What Mid-Market CEOs Need to Know About Navigating Skill-Building Challenges

Developing the right skills is the key to building a sustainable model of innovation and growth

Developing the right skills is the key to building a sustainable model of innovation and growth.

From staying on top of industry trends, keeping up with customer demands, and driving revenue growth, mid-market CEOs have plenty of challenges competing for their attention. As a result, other areas, such as talent development, are commonly overlooked. In many cases, CEOs frequently underestimate the necessity of investing in workforce skill development. In today’s fast-paced world, fostering an environment where employees can access continued education opportunities is more important than ever.

By understanding what’s at stake when it comes to investing in personal/professional development, you will be better equipped with strategies that will position your company for long-term success.

Why is Skill Building difficult in the Workplace?

Skill building is often difficult at the office since there are few opportunities to practice. Businesses, after all, are optimized for efficiency, not development. Many of us learn when we attempt something difficult beyond our comfort zone and adjust based on the result. This is how learning happens. Unfortunately, the office environment prefers its workforce to perform the same tasks repeatedly, thereby realizing efficiency gains. Ultimately, the individual will get more efficient and faster at the job, but little to no learning will likely occur.

Doing more is no longer the path to success. If you want your employees to have the skills necessary to succeed now and in the future, you must allow them time to develop these skills. And you need to be patient with them as they are developing them. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, acquiring soft skills is more complicated than it looks, and workplace practices is only making it more difficult in many cases.

How to build skill building into the Workplace

The steps listed below provide an organized approach to help with workplace skill development:

  1. Identify short- and long-term skill needs. Consider your company’s requirements in six months and the next three years. You must know your company’s direction and foresee possible skill requirements based on shifting market conditions to do this.
  1. Conduct a skills gap analysis. It will let you more clearly see where you fall short. Then, you can develop productive skill-building exercises to fill up the gaps.
  1. Use different learning formats. These may include formal and informal education, synchronous and asynchronous training, and online and in-person education.
  1. Target the training and track the results. A targeted training program enables organizations to develop their employees’ skill gaps while ensuring efficient resource utilization, boosting competitiveness, and enhancing retention.

Ideally, you should be continually building a learning culture where employees are encouraged to develop and improve their workplace skills. Doing so will ensure your workforce has the skills for sustainable innovation and growth. 

Skill building sets the foundation for future growth across all departments — and in so doing, empowers teams to drive innovation, enhance customer experience, and aggressively pursue growth goals. With the right strategies, tools, and encouragement, you can create an environment that nurtures team development and sets your business on a forward trajectory. Now is the time to commit to skill building; invest in developing critical skills, especially soft skills, with your talent.

Charles Good 
President, Institute for Management Studies
775-322-8222  |  ims-online.com  |  charles@ims-online.com

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