The learning imperative

Companies are having a hard time finding skilled employees. In fact, nearly half of the firms we surveyed have trouble recruiting employees with even base-level skills. These challenges in the talent marketplace suggest that companies should focus more on identifying and developing talent from within—yet most of them are not doing so.

Fewer than one-quarter of executives say their companies widely offer education as a benefit to keep employees loyal and engaged, and less than half say their companies have a culture of continuous learning. What’s more, employees may not be motivated to develop skills on their own time, as most companies are not sending the message that there is room for advancement: only 31% of executives say when a person with key skills leaves, they fill the role from within the company.

As globalization makes the task of managing a workforce increasingly complex, businesses need to create broad, sustainable learning cultures. This may start with incentives for pursuing education, continuous training opportunities, or stronger mentoring programs (but beware tedious, impersonal, and mandatory development programs). Providing employees with a clear career path and allowing them to develop key skills will increase loyalty among employees and build a stronger workforce that can take the company forward.

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