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With the advent of learning, AI, automation, and changing customer demands, organizations are upgrading their offerings to meet the current market demands. Shopping malls are being replaced by e-commerce, and classroom education is getting replaced by MOOCs. To provide these new offerings, job roles in organizations are changing. Cashiers are expected to be tech-savvy and help customers with mobile banking. Drivers are expected to follow GPS for directions and teachers and expected to take classes on webcam and answer queries over chat. As job roles are getting redefined, so are the skills required to perform them. The need for upskilling the workforce to take care of the changing job role demands is more pressing than ever. The role of L&D has to change to ensure successful upskilling of the workforce to create future-ready organizations.
Current jobs are going to transform into the future. A financial consultant will be required to assist customers in data privacy and not just on how to invest and manage their money. While assessing skills gaps in the workforce, organizations need to consider how every job will transform in the future and how it will impact the competencies required to perform those jobs. As businesses transform to meet changing customer demands and technology enables automation of jobs that are simple and repetitive, a lot of present jobs will go out of existence, and many new jobs will come into existence. Additionally, most of the jobs will transform to accommodate changing customer demands. Changing job responsibilities will require new competencies to perform them. While at the same time, a lot of competencies will become redundant due to the advent of technology and automation of many job-related tasks.
Organizations will need to redesign their job roles by taking into account changing customer needs and equip their workforce with the right skills and competencies that are needed to perform their new job responsibilities. The need to learn, unlearn and relearn will be of paramount importance and to make it possible targeted training would need to be provided based on individual skill gaps, trainability, and aspirations. By looking at job roles and workforce skillset through the future-lens, organizations can visualize how each job will transform in the future, which jobs will become redundant and what new jobs will come into existence.
To become future-ready, organizations will have to map the current competency framework of each job role and assess how the job will transform in the future. This followed by how that transformation will impact the current competency framework of the job role to create a future competency framework for each job role will help organizations understand what new skills the workforce needs to be trained on and what existing skills need to be unlearned as they are no longer going to be useful in the future. Identifying skill gaps in this manner will help organizations provide training that is going to be relevant in the present as well as the future.
The workforce of the future demands training that is relevant to their present and future job roles, based on individual skill gaps, and aligned with their learning capability, preference, and aspiration.
L&D has always been important to employees, but it has never been more so than it is today. Having a well-structured and updated L&D program is essential for employers looking to attract, engage, and retain the best people. For one-
The millennial & Gen Z workforce and especially high potentials want to progress quickly in their careers. They want to be a part of organizations that sincerely invests in their learning and development and has a very clear career path mapped out for them, in accordance with their individual aspirations. This expectation is likely to become more important and prevalent in the future as our working lives lengthen going forward. Furthermore, trends such as increased automation and other technology and workplace advances continue to have implications for job roles and skills needed. Employees and companies need to keep up with such changes to remain competitive.
The way L&D is carried out has changed immensely over the last decade. This change is driven by factors such as – need for higher employee engagement to develop and retain employees, targeted learning based on competencies to achieve higher ROI, and continuous learning to cope up with changing nature of work and short skill shelf life.
In the past, organizations have approached learning conventionally. Learning has mostly been top-down, on-the-job, and delivered in conventional forms such as inside a classroom. However, millennials and Gen Z have a much different relationship, expectation, and approach to learning. Learning now must be micro, mobile-first, innovative, relevant, and on-demand to meet the needs of the future. These changing and expanding expectations are a primary driving force behind the other learning and development shifts.
The workforce of today is naturally more learning agile than the workforce of any other generation. There is no place for employees having an outdated skillset. Those who are unable to keep up with the changing work and business requirements often find themselves to be obsolete in the workplace. As employees are preparing themselves for the future of work, so should organizations. The future of work demands a workforce that can learn on the go and is continuously upskilling. This new, highly learning agile workforce is very self-reliant in terms of learning, with so many avenues to upskill themselves. They are very sure of what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. Organizations simply need to comply with their learning needs to ensure that there is a synchronization between the two of them to have a long-lasting and productive relationship.
Learning is one of the topmost challenges that organizations face in 2019.
