Skill gaps are more apparent than ever. With the onset of automation and digitalisation disrupting the business world, companies are seeking ways to develop their current talent to close the skill gaps resulting from these ongoing workplace developments.
Skill gaps within specific roles, departments and entire organisations are forcing companies to reskill their current talent to bridge the gap between held and desired skills. A global survey by LinkedIn found that 64% of learning and development professionals say reskilling their existing workforce to fill skills gaps is a greater priority now than ever before.
There are several ways to overcome the effects of these workplace innovations; possibly the most cost-efficient and effective option is to develop courses that target your current pool of talent. This blog will discuss nine steps to reskill your workforce through developing courses targeting specific skill gaps. In doing so, you can boost overall performance and motivation to reach your company's set goals and ensure your employees continue to thrive.
Define the focus
Once you have identified skill gaps within your company, you can focus on what your course will deliver to its learners. Whether it is for a team or an individual, understanding the reason for your learning is a crucial part of any successful course. Conducting a skill gap analysis should assist you in identifying the soft and hard skills that need developing. From here, you can work backwards to develop your learning around its focus.
Let's say you have identified a skill gap among your sales team; specifically, they aren't reaching set sales numbers, and you've noticed their confidence isn't where it should be. There may be many reasons their confidence isn't where it needs to be, so by conducting a skills gap analysis, you can reveal whether it is a physical, cognitive, emotional or technological skill gap. This analysis will help you target who is falling behind and why; once you have done so, you can create your course around the needs of the specific team member/s and their needs.
A course that focuses on a specific issue may not necessarily lead to relevance. You need to ensure the course aligns with your company goals to get the most out of investing in learning. Here, you also want to alter your courses' focus and content to fit best the individuals you plan to develop. Understanding that every employee learns differently, has different experiences and holds differing talents is essential. You can ensure a highly relevant course by aligning your learning to not just your company's goals but also to how your learner learns.
Continuing the sales example, you already know your focus – to boost confidence in your sales team. But you also want to align it to your workplace goals; maybe it is to bring in $250,000 worth of revenue in the next two years, so you want to complete the course within the next 6 months to give you enough time to reach your set goal. Moreso, you have discovered that the learners you wish to target prefer practical learning. Practical learning invites physical tasks, so you should develop a course that includes scenario tasks, group tasks, and so on to boost your sales team's confidence to meet the overall company goal. The more specific you are here, the more relevant you are.
A course that doesn't deliver any personal benefits for the individual learner/s tends to be unmotivating. Unmotivating courses lead to having only fractions of the content memorised - if any at all. Here, you need to let the learner know what they will get out of the course and how it will benefit their career. Another option here is to invite room for a coach to be included throughout the learning process to provide individualised support. A coach makes the learner feel like a crucial part of the team as their learning is altered to their specific needs, making them appear heard and understood.
For instance, the learner may be struggling with their technical skills. Supplying them with a coach who knows about the specific skills that need developing will ensure support through their learning experience. This one-on-one support will make the individual feel like their development is vital to the company's success. On the other hand, being up-front with the learner and letting them know their skill development and role is assisting in the company's goal achievement will likely support them to appreciate and complete the learning experience.
Select and gather course content
Once you have discovered what your focus is, what skills you want to develop and how to motivate each learner best, you will need to select and gather the relevant information that will benefit the learner. You probably have a mountain of information that needs sorting and correlating into a viable and well-structured course. So, selecting the information that makes sense to the specific learner is essential. You don't want to include known knowledge or repetitive and redundant information – you can do this by completing pre-assessment evaluations to reveal what your learner already knows. Pre-assessments should allow you to cut out a portion of your current content, and you can begin organising it in a manner that makes sense.
This step may take some time and will differ from cohort to cohort. Tools such as Guroo Producer's Learning Canvas help you scope and lay out your learners’ needs to create a plan for your learning. Utilising learning tools here will ensure that your course makes sense and has an end goal to carry learning back into the workplace.
Structure your course
Once you have laid out what content will be in your course and the reasons behind it, you will need to structure your course content so it makes sense to the learner. Imagine being given a course that is a big chunk of text and nothing more; you would be overwhelmed, it would likely confuse you rather than clarify for you, and you would be unmotivated. That's why structure is important – so learners can better understand the flow of information.
You may include several different learning tasks here, whether that be videos, scenario-based, reading, infographics, lectures, or group work. Guroo Producer's Author is an authoring tool that allows you to make and deliver learning that focuses on the content rather than the creation process. Tools like this will enable you to provide learning in a way that surrounds the content, which is the most crucial part of any learning experience.
You want to use the most effective and engaging delivery methods to translate your learning into workplace behaviour. You can choose to use virtual, online or blended learning here. Each differs in its way and should vary for each learner. Choose the most appropriate delivery method for your learner, the course content and your available expenditure.
Editing your course
Just because you have your course content in place doesn't mean you are finished with development. As the course creator, you want to run through it yourself, as your learner would. Take the time to read the content and complete the set tasks so you can make sure it links together cohesively. You may decide to run the course through a series of people before implementing it to get an outside view of its effectiveness. Here, it is vital to trial your course before launching it to ensure it is of the highest quality.
Launch the course
Choose a format, time and place to launch your course. Whether online, at work or after hours – this is the most critical step as it will determine whether or not your learner is investing the required attention it needs.
For example, you may choose to have learners complete the course online in their own homes after hours. They are likely to be distracted after a day of work, have no time and rush through it as they have outside responsibilities, and be unmotivated as you expect them to work off the clock. Instead, you could implement a program that allows for a self-paced learning journey where learners can access the program in their own time at a place of their choice. This will allow them to cut out time where they can instead of interrupting their already busy schedule.
Feedback is the most precious resource when designing a course. It allows you to get direct ideas, thoughts and opinions on your course so you can alter it to best suit the next learner. By getting real-world feedback, you can develop your course over time to ensure you have created the most effective and result-driven learning experience for your learners.
These are the steps that Guroo Producer follow when creating and implementing a course to close skill gaps in the workplace. For more information on developing and creating courses, visit www.gurooproducer.com.