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Effective training should build towards what will be needed, not what was needed

TRUMBULL, CT — January 20, 2021 — Businesses risk missing out on opportunities because they are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.  In a new report, Questionmark, the online assessment provider, sets out how employers can develop the right skills they need to thrive amid constant change.  

Too often, skills development focuses on fixing the problems of yesterday, not meeting the challenges of tomorrow, the new report “Continuous skills improvement,” argues.

World Economic Forum data shows that less than 30% of firms have the digital skills they need.[1]  Analysts warn that 30% of the skills workers relied on three years ago are nearing irrelevance.[2]  Overall, $97.5billion is wasted every year on ineffective training.[3]

The report argues that by regularly reviewing priority skills requirements and assessing how widespread those skills are among the workforce, employers can create a “continuous cycle of improvement”. 

The continuous improvement cycle

The continual-improvement approach focuses on regularly reviewing which skills are needed, identifying areas of weakness and then driving improvement by eliminating that weakness.  The cycle has six steps:

  1. Identify priority skills: an employer must regularly review what priority skills are needed for each business function. 
  • Isolate the biggest areas of weakness: through staff skills tests, managers must measure the prevalence of these skills and identify where gaps or weaknesses exist. 
  • Select or create the appropriate training: which programs will strengthen the necessary skills?  Which team members need to participate? 
  • Determine whether the training was effective: once done, did team members understand the training while it was taking place?  Did they retain the knowledge after the program finished?
  • Identify high potential and areas of strength: although correcting weakness is the primary objective, tests will generate information that could indicate high performance. 
  • Regularly repeat this process: employers can ensure improvement programs stay focused.

Lars Pedersen, CEO of Questionmark, said: “Employers that invest in training can build a workforce that is ready for change and uncertainty.  But when training focuses solely on developing long-term goals it risks equipping team members with the skills they needed yesterday.

“By continually reviewing priority skills and understanding the current state of play, employers can drive improvement by constantly eliminating areas of weakness.  Online skills assessments will give them a clear read on where areas of strength and weakness exist.  They can ensure that training programs are working.”

For more information on supporting employees to reach their potential, download the full report: “Continuous skills improvement: developing relevant skills in a changing business environment”.

The report forms part of the “Questionmark Viewpoint” series which explores the challenges that Questionmark customers face, and how Questionmark helps address them. 

[1] https://www.progressivepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SkillsGapFinal.pdf

[2] https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/stop-training-employees-in-skills-theyll-never-use/

[3] https://trainlikeachampion.blog/infographic-why-corporate-training-is-a-colossal-waste-and-what-to-do-about-it/