The What, Why & How of Capability Development

Sumant Joshi | Blog Author
Sumant Joshi August 26, 2020

‘The very first thing a person needs to have is insight. So, for L&D, it means the ability to connect learning with the employees’ career journey, life journey and their position in society. And, without insight capability is not going to be successful.’

The latest episode of our Leadership Spotlight podcast, featuring Dr. Sunil Singh, Founder & CEO of Mindstream Consulting and the ex-CHRO of Cadila Pharma, explores the role of capability development in the success of an organization. In this bog, we take up some of the key points discussed and take learning from Dr. Singh’s vast experience and expertise.

Capability development has always been a highly strategic priority, more so in times of unprecedented disruptions and tech advancements. Constant innovations in the workplace and the rising attrition rate have resulted in a constant demand for talented employees, and calling on L&D pros to be more proactive in their approach to optimize available talent and focus on capability development in order to address the skills gap and lack of top talent.

However, like Dr. Singh suggests, though the world of work has evolved, the approaches and methodologies used for capability development and skills training has remained in the traditional bubble, except few must-have technological additions. Today, organizations need to focus on different set of options, capabilities as well as employee-groups to optimize the process and achieve a highly competent workforce.

‘The very first thing any L&D capability development program is to think about – what am I doing to create an insight into the employees. And, second part of the funnel is the motivation.’

Today, only a few organizations employ a robust approach to addressing skill gaps and analyzing current capabilities, with only 24% of capability builders using a more structured approach. But, manager feedback and self-assessments still remain the go-to methods for identifying capability requirements, despite reporting and analysis being able to influence an organization’s ability to create effective learning programs.

‘What happens currently is that most L&D pros or the capability department, what they do is that, they look at how bad is my catalog? I have 20 courses or 100 courses running every day. And they feel proud about that. But, I would rate a department running just 5 programs or 1 program a month if they have the right insight and motivation.’ 

According to McKinsey- ‘the most effective capability builders take more action than others to maintain and improve their capabilities’. Successful organizations stand out from the rest when it comes to organizational learning and capability development. Their HR and other business functions co-own learning, with a more structured approach in terms of leveraging tools and procedures to optimize capability building.

For more insights into capability development, listen to the full podcast.