Why is there a Skills Gap in the First Place?
There are two macro trends happening that greatly affect the future of corporate-based training: formal education and corporate structure.
Formal education in the United States is falling short of the needs of today’s companies. According to the GSV2020 Report, nearly 40% of U.S. college graduates believe that their school did not prepare them well for employment. [JC4] Universities continue to teach the basic skills needed to run a business, but companies need employees with highly specialized skills to compete in today’s business environment.
Skills needed for IT systems integration, selling to online niche markets, and expertise in cloud-based business models are in high demand; however, universities are not providing these technical skills to the market. Most businesses have realized that the only way for employees to gain these skills is for the companies themselves to become educators.
Companies are evolving from the hierarchy structure where an employee works alone and reports to one boss. Instead, companies are flattening out their structure and focusing on teams led by a coach or mentor. This strategy creates a continuous learning environment that feeds the needs of both the company and its employees.
Beyond companies attempting to fill a skills shortage, employees themselves want to learn; millennials, in particular, are desperate for development opportunities. Most employees no longer see moving up the corporate ladder as their main goal, but instead, seek new and fulfilling experiences as they move through their working life, according to Bersin.
For companies to close the skills gap and provide employees with the development opportunities they crave, corporate training must become a permanent – and streamlined – effort. Companies have taken note and have created ongoing training programs, but where many excel at creating generalized content, they lack a personalized development process to see employees through the learning experience.
The Future Is e-Learning
A strong corporate training program creates steady benefits for companies including stronger employee/employer relationships, a deeper learning culture both internally and among partners and customers, and it gives organizations an enhanced ability to compete with other businesses.
For companies to earn training success without wasting time or money, they must look beyond what they have done in the past and look to their future needs to create a long-term learning environment.