The workforce of today now rates the ‘opportunity to learn’ as among their top reasons for taking a job. Business leaders are aware that changing work practices, the longevity of career timeline, technology, skill requirements, and business models have created an enormous demand for continuous, lifelong development. Leading organizations are taking steps to deliver learning to their people in a more personal way, integrating work and learning more tightly with each other, and extending ownership for learning beyond the HR organization.
Keeping the changing workforce and organizational demands in mind, it’s pertinent to create L&D programs that are clear on what to train, who to train and how to train to successfully upskill the workforce in a way that enables the creation of future-ready organizations.
In today’s employee-driven market, where quality and skilled talent is spoiled for choice, the best way to create a future-ready workplace is by training the existing workforce on the relevant skills. Effective L&D programs are focused on identifying the competencies that are required in each job role presently and in the future. Once the organizations have created a competency framework for each job role considering the present and future competency requirements, they need to assess the existing workforce to see what competencies each of them possesses and what they lack/need to be trained on.
Next, organizations need to assess all their job roles to identify those that have or are likely to become redundant in the future.
In 2013, a highly cited study by Oxford University academics called The Future of Employment examined 702 common occupations and found that some jobs – telemarketers, tax preparers and sports referees – are at more risk than others including recreational psychologists, dentists, and physicians.
The least safe jobs
We created a framework based on the most common workplace skills and competencies and assessing their likelihood to get automated. While it’s important to identify what skills are likely to become redundant, it is also important to identify skills that are likely to become more relevant to stay competitive in the future.
An analysis of the current job market reveals that job growth is increasing for work that involves complex interactions and problem-solving and declining for transactional work and production work that converts physical materials into finished goods.
To assess which job roles in your organization are likely to stay relevant and which are likely to become redundant, organizations need to analyze the nature of work tasks that are associated with each job role.
A job may require an employee to perform the same task at low/medium/high frequency and volume or perform different tasks at low/medium/high frequency and volume. The task could be easy/moderately difficult/complex, and it could have a low/medium/high impact. These factors determine the nature of the job.
If most of the work tasks associated with a job role lean towards the left (repetitive/easy/low impact), then those jobs can be easily automated. The skills that are required to perform these jobs require comparatively lesser cognitive intelligence and learning agility. Given the simple and repetitive nature of these work tasks, they can be easily automated. Jobs such as telemarketing, assembly line work, data entry, customer service, driving, fast food cooking, etc. fall in this category. In these job roles, the employee is expected to repeat the same task again and again with precision and speed. There is no creative thinking, decision making, or problem-solving involved.
On the other end of the spectrum lie jobs that are not at all repetitive in nature, there is no readymade formula to do these jobs that will guarantee success. And there is a lot of critical thinking, analytical reasoning required to complete any given task. Most of the tasks performed in such job roles are unique and require advanced decision making and problem-solving skills. Such jobs are not likely to get automated as they are very complicated in nature and often require extensive usage of soft skills such as effective communication, negotiation, collaboration, leading people, and business growth.
To create an L&D program that helps you accurately identify the training needs of your workforce to make them future-ready, you need to assess and identify what
Once all the job roles have been analyzed and weighed as per their relevance in the future, organizations need to create/update:
Post this; organizations need to assess for each job role how much does the present competency framework differs from the future competency framework to identify which job roles have/are likely to have the highest skill gaps. These job roles should be focused on more during L&D.
The first step in creating an effective L&D program that enables your organization and workforce to become future-ready is creating competency frameworks for each job role that are based on how each job role will evolve in the future and what competencies will it entail.
The purpose of creating competency frameworks is to accurately identify skills that each employee needs to have so that he/she can succeed in their job roles even as they transform in the future.
To create a future-ready competency framework, organizations need to:
Post this, organizations will be able to create accurate, future-proof competency frameworks for all job roles, based on which they can identify what competencies to train the workforce.
An accurate competency framework is future-proof as it considers not only the competencies required to perform a job presently but also the competencies that will be required to perform that job in the future. By ensuring that the workforce has all the competencies that are a part of their job role-based competency framework, organizations can make their workforce and hence their business future-ready.
