Closing Skill Gaps: 5 Key Elements to Add to Your Learning Strategy

As markets undergo rapid transformations, businesses need to frequently evaluate their learning strategy to remain competitive. At a time like this, focussing on employee skill gaps has become crucial. By closing skill gaps, organizations can develop employees who are prepared to handle any challenges that come along the way. 

Skill gaps is a areessing issue facing almost every industry at present. As per a McKinsey study, 87% of organizations believe they are experiencing a skills gap. However, closing skill gaps requires agile efforts and one factor that plays a key role in the process is employee engagement.  

Employee engagement is crucial, and without that investments in skill-building may not yield desired outcomes. Engaged learners are more likely to consume content, actively participate in skilling experiences, and retain knowledge. In fact, a Gallup research has pointed out that engaged employees are 21% more productive than their disengaged counterparts. 

So, what does an L&D program that engages employees to close skill gaps look like? Most certainly, it covers these 5 key elements: 

1. Learning in the Flow of Work 

Learners may not always have the time or the need for lengthy, formal training sessions. Often, they may face minor obstacles in their workflow and require quick skills or knowledge to proceed. The basic premise of learning in the flow of work is assimilating learning into daily tasks and operations, instead of expecting people to allocate separate time for it. Traditional L&D programs are disliked by employees because they have to spend large chunks of time over them. 

Besides, most employees cannot afford to stop working to learn a new skill. They prefer learning that comes in small, quick bursts of knowledge that helps drive their immediate projects. Learning is no longer about spending time on a four-hour long session. Rather, it is about empowering employees to find solutions and move forward while the work continues to happen. 

2. Competency-based Learning 

While assigning mandatory learning can be helpful and sometimes necessary, employees generally display higher levels of engagement when the learning is related to their competencies. In particular, the same learning experiences may not be suitable for every individual. 

To increase training uptake, it’s necessary to offer learning that matches specific competencies, in various formats, including videos, books, audiobooks, assessments, live events and more. Learners can select content based on their preferences and requirements. For example, learners who prefer reading can access books, while those who prefer visual aids can watch videos. 

3. Bite-sized Learning 

At a time when learners have a lot on their plate and anything more can simply overwhelm them, organizations should look at bite-sized learning aka Microlearning as a go-to strategy for creating engaging learning solutions. Microlearning is all about using short, crisp learning nuggets that can be delivered through a variety of different media and can be accessed on-the-go, at the point of need. 

When employees take Microlearning courses, they typically invest less than 10 minutes in the entire learning experience. One approach to Microlearning is to incorporate multiple content types to engage learners and maintain their interest throughout the short course. Short videos are an excellent tool for stimulating engagement and quickly guiding learners in the right direction. 

4. Curated Content 

Modern learners have access to an extensive array of learning resources and information. A significant portion of these learners does not find traditional, tedious training methods engaging, which often leads them to lose interest.  

One way to address this challenge is to introduce content curation into your L&D strategy, whereby existing resources are utilized more effectively to improve training outcomes. Content curation involves filtering content to offer employees only the resources that are relevant to them. When employees get access to pertinent learning resources easily, it naturally keeps them more engaged. 

Content curation also aids focussed learning which means employees don’t have to spend too much time on it. This way, the learning experience becomes more personalized and smart as it cuts down redundant information. 

5. Anytime, Anywhere Learning 

Given employees’ busy schedules, many may start a training session only to get interrupted by urgent matters that require immediate attention. By the time they're done, the training session may be left unfinished. 

Convenience plays a crucial role in learner engagement. The more accessible it is for employees to access skill-building content when and where they need it, the more likely they are to take advantage of the skilling opportunities available. 

Responsive and mobile-optimized training courses enable learners to easily access skilling content anytime, anywhere as per their time and need. For example, if employees are interrupted during a training session, they can pick up where they left off during their commute or while on-the-go.

Parting Thoughts 

When learners are engaged, they tend to complete more skilling experiences and retain information better. The secret to closing skill gaps is engaging employees and letting them choose what, how, when, and where they want to learn. 

Plethora houses an exhaustive catalog of skill courses, and with the help of seasoned eLearning content experts, is able to custom build individual learning plans for employees to achieve a specified business objective. As these are ready-to-use courses, companies don’t have to invest time and cost on their development. They can be easily procured and deployed for employees to consume. 

Get in touch with our experts to know more!