31 March 2021
Training policies, a pillar of corporate strategy
As we prepare for the return to the office and take a step back, we offer a series of 5 articles throughout the month of August focusing on 5 upcoming human-centric projects as a result of company transformation. Each of these articles is based on our study “Transformations: 5 proposals to put humans back at the hearth of the game” published last June that you can download here.
In a context of rapid and continuous change, employees must continuously adapt by acquiring new skills. In order to maintain their value in the labor market, they need additional training throughout their career.
More than ever, human capital has become an essential factor in the growth of a company, particularly because it strongly conditions the pace of the adoption of new technologies. And yet, we can’t deny the fact that over the last ten years, companies have not really invested in people.
Employees as agents of their own development…
The development of employee autonomy is one of the major challenges of the last decade. As employees take responsibility for their professional development, they are increasingly encouraged to take advantage of the training resources and tools provided by their employer. In this case, companies have to offer learning tools.
Some companies go well beyond their obligations, in particular through the creation of training programs dedicated to key professions, or through personalized coaching programs for top management. However, it is usually a simple catalog of training courses that is offered to most employees.
Far from being part of long-term strategic ambitions, the acquisition of new expertise is still essentially aimed at satisfying the needs of companies in the short-term. Anticipating changes in business lines and skills remains marginal, whereas it should be at the very heart of corporate strategy. Employees are the first to be penalized by this lack of vision. The inability to project oneself into the future is regularly mentioned by our HR interlocutors as a hindrance to the exercise of an initial Strategic Workforce Planning.
In addition, training policies are increasingly governed by a rule of process and cost optimization, including the centralization of training purchases. In 2014, France removed part of the legal obligation of companies with more than 300 employees to provide training for their workforce. Since this time, expenditure on training is treated as an external expense, putting pressure on the budgets allocated.
Today, companies are therefore assuming their legal obligations at a lower cost. While the rate of access to training has increased significantly in recent years thanks to digitalization, the duration of trainings has decreased: the number of hours of training per employee has changed little over the last fifteen years, stagnating since 2004 at around 12 hours per year.
Today’s training policies are still not designed with investment in human capital in mind in human capital. We still lack a lot of data quantifying the association between training and return on investment. Thus, the development of skills is mainly hampered by budgetary restrictions coupled with the difficulties of demonstrating the interest of training in the long-term growth of companies.
… and new responsibilities for companies
In a context of uncertainty and deep transformations, anticipating new jobs and new expertise in the decade to come may seem tricky. According to a 2017 report published by Dell and the think tank “Institute for the future”, 85% of the jobs of 2030 remain to be invented.
Thus, within each industry, unless they can accurately predict tomorrow’s technical skills, companies will increasingly resort to specialized and personalized training, intervening “in the flow of work” and proposing concrete and immediate applications.
At the same time, the development of long-term, cross-functional skills is more necessary than ever. While annual productivity gains in France are constantly slowing down, the competitiveness of companies depends on their ability to adapt and innovate. Soft skills such as flexibility and creativity are therefore on the rise.
The widespread use of work from home is highlighting the need for behavioral skills that are essential for remote collaboration, such as listening, empathy and autonomy. To develop these skills, a simple online course will not suffice; HR teams will have to provide real support to managers and employees.
The establishment of long-lasting relationships between employees and their employer is essential in creating a culture of training and innovation within companies. Better job security and greater organizational flexibility encourage employees to leave their comfort zone and train in new areas of expertise.
For more information, discover our case study with a key player in the energy sector for which Akoya’s teams have identified future strategic skills.
Read the following article: « Management 2.0: Flexible collaboration »