Closing skills gaps is top of mind for organizations – having amazing talent, with the right, up-to-date skills, is the only way for businesses to not just survive, but thrive, in the digital future of work.
The good news is that employers across the world have put in place great foundations around learning and development – but there is significant room for improvement, particularly around skills.
New research from Cornerstone found that over the last three years, there has been a persistent 30-percentage point gap between employer and employee perceptions of how much organizations prioritize workers’ learning and development.
The good news is that employers aren’t having to figure out how to fix skills challenges on their own.
Cornerstone’s research, which surveyed 700 leaders and 1,500 employees across the world, identified some companies that are really leading the way.
These so-called high performing organizations only have a 6% confidence gap, that’s five times smaller skills confidence gap than the 30-point average.
So, what’s their secret to success around skills?
Cornerstone’s research found that they use the technology tools at their disposal more than the average organizations.
High-performing employer demonstrate to workers they do care about their experiences, and they really see that employee development is the whole company’s responsibility.
While DHL Group and Renault are two examples of big brands making headway around skills, Cornerstone found that EMEA companies are, on average, lagging behind North America and APAC.
This may explain explain why the European Union has designated 2023 the European year of skills.
European brands are not only less mature around development, but also in other areas like internal mobility, employee engagement and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Even high-performing employers are falling behind on AI
There’s lots for organizations and HR leaders to learn from high-performing organizations – in EMEA and beyond- and they can use their example to make the business case to the executive team that continued strategic investment is needed.
But it is crucial to remember that high-performing organizations don’t have everything figured out around skills and talent.
They are not perfect, there is still room for improvement if they want to continue to close their skills and talent gaps.
First of all, there’s work for all organizations to do around creating supportive, learning-focused cultures for their organizations – only one in three are doing this well at the moment.
The second priority for all organizations is rethinking how they use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
High-performing organizations are doing a better job here, but there’s still more they could do.
Just 38% of companies are using AI to its full potential in their talent programs (and interestingly, larger organizations are doing the worst job).
These findings around AI and high-performing organization surprised Mike Bollinger, Cornerstone’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, when he first looked at the data.
Cornerstone’s data shows that AI “is an area of investment that moves every organization [up] the maturity curve”.
Bollinger tells UNLEASH that organizations should embrace AI as a copilot, which can help democratize and personalize the world of work.
AI can be particularly powerful in the crucial skill development space.
Talking exclusively to UNLEASH, Bollinger shares: “AI-powered skills intelligence is one area where business leaders can truly discover employees’ key skills and strengths and how they relate to both current and future career opportunities.
Bollinger adds that by leveraging AI better, organizations have greater visibility over its talent and therefore “can make better decisions about how to invest in their people”.
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