Assess how the job roles in your organization will transform in the future with Mettl Redundancy Index:
Mettl Redundancy Index can help organizations assess what job roles are likely to become redundant due to the advent of AI, automation, and other technologies. The index will; also throw light on which skills are likely to become obsolete in the future. Based on our analysis, organizations can have a clear idea regarding what skills and job roles to focus on while carrying out L&D and which ones to deprioritize as they will no0t be relevant in the future.
Create Accurate future-ready Competency Frameworks for each job role:
Mettl can help organizations create competency frameworks for each job role in an organization taking into account the skill set required to perform each job in the present and future. Competency frameworks act as the base for creating L&D programs by enabling accurate training needs identification and creation of effective training programs.
The next big question, after identifying what competencies each employee should have is – who to train.
The traditional L&D process that has been followed across most organizations till date would consider the entire workforce as the target audience. However, this is not an accurate assumption. The process of identifying who to train depends on individual training needs, skill gaps, learning agility, and aspirations.
Employee training cannot be generic as each employee has individual developmental needs. The first step in identifying who to train is to by identifying training needs in each employee.
In order to identify training needs in each employee, organizations need to identify the current skill set that each employee has, and the skill set that each employee needs to have. The latter is determined by job role-based competency frameworks that work as benchmarks for assessing if any employee in any job role is under-skilled, adequately skilled or over-skilled. In short, to identify skill gaps and training needs accurately in each employee, the workforce needs to be assessed against their job role’s competency framework regularly.
In the past, training needs were identified based on work performance. A customer service representative would be given grievance redressal and communication skill training if the organization got a lot of customer complaints against that employee or if the employee was unable to meet targets. Organizations need to be proactive, and train employees before it starts impacting their and performance and that of the business. By accurately identifying training needs on time, organizations can prevent getting adversely impacted by employee skill-gaps.
Assessing training needs accurately requires the use of scientific and competency-based assessment tools that are customized for each job role. Some of the assessment techniques that can be used to identify training needs are 360 feedback, training needs identification assessments and assessment centers.
All these tools assess the employees on the competencies included in their job role’s competency framework.
Assess employees on their perceived skill gaps as per their peers, subordinates, and supervisors.
Assess employee competencies via activities and task-based exercises. While setting up AC/DC is one of the effective ways to identify the training needs, yet there exists an alternate blended approach which could suffice the need in a more sophisticated way.
VAC is the automated online version of assessment centers that companies like Mettl provide. It is an approach to selection or professional development on the basis of competencies expected for a concerned role. It gives a detailed and holistic report by assessing him/her on various aspects and evaluate an individual’s fitment or current proficiency.
The measurement process considers:
VACs are entirely virtual, convenient, and hassle-free. There is no special setup required other than computers and internet connectivity. The content of the assessments can be customized based on the organization’s competency framework, target audience, and context. Most important, it is cost-effective and provides completely automated results. There can be cases where VAC’s alone does not work. The organization could come up with a blended approach where offline activities via assessors could give us the required results along with online assessment.
Most of the organizational stakeholders believe that a highly customized test which is completely company-oriented is a viable solution to their needs of assessments. In this digital world, everyone prefers online assessments to paper and pen one. These are comprehensive and objective assessments that provide insight into the work-oriented personality of an employee. These assessments are designed according to different job roles. It aims to help candidates leverage their strengths and address their areas of development. Moreover, these assessments are easy to administer. The results are not observer biased for they are quantitative and objective in nature. Customized assessments assess employee skill proficiency levels via MCQs, case studies, situational and judgment questions, simulations, etc.
Some organizations still believe in taking theoretical assessments when it comes to training their employees. As human beings, we learn more viable through experiential techniques and are energized by getting up and moving around, associating with each other. We are social, portable beings and not intended to be stuck at work areas taking notes.
The tools then provide details on employee competency levels for each competency included in the competency framework. It helps throw light on each employee’s strengths and development areas.
Just identifying development areas in each employee is not enough to create L&D programs that are truly effective. Organizations need to be aware of what skills each employee is capable of being trained on, based on their existing skill proficiency levels and learning agility.
