Organizations Need a Dynamic Approach to Teaching People New Skills | Harvard Business Review

Talent Development

The shelf-life of skills continues to decline rapidly, presenting challenges to firms as they prioritize upskilling and reskilling efforts. According to BCG’s 2021 research on 32 HR and people practices, upskilling and reskilling ranked second in terms of the most significant gaps between current capabilities and future importance. Similarly, LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report found that upskilling and reskilling is the top priority for L&D practitioners globally. And while many firms spend effort trying to predict the skills of the future, this article argues that this predictive approach results in workers applying only 37% of the new skills they learn. They argue for a more dynamic approach to skills identification and development, one that results in workers applying 75% of the new skills they learn. This approach to skills management enables firms and employees to “move fast in responding to the things they know and can anticipate.” The authors present three steps for adopting this dynamic approach. Step 2 focuses on jumpstarting skills development via skill adjacencies—where related skills a worker already has are tapped into to speed up reskilling and upskilling efforts. Other ideas are discussed.

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