Posts tagged Employee Retention
Why Employees Taking Charge Is Good For You

Following the ATD webinar by the same name, we've got a new white paper you can download with all the research.  

It shows that today’s employees have expectations for self-directed learning, ongoing development, and rapid career growth.  It explains the impact of the new social contract between employees and employers on Learning and Development (L&D) organizations.

Specifically, it addresses: 

  • Why it is good for the employees and good for L&D when employees take control of their own development
  • The challenges that limit an employee’s ability to own their development
  • How L&D can create an environment that overcomes these challenges

Download it now.


News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Why Employees Taking Charge Of Their Learning Is Good For You

I hear the same thing over and over again. “Our last few engagement studies have all identified the same thing – if we don’t start focusing more on development, people are going to leave.” 

Never has this been truer.  The social contract between employers and employees has changed.  No longer do employees expect a paycheck and lifetime employment.  They expect an engaging workplace, where they can own their development through self-directed learning, and the ability to control career growth and opportunities.

“Research clearly shows that when employees feel empowered and have a sense of ownership for their jobs, their engagement is significantly higher. “ (Bersin, Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016)  And engagement is a key metric for predicting organizational success.

What’s more, according to the same Deloitte study, employees expect dynamic, self-directed, continuous learning opportunities from their employers. And yet, many learning and development organizations are still struggling with traditional learning approaches and systems that think of learning and development as something you do “to” employees.

More progressive organizations are leaning into this trend.  Great managers think of their roles as developing people first – and that corporate objectives are achieved through this development, not by resisting it.  I’m always astonished when I hear managers say, “I simply don’t have time to develop my team.”  What do they think their job is?

So how do you lean into this trend? 

  • Stop tracking completions
  • Stop dragging people to what you think they should do
  • Start focusing on what they need and want
  • Become a provider of tools and best practices
  • Promote learning as a continuous process, rather than an event

As a result, you will create pull vs. push.  You will empower the very dynamic that people want – to own their development.  And when they want to do that, and they actively take steps to do so, your goal, developing and retaining talent, will be met.  And that’s why it’s good for you.

Want to learn how to lean into this trend? 

Check out the webinar “Why Employees Taking Charge Of Their Development Is Good For You”, July 14, 2016 at 1pm Eastern time.


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News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Why Career Planning Without Competency Models Is Just Scary!

The story is often the same.  An employee is told that if they are interested in other job opportunities, they should look at the company’s career maps, a pre-defined path for typical progression that usually shows what it looks like if you want to move up within a particular function.  But is that realistic today? With many choosing to retire later, and the scarcity of available positions, moving up may not be an option.  And with an increased awareness and desire for work/life balance, people are often more interested in expanding their breadth than in moving up to management. 

The other alternatives including “talking to HR”, which could be difficult due to the scale of the organization or comfort level of the individual, or “talking with your manager”, which could be difficult if the manager isn’t good at conducting career discussions, doesn’t understand the skill requirements of roles outside their function, or doesn’t want to lose a good employee.

According to Career Systems International, career growth and learning and development are among the top engagement and retention factors for employees today.[i] Organizations want to be able to help people achieve their potential, and use that as a value proposition for recruiting, but supporting the promise may fall short.

An easy solution is competency models.  Because competency models identify the role-specific skill requirements and behavioral examples of those skills, they have the ability to empower each employee to own their own career planning.  This eliminates the HR or manager tollgates.

Once you have the competency models developed, enable people to self-assess against the skill requirements for the role or roles they might want next, so they can evaluate whether or not they want that role, and if so, what skill development they should pursue to prepare themselves.  In this way, they can explore in a safe environment, and then be able to take skill development requests to their manager, once they know what they want to pursue. 

Ask yourself, “Do we want to be able to attract and retain our people?”  And if the answer is yes, put the scary loss of retention behind you.  Explore how competency models and a competency assessment tool used for career planning can provide employees with a reason to stay, your managers with the ability and confidence to support data-driven career conversations, and HR with the ability to manage career planning at scale.  


[i] Tan, Wendy and Crowell, Beverly.  Organizations and Managers Must Reassess How They View Career Development.  TD Magazine:  9/8/2015.

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News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Why Competency Models Are The Secret Sauce For Closing Skill Gaps

It’s no secret that increasing skill gaps is one of the most daunting trends facing organizations today.  The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of CEOs reported that 78% of them ranked skill shortages as the greatest threat to their companies.[i]

In a perfect world, CEOs wouldn’t have to worry about the skill gaps of their workforce – they would let the workforce own the closing of their gaps, even as those requirements change and become increasingly diverse.

If you’re looking for a strategy that will inspire employees toward increased mastery in their current role, you’re in luck!  People are already intrinsically motivated toward mastery, autonomy/self-direction, and purpose.[ii]   What you need is a road map for helping them get there.

Enter competency models. 

Competency models provide each person with a road map for how to be great.  To serve in this capacity, competency models must have these characteristics:

  • Be role-based, so they are relevant
  • Identify behavioral examples that show the various levels of proficiency separating someone who is adequate in that role from someone who is at the top end of the scale, so they can create a picture of what great looks like and demonstrate how to get there
  • Contain those tasks or skills that someone in that particular job role needs to do to achieve corporate strategy
  • Be reviewed at least annually for currency and relevance, and make it easy for those people in the role to continuously improve the model

Once you have models that do that, you need to make them:

  • Easily accessible so people can refer to them as often as needed as they grow in their role
  • Easy for people to measure themselves against, to help guide their development efforts

When embedded into a competency assessment tool, after self-assessment, a competency model provides each person with a baseline that tells them what skill gaps exist and what development activities are needed.   In that way, the model can intrinsically drive achievement motivation. 

Research shows that the more competent people become, the more engaged and satisfied they become and that leads to retention.  And when individuals own closing their skill gaps, the organization’s skill gaps will close.

Can you think of any more effective, low cost way to close skill gaps than inspiring and empowering each person to do it themselves?

[i] Skills gap is forcing CEOs to change how they hire people, PWC. June 4, 2015.

[ii] Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink, Daniel. Riverhead Hardcover. 2009.

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