An individual’s learning agility helps in determining how trainable they are. An employee may have significant skill gaps, but if that individual is not learning agile, providing them training is not going to yield optimal results. By measuring employee learning agility, organizations can identify individuals who are capable of upskilling.
What is Learning Agility?
Learning agility is the ability to continually and rapidly learn, unlearn, and relearn mental models and practices from a variety of experiences, people, and sources, and to apply that learning in new and changing contexts.
Mettl has devised a method for measuring a person’s Learning Agility based on two factors: ability and orientation.
Essential cognitive competencies that predispose a person with the ability to learn quickly by identifying patterns, logical rules, and trends in new data.
Essential behavioral competencies which will predispose the respondent to learn new things faster than others.
A person’s learning agility could be low, medium, or high depending on their ability and intent to learn, which depends on certain cognitive and behavioral competencies.
We have created a Learning Agility Matrix that helps in measuring individual and organizational learning agility by categorizing individuals on the basis of the level of learning ability and intent that they possess:
A person with high learning intent and ability possess high learning agility and vice versa.
It’s important to identify skills that employees can learn very easily by building upon their current skill sets. These new skills that an individual can learn with ease and in less time based on their current skill sets can be identified with the help of ‘proximity index. For example, an individual proficient in excel can easily learn SPSS and then R, following which they can be proficient in data analytics by further upskilling to learn Python.
To ensure maximum engagement while aligning business goals with the learning and development process, a proximity index analysis becomes necessary.
This data will help you understand the best course of training for every employee as it takes into consideration existing domain knowledge while matching it with the skillset required in the organization.
Based on data provided by the proximity index (which tells you about the trainable skills for every employee), you can also determine new job roles for the employee, thus eliminating redundancy and achieving maximum efficiency within the workforce.
By assessing employee skill gaps, learning agility, and taking into consideration the skill proximity index, organizations can create individual development plans that are relevant and achievable.
An individual development plan lays out in detail:
Based on all these parameters, the individual development plan is made, which lays out in detail:
The skills that fill all these three criteria are the skills that the employee should be trained most rigorously on. Training of other skills should be prioritized based on how relevant they are to the employee’s present job, career aspirations, and how easily trainable they are based on the employee’s current skill set and learning agility.
Mettl’s pre-training assessments help in the identification of the present skill levels of each employee. By comparing the results of the pre-training assessment with each job role’s competency framework, organizations can accurately identify skill gaps in each employee accurately to make them future-ready.
Assess candidate skill gaps accurately by testing employee’s cognitive, behavioral, personality, domain, and technical skill proficiency levels in accordance with each job’s competency framework. The assessments are benchmarked as per industry and organizational standards.
Mettl can help in identifying training needs in employees via various tools such as Training Needs Identification assessments, Assessment & Development Centers and 360 Feedback
Provides details on each employee’s individual training needs and developmental areas which are identified with the help of scientifically validated employee assessment. The report then provides a detailed individual development plan for each employee basis their skill gaps and their trainability.
An individual’s trainability depends on their capacity and capability to learn, which is calculated by measuring their learning agility. The Individual Development Plan considers the skill gaps of an individual and their learning agility to suggest what to train the employee on. The Individual Development Plan also considers skill proximity index of the skills that they possess and skill redundancy index of the skills that they need to develop to suggest training of skills that are most relevant, easiest, and fastest to learn. The effectiveness of L&D programs depends on training employees on skills that are relevant for their present and future jobs and that they are capable and willing to learn.
How to train your current employees in a way that business objectives are met, and you get a high return on investment of the training program is an eternal question asked by stakeholders in the L&D department throughout the world.
The challenge can essentially be broken down into two pillars:
This process can be divided into a few key steps:
Once the individual training program for each employee and training module has been created, the medium via which the training will be imparted to each employee depends on their learning preferences.
The result of Learning Agility assessments throws light on an individual’s preferred mode of learning. Hence this assessment can be used to enable employees to undergo training as per their preferred mode of learning. By doing this, organizations can substantially increase employee participation, engagement, attendance in L&D programs. Additionally, they also result in achieving higher ROI from Learning and Development Programs.
