When it comes to your L&D budget, it’s important that you’re investing in the right areas—for both hard and soft skills—and in things that your team members will actually use.
It’s not only important to your organisation that this investment happen, but that it’s done correctly, especially since 54% of organisations believe skills gaps are hampering transformation and competitive advantage.
So how can you first decipher what areas your people need training in, and then what deployments of said training will be most effective?
Here are our recommendations:
One of the best ways to start understanding where your team requires hard skills investment is to conduct an audit of current skills they have, which will also highlight where they’re lacking capabilities.
This can be executed by administering tests in certain hard skills areas, reviewing results, and conferring with direct managers to learn where they think their people are at and where they need improvement.
Using this information, HR managers and team leaders can have a better idea of where certain people, positions, departments, and teams need more skills development and invest accordingly.
Soft skills can be a bit harder to assess, as they are, by nature, harder to measure. Understanding which soft skills team members need to improve will require more involvement from direct managers as well as coworkers, which can make the process a more delicate one.
To help you navigate this process, you can send out a simple assessment to team members. During said assessment, they’ll be able to rank themselves on a scale of one to ten at which level they believe themselves to be with regard to each soft skill listed. This online self-assessment can then be discussed with direct managers to further understand individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. Finding ways to improve the soft skills people would like to develop, however, is a more difficult task.
When it comes to training your people in new hard skills, many HR managers and team leaders opt for online learning such as LinkedIn Learning or Coursera. However, these programs can be expensive, and oftentimes people don’t use the subscriptions your organisation is paying for.
This is where recommendations for skills-based learning from trusted people within your organisation, such as mentors, can be incredibly beneficial. That’s because if these experienced and successful individuals have found value in these programs themselves, it’s likely that others will too.
Soft skills are hard skills’ overlooked sibling, most likely because it’s much harder to train and develop employees in these areas. However, these very skills may be more important to your organisation than you realise. In fact, while only 22% of executives believe a technical gap is what’s hindering business success, double that (44%) believe the real gap lies in soft skills.
Thankfully, mentoring can help. That’s because, at its very core, mentoring is based on a foundation of two people coming together to intentionally invest in and learn from one another. The very basis of a mentoring relationship encourages people to practice—and ultimately improve—their soft skills: listening, receiving and incorporating feedback, being more self-aware, thinking through and committing to their goals, practising empathy, and more.
Ultimately, the costs of a formal mentoring program are far outweighed by the rewards.
If you’re interested in getting a mentoring program up and running in your organisation, we’ve got lots of free resources for you, or reach out and we can help you get started!