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Cornerstone Report on Skills Development Reveals Significant Confidence Gap Between Businesses and Their People



Global study uncovers the greatest challenges organisations face when it comes to helping their employees develop new skills and offers practical advice for closing confidence gaps related to skills development

London — Sept. 17, 2020Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD), a global leader in people development solutions, today announced the results of a new workforce trends report from the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL) titled A License to Skill: Embracing the Reskilling Revolution. The global research report reveals that while organisational leaders and employees have rallied around the importance of skills, there remains a confidence gap in the efficacy of skills-based learning programmes that advance careers and innovation in the business.

Conducted as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in the spring of 2020, the unique two-part survey compares the views of 1,000 employees and 500 business leaders from across the world, which included C-level executives and HR managers. The findings shed light on a heightened focus on skills development as a means to achieve critically needed agility. The research also validated the extreme workplace volatility caused by the pandemic. Across the board — from employees to HR leaders to executives — the modern workplace will be vastly transformed by the events of 2020: 76% of employees, 88% of HR leaders and 91% percent of non-HR executives believe the challenges their organisations are facing due to the crisis will significantly alter their daily work experiences in the future.

These results strongly suggest organisations have a unique opportunity to provide a clear, practical path forward for skills development, which is more essential and urgent today than ever before. By illuminating the impact of the crisis, as well as the current state of workplace learning and skills development programmes, the research uncovered the following insights:

  • There’s a gap in confidence between business leaders and employees when it comes to organisations’ ability to develop the skills of their people. While both employers and employees are increasingly prioritising the development of individual skills, proficiencies and capabilities to propel their success, the research finds employee responses were in stark contrast to overall organisational conviction. A whopping 90% of leaders feel confident in their ability to develop the skills of their employees and 87% believe their organisations are adequately equipped with the right learning resources. On the other hand, only 60% of employees feel confident in their organisation’s ability to develop their skills for the future, and nearly 40% feel they are not enabled by the learning resources provided. This confidence gap suggests a need to analyse organisational investments in skills development programs to improve the talent experience.
  • A culture of learning must first prepare the soil in which learning can take place. The greatest challenges that get in the way of employee skill development are time, money, direction and availability of learning content. According to respondents, time is the most significant barrier, with 61% selecting that as a major roadblock. In addition, nearly half of employees felt concerned that their role would change significantly in the next few years and 30% of employees were concerned that their jobs wouldn’t be needed. With the unease created by uncertainty and disengagement, talent leaders face both a challenge and an opportunity to address this unease by creating a holistic learning culture to address all aspects of work life. To do that, learning must happen at the time of need and must be hyper-personalised to the individual, all with an eye for improving employees’ perceptions and experiences.
  • Employees want to create a sense of meaning through their careers. In fact, 66% of respondents said meaningful work was “extremely” or “very” important when choosing an employer to work for, and 65% said the same for competitive pay. In order to give employees the hope they seek, companies must transform managers into coaches by providing them with tools to better understand their individual employees – such as their deep skills profiles, interests, personal and professional aspirations – to create people experiences that takes the whole person into consideration.
  • Organisations are optimistic about using technology to enable and scale skills development. In the survey research, when leaders were asked about their people development tactics and priorities, the top-two response sets from businesses cite technology to enable and scale skills development (42%), as well as technical training in STEM areas (42%), followed by the desire to improve learning in the flow of work (41%), leadership training (40%) and social learning opportunities (38%).

Although business leaders are confident in their ability to develop their workforces, the fact that their employees don’t share the same level of confidence signals there is much more work to be done. Particularly when over 50% of business leaders anticipate developing internal talent as the primary means of filling their organisation’s skills gaps over the next few years.

In order to reduce this confidence gap with their employees, organisations should turn to data-driven technology to identify the skills their workforce currently has, and more importantly, predict the skills they will need in the future and link learning content that can teach those skills to their people now. By relying on this type of technology, such as the Cornerstone Skills Graph – announced today – business leaders and their employees can implement “strategic skilling,” the practice of mapping skills with people, learning content and job roles to quickly respond to dynamic business changes.

“By capturing a deeper understanding of your workforce’s skill sets and needs, organisations can begin to close the skills development confidence gap that ultimately limits agility in the face of change,” said Heidi Spirgi, chief strategy and marketing officer, Cornerstone. “The results uncovered in this hyper-relevant research from CPRL inspire us to continue providing world-class people development solutions that will prepare our customers and their people to not only survive disruption, but thrive in the dynamic world we live and work in today.”

The full A License to Skill: Embracing the Reskilling Revolution global report is available via an interactive platform hosted by The Starr Conspiracy. Visit the report to learn more about how to make skills of the future a reality for all.

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