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How to Build and Deploy an Effective Skill-Based Training Program for Your Organization

In October 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a report titled – The Future of Jobs – 2020 Report. The report offered a lot of interesting insights in terms of how the job-market is set to change in the next few years and the impact of the disruptions caused by Covid-19 would play a significant role in the way people perceive white-collar jobs. You can read the full report here. One of the most important sections in the report focuses on the high skill gaps that exist in job roles focused on in-demand skills. Some statistics that are quoted from the report:

  • Companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less

  • 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job

  • This is a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018

Another set of statistics that will be of interest for both recruiters and L&D professionals is that:

  • The window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labor market

  • For those workers set to remain in their roles, the share of core skills that will change in the next five years is 40%

  • 50% of all employees will need reskilling (up by 4%)

In this blog, we will be looking at how organizations can adopt steps to improve employee performance by deploying skill-based training programs, which help improve their competencies. We will also look at the key barriers that prevent organizations from adopting such training programs and how organizations can deploy competency-based training solutions for their employees.

What is Skill-Based Training?

Skill-based training can primarily be classified into two categories:

  • Reskilling

  • Upskilling

Reskilling is when an employee is trained to start from the fundamentals of the subject and become efficient in mastering it. This could be learning a new language, a tech-skill like coding, learning a new programming language, or learning how to use a CRM solution.

Upskilling or refresher training programs are conducted to help employees keep themselves abreast of the latest updates and developments in their area of expertise. Employees should take a personal interest in their professional sphere of work, be curious to learn new skills, and update existing ones.

Skill-based training or competency-based training essentially helps employees perform their tasks better and faster, gives HR and L&D a chance to spot and mentor talents within the organization, and prepare them for new roles. This is a better approach than hiring talent from outside the organization. A key part of skill-based training programs is identifying the skill-gaps in employees. Unless the skill-gaps analysis is not done properly, any form of subsequent training will be ineffective.

Plugging the Skill Gaps at Work?

In this article published by consulting firm McKinsey; 87% of companies worldwide stated that they were aware that they had a skills gap in their workforce or would face a skills gap in the next couple of years.

The screenshot below is reproduced from the original article that shows the impact of the pandemic on different spheres of business and industry.

This report that is focused on the UK has lessons that could apply to leading countries globally and talks about the importance of reskilling the workforce and reducing the skills gap.

Thus, it is evident that organizations that do not focus on reskilling their employees or do not offer competency-based training will pay a heavy cost in terms of losing business as well as their talented employees.

This article from the Harvard Business Review looks at skill gaps on a global scale, examines how the youth are losing out on jobs. It also shows the measures taken by countries like Singapore, Germany, and Bangladesh in nurturing talent, and how these countries are training people, and helping them improve the quality of their lives.

Key Barriers in Designing and Deploying Skill-Based Training Programs

Some of the barriers or challenges that L&D teams face internally when attempting to deploy competency-based training programs are listed below:

  • Disagreement among the members of the senior management in terms of learning culture and training needs

  • Lack of a clear budget or direction in terms of how the management wishes to approach employee training and re-skilling

  • Poor prior experiences with external eLearning vendors

  • HR team and project managers struggling to identify skill gaps among existing employees

  • Focus on client deliverables and less time to focus on emotional well-being and knowledge of employees

  • Technical challenges involved in training a primarily remote-working group of employees

Best Practices to Keep in Mind to Design and Deploy Skill-Based Training Programs

Some tips to follow when working on creating and deploying skill or competency-based training programs:

  • Be thorough with the training needs analysis (TNA)

  • Identify the correct employees / learners for the training program

  • Present clear and measurable learning goals and objectives. Also known as SMART learning objectives

  • Offer a clear support system that helps employees balance their daily work schedule and their training program with ease

  • Think of the “larger picture” invest in employee learning and mental health

  • Have “videos” as a key element of your training content to improve retention of learning

  • If microlearning is a good fit for the training content use it as a training strategy

  • LMS, LXP, or dedicated mobile learning app, these are all mediums. Ensure that the training content is top-notch. Worry about the tech to deliver it later

  • Use strategies that foster interactive learning instead of boring template-driven courses

  • At a time when YouTube offers a whole lot of content for free, build a learning solution that is easily accessible and connects with the learners

  • Align job-roles, competencies, and learning goals properly

  • Allow ample time for your employees to work on dummy projects or guided actual projects before you let them work independently in their new roles

The Road Ahead

We are at an interesting juncture in time. The pandemic has forever changed our perception of life, work, and family. For many people, it has given them a rude wake-up call to re-invent themselves. It is important for individuals to remember that the path of self-learning should never stop. It is important to learn new skills, update existing skills, and be relevant in the job-market. As automation makes lives easier, it is also eating into jobs. Employees should learn constantly, innovate continuously, and stay ahead of the competition. From an organizational viewpoint, companies should provide a conducive learning environment that fosters workplace happiness and keeps the team-members motivated.

At S4Carlisle, we work closely with organizations and training vendors to develop customized skill-based training and competency courses. From end-to-end course design and deployment to converting ILTs to eLearning content, we offer a wide variety of services. Get in touch with us at to learn how we can collaborate to design and deploy a skill-based competency-focused training program for your employees.


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