With unemployment at 3.8%, it’s really tough for employers to find talent nowadays. Keep in mind that there are more job openings than there are people who are unemployed!
But there is another issue facing employers: finding employees with the right skills. More than 82% of middle-skill jobs need digital abilities and over 7 million job opportunities require some level of coding expertise.
So it is any surprise that there is a major skills gap?
Of course not. This is why employers must take on the role as the trainer.
While this may seem daunting, there is good news. Various online education companies provide high-quality offerings that can meet your needs.
And one of the standouts is Udemy, which was founded in 2010. It’s an online marketplace that has over 65,000 courses and more than 20 million students. There is also Udemy for Business, which provides employee training. Some of the customers include Lyft, PayPal, Century21, MetLife, and Volkswagen.
I recently had a chance to reach out to Shelley Osborne, who is Udemy’s Head of Learning and Development. She provided some useful advice on how companies can setup their own effective training program:
#1 – Setting Goals and Objectives
Often a training program is ad-hoc or about checking off some boxes – which often leads to mediocre results. If anything, there may be a lack of participation.
This is why the first step is to setup concreate goals and objectives. “Organizations must ask themselves what business impact they’re hoping to achieve through training,” said Shelley. “By evaluating what’s happening within the business and identifying opportunities for improvement, creating the right training initiatives will not only satisfy employees, but will also impact the bottom line.”
A key is to set time frames and benchmarks. “While some organizations may use a broad metric like increased productivity as a benchmark, others may take a more tactical approach and recognize a very specific solution in response to a certain need,” said Shelley. “An example of this would be for a small business that’s growing very rapidly to deploy interview training as a way to ensure its entire team is aligned and scaling.”
#2 – Leadership
In a smaller organization, there will likely not be a dedicated Learning and Development professional. Rather, the leader of the training effort will be someone within HR.
But depending on the situation – and the importance of training – there may be someone else who will take the role. This may even be the CEO.
#3 – Executive and Founder Buy-In
A successful training program needs the involvement of the executives. “By demonstrating support of a learning mindset, stakeholders can give employees the confidence to fully embrace training and development,” said Shelley. “Having buy-in around learning throughout the entire company is a one of the key elements that differentiates successful training programs from those that fizzle out. It’s imperative to create a culture of learning where learning is normalized in the workplace and stakeholders are empowering constant growth.”
For example, the CEO of Udemy, Kevin Johnson, will take courses as well as spearhead trainings.
#4 – Tracking
A nice benefit of online training platforms is that you can get metrics on usage. Although, this does not mean you should use this as a weapon to force the learning. This is usually counterproductive.
“While organizations may occasionally have to mandate specific training for certain reasons, one of our core principles when it comes to learning and development is that employees are in the driver’s seat,” said Shelley. “We’re proponents of the ‘pull’ learning model and believe that to create a lasting impact, employees must feel driven to seek training and learning as opposed to feeling forced to invest their time. For training to be successful, the real focus should be on whether employees are preforming better at their jobs, and attendance shouldn’t be used as a metric to shame employees into learning. At the end of the day, by making learning personalized and relevant, business leaders can foster employees that are better at their jobs and more engaged as a result.”