassdoor).

What Employees Say about Training

Unfortunately, not all companies are getting it right.  In fact, according to a Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning survey, only one out of every five people would recommend their organization’s learning and development opportunities. To make it worse, the other four respondents weren’t neutral about it, nearly half said they wouldn’t recommend their company’s programs.

So, what are these companies doing wrong?

The survey connects employee dissatisfaction directly with their employer’s training delivery method. Respondents cited traditional classroom teaching, the lecture-based method with no application opportunities, experiential learning, or real-world impact, as the major source of their frustration. On the flip side, businesses that provide sophisticated, interactive, hands-on training programs tend to have more vigorous, productive cultures and an adaptable, engaged workforce (Forbes).

Employees value training opportunities as much, if not more, than their employers do. Consider the following statistics:

  • 74% of workers want to learn new skills.
  • 59% of millennials claim L&D opportunities are extremely important when deciding whether to apply for a position.
  • 74% of surveyed employees feel they aren’t reaching full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.
  • 76% of millennials believe professional development opportunities are one of the most important aspects of company culture.

We are all life long learners and if our learning needs aren’t met at our current company, we start to look elsewhere.  With the skills gap being such a huge issue, this exodus of critical and skilled employees can cost companies millions of dollars. 

Using a virtual learning environment, like Jigsaw Interactive, you get high levels of engagement and hands on training, the ability to assess learning and a complete understanding of what your team did during training.

 Small group learning is essential for companies and easy in Jigsaw.  Using Jigsaw’s fully functioning and customizable break out rooms, your training team can build project and activity based learning that focuses on specific skills/needs of the team being trained.