Three types of preferred modes of learning:
Learn from Mentors: Prefer to learn from others with an experience like mentors or coaches.
Self-Learning: Prefer to self-learn with resources including books, classes, and e-learning sources.
Classroom Learning: Prefer to learn from instructors’ informal classroom setting.
With the advent of MOOCs, learning via online courses, modules, eBooks and video tutorials has become very commonplace. Organizations can deliver their training via different methods to suit the different learning preferences of employees.
The drawbacks of classroom training then are largely the same as it is today — since workers were learning how to do their jobs out of context, they had to remember what they were taught in the classroom until they were back in the production line. Additionally, due to the nature of classroom learning, their training was abstract and theoretical. This forced employees to translate what they had learned into practical action, adding to the cognitive load
As computers became ubiquitous during the late 80s and early 90s, computer-based training (CBT) was the natural next step. An eLearning method augments individualized instruction with digital tools, capitalizing on technology’s speed, branching capability, and visual display.
The key to the future of employee training tools is context, eliminating the gap between theoretical training and practical use. By offering a hands-on approach to learning workplace tools, companies can cut training time and budget.
Individualized instruction typically exchanges the teacher for self-study materials, thus cutting costs and increasing scalability. This method relies on programmed materials, or, job training that has been divided into easily digestible steps. Still, individualized instruction is not without expense. It requires skilled people to prepare the subject matter in accordance with the job and supervise the process. Finally, like classroom training, it is usually o-task and out of the context of the actual job.
Learning Preference Assessment: Mercer | Mettl’s learning agility assessment helps in identifying individual learning preferences and suggest training methods in accordance with them to increase training effectiveness.
After the training, comes the part to measure its effectiveness. Fortunately, there exist some proven methodologies for measuring training effectiveness. Using the Kirk-Patrick Model, with a simple 4-level approach, one can successfully measure the effectiveness. Created by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick in the 1950s, the Kirkpatrick model has now become a worldwide standard for evaluating the effectiveness of training. The model is applied before, during, and after training to both maximize and demonstrate training’s value to the organization.
This level measures how learners have responded to the training, the importance, and the convenience of the preparation. Utilize reviews, questionnaires, or talk to participants to get honest feedback on the training experience. This could include –
At the end of this level, you should be able to look for any sort of gaps in the content.
At this level, you can measure what the trainees have learned. How much knowledge have they gained? This could include-
After going through these sets of metrics, assessment is done again (obviously with an enhanced set of questionnaires) after three months. This could again fill the gaps and let the trainees know about themselves better, thus, influencing the effectiveness.
This level indicates how trainees apply the information and how has it impacted their performance and attitude at work. It takes 360-degree feedback from supervisors, peers, and reporters. This includes-
The end level burns down to the Why part of the training. It actually captures the difference in participant’s behaviors before and after the program. It includes outcomes that the organization has determined to be good for business and employees.
The outcomes could include-
Experts in the industry have often stressed the importance of tying training goals to business impact—specifically how training relates to Return on Investment and Return on Expectations. When developing L&D objectives, organizations probably will want to think regarding the business and performance outcomes your training program can impact.
You can tie training objectives to lowered costs regarding employee turnover rates, fewer workplace accidents, and improved efficiencies.
If you are doing sales training, you can track individual performance objectives before and after exercise.
Tie competency and performance metrics back to time-to-profit or time-to-market measures. Operational Efficiency Improvements: Skills development training could be related back to business goals relating to operational efficiency.
Your training can directly affect your customer satisfaction scores.
Mercer | Mettl’s Training Effectiveness Assessment: Just as Training Needs Identification Assessment, which is a pre-training assessment, helps in creating the right training program for employees. Training Effectiveness Assessment, which is a post-training assessment, helps in assessing the effectiveness of the L&D program to successfully fill skill gaps in each employee to improve their performance.
Based on the Kirk Patrick Model, Mettl’s Training Effectiveness Assessment Solutions measures not just perceived learning but also demonstrated understanding. It takes into account:
Originally published July 22 2020, Updated October 20 2021
Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.