Thought Leader Q&A: Rocki Basel

How Can Enterprise Solutions Bridge Gaps And Help You Upskill Your Team?

Rocki Basel is the Associate Director of ATD Research. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Kent State University, and her areas of interest include research design, survey building, data analysis, data visualization, and communicating results. Today, she speaks with us about bridging the skills gap and how the right Enterprise Solutions team can help organizations leverage courses, certifications, and/or memberships to upskill their employees.

Based on your experience, what is the most significant challenge that organizations face when trying to bridge the skills gap, particularly if they’re working with limited internal L&D resources?

Most organizations are experiencing skills gaps right now, with leadership and managerial skills gaps being the most common. This is unsurprising given the barriers to implementing training on these topics. In a previous ATD research study on leadership development, we found that many leaders don’t have time to participate in leadership training. This means that, as TD professionals, we need to demonstrate the benefits and the value of taking the time to participate in leadership development. This can be done by showing the impact that training can have on business goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One of the most important things that we, as TD professionals, can do is to have a good understanding of the business. When we know the business strategy, we can make the case for how our training can make a positive impact on achieving L&D goals and business goals.

We have also observed that organizations are encountering difficulties bridging the skills gap in soft skills, such as communication. Almost two in five TD professionals reported a major skills gap in communication and interpersonal skills within their organization. Not only are these organizations experiencing a skills gap with their current employees, but they are also struggling to find strong job applications with these skills. The good news is that our most recent Bridging the Skills Gap study found that 87% of TD professionals believe soft skills can be taught and learned.

Most organizations experiencing skills gaps use training and learning opportunities to upskill and reskill employees. Organizations are offering courses online and in person in the areas where they are experiencing skills gaps. Microlearning, which is short pieces of content that can be accessed on demand, is also a common way that organizations are training to bridge skills gaps. But formal learning isn’t the only way to address the issue. Many organizations are using on-the-job learning through coaching and mentoring programs.

For TD professionals with limited time and resources, knowing where to invest your time to get the greatest return can be difficult. I would recommend that these organizations assess their current skills gap. Identify what skills are required for employees to be efficient and effective, then determine where a deficit exists. Prioritize your list by determining what skills are needed to meet business goals. Make a plan for how you will bridge the skills gap, and remember, that plan doesn’t necessarily have to be only formal learning opportunities. It could include on-the-job training through coaching or mentoring. Finally, monitor and measure the results of your learning program. Once you have collected data on your program, communicate the progress and results to stakeholders and leaders at your organization.

Can you tell us more about your Enterprise Solutions team and how they can help organizations upskill their employees? Which training solutions are available?

ATD Enterprise Solutions can help your team perform at the highest level, ensuring you are competitive in today’s workforce. ATD is your trusted professional development resource for your entire talent development team. For the last 80 years, we have been at the forefront of establishing industry standards and curating best-in-class resources for the training domain. We know what good looks like, and we can help you ensure your L&D team has access to the resources and experiences that will grow their knowledge and skills and increase the impact of their work in your organization.

Investing in talent development growth through team training is one of the most effective ways a company can increase its bottom line. At ATD, we’ve been researching future practices for creating strategic and actionable learning experiences that deliver business impact and results. From training and facilitation to instructional design to coaching and change management, you’ll find programs that enhance your current skills and help your team reach the next level of proficiency. We tailor our education offerings to meet your organization’s unique needs to create a powerful team learning experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

How can ATD’s Enterprise Skills Gap Assessment help team leaders identify areas for improvement and untapped potential?

ATD’s Enterprise Skills Gap Assessment is a proprietary assessment grounded in our Talent Development Capability Model™. This assessment pulls aggregated data about your team’s strengths and weaknesses to provide a clear picture of your team’s skills gaps, which provides you with a baseline for your team’s current talent development proficiency.

Once the assessment is complete, we’ll provide you with a report which will dive into your team’s development areas and untapped strengths, and then help you create a plan to increase your team’s impact and meet your organization’s goals. The reports included will help you make data-driven decisions about how to upskill your team. This assessment is intended to help all levels of your team—individuals will be able to engage with their managers in career development conversations; managers will have fresh insights into the strengths and skills gaps for individuals on their teams; and learning leaders will see aggregated data on skill strengths and development areas across the entire organization and by company-defined filters (such as role, business unit, or location) to get segmented views of the data and find trends and opportunities.

What is one of your standout upskilling client success stories?

It’s not uncommon for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to be put in a training position based on their expertise, however, they have no formal education on how to create and deliver effective training. In SAP’s case, they needed to quickly bring more than 250 SMEs who were unfamiliar with instructional design concepts up to speed since they were being asked to create eLearning materials for the first time. Leadership knew creating an internal training program for such a large initiative would have slowed down existing projects, so due to ATD’s reputation and experience, SAP decided to engage in ATD team training to achieve its goal as efficiently as possible. As a result, SAP sent the SME team through ATD’s Instructional Design Certificate and E-Learning Instructional Design Certificate team training courses. As a result, the SMEs now have instructional design principles and practices, which has created a common language between the instructional designers and the SMEs. Ultimately, this has improved eLearning practices and outcomes.

Is there a recent development project or research initiative our readers should know about?

In April 2024, ATD published our eighth edition of the Bridging the Skills Gap report, which focuses on organizations’ current and future skills gaps. In this study, we surveyed 356 talent development professionals. We found that most organizations are experiencing skills gaps, but most use formal or informal learning opportunities to upskill and reskill their employees. New to the 2024 study was that we also surveyed 522 working Americans. Employees told us they want training to improve their soft skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. This robust study also includes three case studies about organizations that have found innovative ways to bridge the skills gap at their organization. This report can be downloaded here.

Later this year, in November, we’ll publish a report focusing on the essential skills TD professionals need to focus on to stay up to date and relevant in the industry. In this study, we’ll also explore the common professional development that TD professionals use to stay informed. Finally, this study will also spotlight technology skills that TD professionals may need to develop. The results of this study will inform us about where there will be potential skills gaps in the future for TD professionals.

Wrapping Up

We truly appreciate Rocki Basel sharing her insights with us about skills gap assessment and how Enterprise Solutions gives organizations the opportunity to leverage internal talent and foster professional development. If you’d like to learn more about how ATD can be your partner in talent development, check out their website.

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