Supporting Canadian Skills-to-Employment

    Strategic upskilling and reskilling are key to overcoming organizational development obstacles.

    Overcoming Obstacles in Organizational Skills Development: A Comprehensive Guide

    In the rapidly evolving business landscape, skills development is a critical aspect of organizational success. However, many organizations face significant challenges in implementing effective skills development programs. This article will explore the obstacles to skills development and provide practical solutions, supported by relevant market data and insights from the Skills Council of Canada (SCC).

    The Challenges of Skills Development

    According to a McKinsey Global Survey, 87 percent of executives reported experiencing skill gaps in their workforce or anticipated them within a few years. Yet, less than half of these executives had a clear plan to address the problem. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified these challenges, forcing companies to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and reevaluate their workforce's skills.

    The Need for Skills Development

    The need for skills development is driven by several factors. Technological advancements and new ways of working are disrupting traditional job roles and the skills required to perform them. The McKinsey Global Institute estimated in 2017 that as many as 375 million workers worldwide would need to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 due to automation and artificial intelligence.

    The Role of SCC in Skills Development

    The Skills Council of Canada (SCC) plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. SCC provides a vast array of skills development resources, including over 4,000 courses supporting various industries, job roles, essential skills, soft skills, technical skills, and vocational skills. These resources are designed to help Canadians become job-ready and address the skills gaps in the workforce.

    Overcoming Obstacles in Skills Development

    Based on the insights from McKinsey and the experiences of SCC, here are some strategies to overcome obstacles in organizational skills development:

    1. Identify Critical Skills: Rapidly identify the skills your recovery business model depends on. Specify the exact contributions of these roles to value creation and reimagine how their day-to-day work will change as a result of value shifts.
    2. Invest in Upskilling: Now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling. Developing this muscle will also strengthen companies for future disruptions.
    3. Tailored Learning Journeys: As companies prepare to reimagine and ramp up their business models, it is important to go deeper on strategic workforce planning. Leaders need a detailed view not only of the core activities that critical groups will begin undertaking in the next 12 to 18 months but also of which skills each of these groups will need.
    4. Start Now, Test Rapidly, and Iterate: Simply getting started on reskilling programs makes organizations better prepared for potential future role disruption—and is preferable to waiting.
    5. Act Like a Small Company: The reskilling programs at small organizations (fewer than 1,000 employees) are often more successful than those at large ones. Smaller companies are often more successful at following agile principles—making bold moves more quickly because they don’t have to shift around large groups of people to try something new.
    6. Protect Learning Budgets: Companies should not cut their employee-training budgets. According to the Training Industry Report, US data during and after the Great Recession showed a significant drop in overall training expenditures in 2009 and 2010, followed by a surge in 2011 and a drop back to 2008 levels in 2012.

    In conclusion, overcoming obstacles in organizational skills development requires a strategic approach, a commitment to learning, and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. With these strategies in place, organizations can equip their workforce with the skills needed to thrive in the modern business landscape.

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