Career paths within an organization are often unclear. Opportunities for advancement also frequently seem inequitable. These realities help explain why most people who look for new jobs do not start by applying for open positions within their current organizations.
Losing talent simply because employees do not consider upward or lateral moves is extremely concerning for employers, especially considering the current labor shortage. Offering development opportunities like reskilling and upskilling allows employers to put the power of talent mobility in their employees’ hands. For employees, participating in reskilling and upskilling programs lets them craft their own narratives on how to succeed at work.
The Emerging Need for Talent Mobility
The lack of development opportunities is a significant reason employees leave one employer for another. Employees want to reskill, upskill and be recognized for developing their competencies. If the organization where they currently work is not providing those opportunities, employees are likely to search for an organization that does.
Here, it is important to understand that talent mobility is not limited to vertical promotions. Ascending on an organization’s management chart may matter to some employees, but building upon capabilities within an existing position or moving horizontally into an entirely new role might be even more appealing to other employees.
Recognizing and meeting the need for all forms of talent mobility will give an organization a leg up on competitors. Taking a flexible approach to talent mobility also enables employees’ success, helps employees feel more fulfilled, increases retention and empowers employees to carve out their own career paths within the organization.
Understandably, leaders may worry that employees who develop their skills will leave anyway. However, acting on this fear and denying training opportunities that are mutually beneficial for the organization and employees due to this fear is counterproductive. A better way forward is creating and maintaining an organizational culture that supports employee growth. Despite what some people believe, learning and development increases employee engagement and retention by investing in employees’ careers and building a strong sense of a supportive community.
If an employee does leave, it should be because meeting their career goals is not possible within the organization, not because they feel like they lack opportunities to pursue their interests. Organizations should empower their people to build their skills based on their passions and goals. Organizations should also move employees into roles where they can thrive by using the skills they acquire. Ultimately, leaders can keep employees fulfilled in their positions by providing them with opportunities to grow and move laterally or vertically within the organization.
How Skills-Based Learning Creates Talent Mobility
Whether an employee wants to reskill or upskill to stay up to date in their constantly evolving profession, take on more responsibility or completely change positions, skills-based learning offers them the best options. Documenting the learning with digital credentials can help employees communicate their accomplishments and qualifications.
Skills-based learning allows workers to explore their passions and to prepare themselves for career moves, particularly horizontal or vertical moves within the organization. Another way of saying this is that skills-based learning builds a robust set of skills employees can access to meet their career aspirations now and well into the future.
Focusing on acquiring and developing skills accelerates employees’ professional growth by refining their existing abilities and giving them capabilities to succeed in future roles. Skills-based training also enhances transparent and equitable access to job opportunities because employees are not being evaluated solely on their current position or past experience. Instead, they are being evaluated on their proven skills, which encourages transparent decision making and helps build an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Organizations that want to facilitate skills-based learning can start by assessing an employee’s current competencies to determine which gaps need to be filled. The next step is creating a personalized development plan to increase the employee’s proficiencies. The best development plans will align with lists of measurable skills for roles within the organization.
An organization can also make the use of digital credentials a critical tool in its skills-based learning arsenal. Digital credentials show an employer that an employee has developed the skills necessary for a given role. Additionally, digital credentials encourage recognizing employees’ accomplishments and give an organization a dataset that can be mined to deepen its talent pool.
The credentials document current employees’ skills and career interests. The credentials also highlight strengths across the workforce and reveal skills gaps, thereby guiding effective allocation of training and development resources, suggesting best matches of mentors with protégés, and pointing to where injections of new skills development opportunities can yield benefits.
By investing in skill development, managers have a better understanding of what an employee’s interests are and what their expertise can be. More to the point, centering the employee’s current status and long-term goals helps an employee perform better in their present role and also puts them on the path to succeed in roles they aspire to take on down the road.
For the organization as a whole, providing skills-based learning opportunities better activates workers around emerging operational and strategic priorities. Managers are empowered to see the possibilities and new opportunities for their employees based on the employees’ competencies. Both managers and employees are also given the proper tools to make effective talent management decisions.
Empower Employees to Craft Their Own Professional Narratives
Each employee wants to choose their own career path. Skills-based learning best equips them to do this by empowering them to take on more responsibilities as they hone or acquire the capabilities needed to fill a more-senior role or make a horizontal move into a new position.
Especially during a time of increased turnover and widespread career transitions, skills development programs are crucial for organizations that want to retain employees by meeting their needs to pursue aspirations and have fulfilling careers. Taking a skills-based approach to internal talent mobility is a foolproof way for organizations to improve retention by empowering employee success.
01 May 2022
HR News Article