Why Skills Matter
Particularly for organizations that rely on their people to succeed, business results depend on designing and implementing the right talent management strategies to upgrade core skills to help your people and your business. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of profitable revenue growth, customer loyalty and employee engagement.
Companies that do it well ensure that they have the right people with the right capabilities in the right positions at the right time.
How to Upgrade Core Skills
The first step required to upgrade core skills is pretty logical – assess and prioritize what capabilities are needed now and in the future to maintain your competitive advantage. The second step, actually developing those capabilities to change on-the-job behavior and performance, is a bit more complicated and difficult to achieve. Once you have identified the skills that matter most, we recommend that you:
1. Start Small
Break down the desired new skills into discrete and manageable tasks that are easier to observe, practice, track performance and monitor. While it can seem counter-intuitive to break inherently interconnected skills and behaviors into isolated tasks, we have found that it is easier to practice, learn and improve in small chunks.
2. Identify the Leverage Points
Not all skills are created equal. From your above list, select the two to three skills that create the most value in terms of how short- and long-term success is measured. Employees tell us that they appreciate this reductionist approach to learning because it allows them to focus on relevant and achievable improvements to upgrade core skills.
3. Raise the Stakes
In order for people to change on-the-job behavior, we recommend that everyone (the learner, their boss and the company) has some skin in the game. People need to be properly motivated to behave in the new ways through intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and recognition, and properly demotivated to behave in the old ways through meaningful and proportionate consequences.
The Bottom Line
However you go about accelerating learning to upgrade the core skills of your employees, make sure that you focus only on what matters most and create the motivation to change. When it comes to behavior change, less is more. Do you know the critical skills that have the highest correlation to success for your business?
To learn more about how to upgrade core skills, download The Top 6 Skills for High Performing Leaders
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Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources
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