Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2017 - 59

TECH TALK
AMAR DHALIWAL

SETTING THE
SKILLS AGENDA
FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION

PwC recently published its 20th Annual
CEO Survey. For the past 20 years,
global CEOs have been asked what they
consider to be the greatest risks facing
their business. And year after year, they
have identified the availability of key
skills in the top three risks.
In fact, other than macro risks, such as
economic uncertainty and government
regulation, the availability of key skills
has been identified as the number one
risk inside their businesses. This comes
at a time when significant investment
has been made in learning management
platforms, performance improvement
initiatives and competency modelling.
I think there are two main factors that
can explain this disconnect.
NOT ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Our profession has the tendency of
reverting to an order-taking mentality.
When approached by our colleagues
looking for a training program, we will
often respond by simply asking how
many people do you want to train, what
is the topic, when do you need it by, and
what budget do you have?
Instead, we should be asking questions
like, what do we need to accomplish as a
business? What products or services are we
launching and what skills will be needed?
Where are we growing and do we have
people with the right skills there? What
skills are strategic and needed to have inhouse? What skills are more tactical and
could be possibly outsourced?
Asking these questions changes your
role and impact. They give you a

strategic view of the organizational and
development priorities.

and where we need to develop or acquire
skills - and to update these in real-time.

THE FAILURE OF
COMPETENCY MODELS

HOW TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM

How many of you have worked on
creating a competency model or skills
framework for your organization? How
many of those initiatives would you say
were successful?

Start by proactively setting the skills
agenda for your respective organizations.
Here are some ideas to get you started:

While initiated with good intentions, most
competency modeling projects have
failed to deliver the expected returns. The
fact is, establishing a complete picture
of the job roles in an organization, the
associated competencies and skills, and
the required proficiency levels is a large,
manual and daunting process. Mapping
these competency models to training or
learning objects is even more manual
and daunting.

THE AVAILABILITY
OF KEY SKILLS
CONTINUES TO
BE A RISK.
If an organization has the fortitude to
complete this work, they often fail to
keep the competency model up-todate with the changing requirements
of their business. As a result, the models
can become irrelevant very quickly and
not applicable for the strategic reasons
behind the original investment.
To be clear, I am not saying that the
objective of competency modelling is
not valuable. It is, provided that the we
agree that the objective is to identify
what skills we need, what skills we have,

* Ask your leadership and business
partners the essential question: What
are the most important skills we need to
be successful over the next 12 months?
* Establish a near real-time and dynamic
skills map of your organization.
There is an exciting set of emerging
technologies that can help you with this.
* Use your skills graph to identify the
important skills you already have and
where they are based. Do you have
enough of these skills?
* Ask which of these important skills do you
need to develop, acquire or outsource?
* Build a real-time understanding of all
the learning resources you have at your
disposal. Emerging artificial intelligence
and machine learning-based solutions
can help you map these resources to
the people who need them.
Use the answers to these questions to
inform your planning, investments and
initiatives, which should help you and
your CEO fill the critical skills gap.
Amar Dhaliwal is the chief evangelist at
EdCast. He was co-founder of THINQ and,
after its acquisition by Saba in 2005, led
Saba's product, engineering, cloud and
customer operations teams. Email Amar.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - MIND THE GAP 201 7 I WWW . T RAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - May/June 2017

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