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Monday, March 10, 2014

Using Training to Raise Global Competitiveness



Companies need training and development to bridge the skill gaps between needed market competencies and employee skills. Research by Bersin and Associates are presented to help highlight the differences in these skills on a global scale and how this led to major unemployment concerns in many countries (O’Leonard, 2012). They provide a number of recommendations for organizations that seek to develop their talent for competitive advantages. 

A study entitled World of Work Report by the International Labor Organization indicates that unemployment could be around 208 million globally in the next year or so (International Labor Organization, 2013). They highlight the problems as uneven opportunities, creating jobs and macroeconomic approaches. The focus of countries should be to develop the right skills and create opportunities for youth. 

 The labour market and income situation is uneven but can be improved by consolidating the rebalancing process in emerging countries and finding the right balance between employment and macroeconomic goals in advanced economies. Progress towards reducing economic and social inequalities would pave the way for a lasting recovery (International Labor Organization, 2013).”

Even though chronic unemployment is higher than ever before others are being relied on to fill skill gaps. Training rose 9.5% in the last year to around $800 per person while hours spent in training also increased. A total of $67 billion within the U.S. was spent in 2011 (O’Leonard, 2012). Companies are attempting to meet these skill gaps by reinvesting in motivated employees. 

To provide better training at a more effective price many companies are relying heavily on social media, e-classes, social learning, and alternative forms of training. In 2011 the total spent on alternative training doubled to around $40,000 per large organization. Training costs have begun to decline and were at $51 per hour in 2011 which is the lowest in the past 6 years. 

Most organizations are still not doing well. 6% of HR organizations ranked themselves as highly skilled with 56% ranking themselves low. They are unsure of how to measure training and move people to higher skill levels. Their metrics are not well developed and moving to higher effective training programs is difficult. 

The author recommends that changes are needed in order to further develop employees to take on new skills and abilities to gain corporate competitive advantages. They are as follows:

- Starting to encourage collaborative and generative learning connections. Use virtual education and advanced methods to lower costs and improve upon the use of social learning to create higher skill sets. 

-Continue to recognize and reward productivity gains. Rewarding employees for improvement in their skills helps them stay motivated during the developmental process. 

O’Leonard, K. (2012). Mind the global skills gap. Chief Learning Officer, 11 (8). 

International Labor Organization (2013). 2013 World of Work Report. Retrieved March 10th, 2014 from http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_214673.pdf

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